“Indecent” runs 105 minutes without intermission at Seattle Repertory Theatre through Oct. 26. Find tickets at 206-443-2222 or online.

Occasionally, you see a play that astonishes, setting it apart from others. “Indecent,” now playing at Seattle Repertory Theatre, is such a play: not because it’s perfect, but because it’s fascinating, often paralleling America’s current unrest.

Dazzling and entertaining, challenging and inspiring, with laughter, singing and dancing juxtaposed against tragedy and censorship, “Indecent” breaks ground in this account of Yiddish culture.

Most theatergoers have experienced the concept of a play within a play, but “Indecent” is a play about a play.

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel (“How I Learned to Drive”), “Indecent” was inspired by Polish/Jewish playwright Sholem Asch’s 1906 drama, “Got fun nekome” (“God of Vengeance”), one of the most controversial works in Yiddish theater.

For Vogel, her Broadway debut of “Indecent” is a love letter to theater and Yiddish culture.  She dramatizes the fate and legacy of Asch’s work by alternating the nonlinear action with subsequent reactions, events and environments.

Warsaw, Poland, 1906.

Asch’s daring Yiddish drama revolves around Yankl, an Orthodox Jew and brothel owner whose self-righteous pretensions are crushed when his daughter Rifkele falls in love with Manke, a prostitute working out of the family basement

While Europeans embraced the drama, rising anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant sentiment in America reared its ugly head.

Sound familiar?

When “Indecent” premiered in New York City in 1923, its subject matter and onstage kiss—the first-ever between two women on a Broadway stage—scandalized audiences.

An outraged rabbi went on the attack. This led to the show being closed and the entire cast being arrested and tried for obscenity. Fined $200, they ultimately appealed the conviction and got it overturned.

But the damage was done.

Devastated and fearful for their safety, many of the troupe’s actors returned to Europe where their careers could still flourish.  

Until 1939.

Even Hitler couldn’t deter the troupe. One of the most daunting scenes takes place in the Lodz ghetto where the actors perform Asch’s play in an attic. And because of their precarious circumstances, they only perform one act at a time in exchange for food.

Sheila Daniels brilliantly directs the stellar acting ensemble. This is one of Daniels’ finest theatrical accomplishments. Overall, the first half of the production is outstanding, but the last half could use a trimming. It’s a bit lulling. But it’s neither the director’s fault nor the actors

Each performer plays an actor in the troupe, who in turn plays several different roles, with the exception of Bradford Farwell as Lemml the tailor. Farwell’s emotional versatility infuses his portrayal with disarming observations and ultimately, heartwrenching candor.

Ron Orbach portrays Otto Godowsky, co-founder of the troupe. As the acclaimed Jewish immigrant actor Rudolph Schildkraut, Orbach is magnificent.

So is Nathaniel Tenebaum as the powerful rabbi who wants to shut down the play in New York. The talented Tenebaum thrives in the part, beginning with his intelligent discourse on anti-Semitism followed by his evolvement into a raging, pompous narcissist. 

Seattle favorite Julie Briskman portrays the actress Vera. She takes on the elder women of the play and, as always, Briskman infuses her performance with gusto and verve.

Cheyenne Casebier and Andi Alhadeff portray all of the younger women, including the two lesbian lovers. Alhadeff’s characters include the plum part of Rifkele, the teenage daughter smitten with the prostitute. As she explores Rifkele’s burgeoning sexuality, Alhadeff delights with her uninhibited curiosity.

Covering all the young men in the drama, Antoine Yared plays the actor Avram, whose list of characters includes Asch as a young playwright.

As Halina, the leading lady of the troupe, Cheyenne Casebier shines. But her pièce de résistance is her portrayal of the prostitute Manke, the object of Rifkele’s affection.

Casebiers every nuance is perfection. With stunning believably, she immerses herself in her role. She is beautiful, but she is so much more. And she shows off her musical chops in a nod to “Cabaret,” evoking the consummate Chanteuse, Marlene Dietrich.  

Their joyful music soaring throughout the theater, three klezmer musicians roam the stage, joining in the song and dance. Kudos to violinist and music director Alexander Sovronsky, clarinetist Kate Olson, and accordionist Jamie Maschler.

Beth Goldenberg’s costume designs reflect the characters and timelines of the action unfolding onstage, while Robert J. Aguilar’s lighting design illuminates L.B. Morse’s sparse set design.

Finally, the scene that so outraged the audience in 1923.

Rifkele and Manke dance in the rain and exchange their first kiss, giving way to a highly provocative embrace. The moment is poetic, its erotic innocence beautifully performed.

This happens during a live onstage downpour. Rain gently falls from the rafters, turning into inviting puddles on the Rep stage. It’s glorious. So much so, I wanted to climb onstage, feel the rain on my face, and dance with abandon.

I didn’t — a decision I may always regret.