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When Franny Stands Up

When Franny Stands Up

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By: Eden Robins

A delightful coming-of-age story about a Jewish woman in post-WWII Chicago breaking boundaries, finding her voice, and healing her and her family's trauma through laughter

While men were fighting WWII, comedy clubs opened their doors to female comedians and female-only audiences. At Chicago's Blue Moon, something truly magical was invented: the Showstopper.

A Showstopper is the magic sparked when an audience laughs so hard they are momentarily transformed. Every comedian's Showstopper is different: one makes you feel like you can fly, another makes you feel like a Hollywood starlet. Showstoppers are shrouded in mystery, passed along by word of mouth, and only work on women.

Franny Steinberg experiences her first Showstopper in 1944, after sneaking into a famous Black comedian's show. Seven years later, after making a scene at her friend's wedding, Franny runs away in a torn bridesmaid dress and ends up on stage. But when Franny finally conjures a Showstopper, there's a huge problem: it only works on men.

Specifically, Franny's Showstopper heals men's pain. Franny decides she must cure her brother, now a veteran struggling with PTSD, with her comedy. But first she'll need to summon the courage to find humor in her darkest traumas.

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