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Spotlight on ‘Bad Jews’ actor and FGCU theater major Daniel Cancio


Jonah AOn stage now at Lab Theater is Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews. The play features a pitched battle between two cousins over who is most deserving of their grandfather’s chai, a gold medallion inscribed with the Hebrew characters for life that Poppy kept hidden from the Nazis during the two years he spent in the death camps by keeping it tucked tightly under his tongue. After being liberated, Poppy used the chai in lieu of an engagement ring when he proposed to the cousins’ grandmother. Liam now intends to give the chai to his girlfriend Melody when he proposes marriage to her, but Daphna Bad Jews Bthinks that she should get the Holocaust heirloom because only she embraces Judaism and their Jewish culture and heritage.

There is another cousin, Liam’s brother, Jonah, and both Liam and Daphna assume he has no interest in or right to the chai. Thoughtful and introspective, Jonah maintains that while he does not care who gets the chai, he doesn’t want to be involved in the competing claims of his brother and obscenely opinionated cousin, Daphna. But Jonah epitomizes the old adage about deep waters running still, and while Daphna and Liam may consider themselves good Jonah and Liam Aand bad Jews, Jonah may actually be the best Jew of all.

Lab Theater newcomer Daniel Cancio plays the role of Jonah, and is the rock in the Upper West Side room which all of the action takes place. His yeoman effort is all the more remarkable given that he had but two weeks to learn the part after taking over for another actor who experienced a last-minute family emergency. Even though Cancio Melody Aonly came off script the night of the dress rehearsal, he delivered his lines flawlessly and worked well with his cast mates, particularly Stell Ruiz, who plays Daphna, and Matt DeNoncour, who portrays Liam.

Cancio is a theater major at Florida Gulf Coast University. He has only been acting for about a year. During that time, he has performed in Mr. Perfect, 12 Angry Men and The Zoo. After graduation, Daniel plans being the world’s greatest actor – or at least convincing himself that he is. Move over Matt Damon.

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Posted March 14, 2016.

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