Curvy Jewish widow has a sex play on her hands

As a 50-something widow thrust back in the dating game, Bobby Goldman found that many eligible men couldn’t handle her intellect, curves or libido.

“It was amazing,” she recalls, “the amount of men who would say, ‘Oh my God, you’re smart. I have to leave you immediately.'”

Goldman didn’t get mad. Instead, she got a six-week San Francisco run with her new stage comedy, “Curvy Widow.” It’s pure autobiography, right down to the tales of Internet personal ads and cataclysmically bad first dates.

One thing not so true to life: The play stars the statuesque and decidedly non-Jewish Cybill Shepherd as the curvy widow in question. “I come up to her waist,” the vertically challenged Jewish playwright says with a laugh. “I look like her pocketbook.”

“Curvy Widow” plays through March 9 at the Post Street Theatre in San Francisco.

This is Goldman’s first play, though she’s no stranger to the theater. Her late husband, James Goldman, wrote the Broadway classic “The Lion in Winter” and the hit musical “Follies.”

Throughout their long marriage, Goldman served as her husband’s editor and sounding board. Once widowed, she never dreamed of writing a play about herself until a friend at a publishing house urged her to give it a whirl.

“To shut him up, I wrote the stupid thing,” she says, “handed it into a casting director, and next thing I know we’re cast.”

She says she wrote the play because “there are no parts for women over 50 to talk about sex. [The play] is all about how men deal with women and the sense of competition.”

Though Goldman is Jewish, and “Curvy Widow” is ostensibly about her life, Cybill Shepherd doesn’t play the character as Jewish per se. But Goldman wants her audiences to look below the surface.

“It’s Jewish because I wrote it,” Goldman insists. “It would be more Jewish if I read it than when Cybill does, even though she was married to a Jew. It comes with the sense of humor.”

“Curvy Widow” opened in Atlanta last year to mixed reviews. In its local incarnation, Goldman and director Scott Schwartz tweaked the play quite a bit, which led to a few more negative reviews here. Goldman swats them away like so many flies.

“What I always tell people is: It’s not the newspaper, it was by an individual,” she adds. “I mean, it’s just a one-woman sex play. Give it a rest.”

The Connecticut native spent much of her adult life in New York City, but says she never appreciated her Jewishness until she moved to Vero Beach, Fla., several years ago. She left the most Jewish city in America for one of the least Jewish.

“I had never seen so many blond people with perfect noses,” she remembers. “It took six months before I was accepted in the community. I began to understand the way I thought, my humor, was completely different. [Being Jewish] is an approach to life. It has to do with saying things the way they are, of introspection, and being much more psychologically-oriented.”

The play has opened more doors for Goldman. She’s been asked to speak at a host of associations, eager to get her take on aging and sexuality.

This is on top of the multiple businesses she runs, including a real estate service and a food consulting firm. So whether “Curvy Widow” moves to Broadway or not, Goldman has her hands full — in more ways than one.

“I was convinced when Jim died, no one would want to even have dinner with me,” she says. “Instead, eight years later, I’ve done the businesses, the play and I’m dating six guys. I’m having the best time of my life.”

“Curvy Widow” plays 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays, through March 9 at the Post Street Theatre, 450 Post St., S.F. Tickets: $55-$100. Information: (415) 771-6900.

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.