Growing up in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, Steve Solomon was immersed in a sea of different accents and dialects.

 

That included his own home, where his mother was an immigrant from Sicily and his father was an immigrant from Russian.

With a keen ear, Solomon easily picked up the various accents and recreated them accurately, a valuable skill for a self-professed class clown.

As an adult, he became a high school physics teacher who was eventually promoted to assistant superintendent of his school system. But he wasn’t happy.

“I loved the kids,” he said. “I loved education. But I hated the politics, I hated the bureaucracy. I was a rebel.”

And so Solomon left his safe job for a career as a playwright/performer. In 2004 he began touring with his one man show “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!” In the show he would perform as about 20 different characters, all with distinctive accents.

In 2006, he took the show, described as “one-part lasagna, one part kreplach and two parts Prozac,” to Broadway for two years.

Now it’s coming to Jacksonville for three performances Saturday and Sunday at the Wilson Center for the Arts on Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus. While Solomon sometimes delegates the role to other actors, he’ll be performing the show here.

“My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!” is the first of four one-man shows Solomon has created. He’s also written and performed in “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish and I’m Still in Therapy!,” “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m Home for the Holidays” and “Cannoli, Latkes & Guilt … the Therapy Continues!”

Currently he’s touring with “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!” while another performer is touring with “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m Home for the Holidays,” which had a brief run on Broadway.

Solomon says he performs one of his shows about 35 weeks a year. He spends the other 17 weeks writing and visiting other shows of his that are touring.

He estimates there have been about 6,000 performances of “My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m in Therapy!,” including about 4,000 by him. He said he loves the chance to perform before an audience.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a theatrical piece. It’s not stand-up comedy.”

And he loves to talk about his family.

“My best line about my family,” he said, “is that my Italian cousins belong to a gang known as the Warlords and my Jewish cousins belong to a gang known as the landlords.”

Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413