Your weekly guide to what's hot in New York area arts.
07/09/2014
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THE BUZZ

N.Y. MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL

This year’s New York Musical Theatre Festival includes “As We Lie Still,” a romantic fantasy by the husband-and-wife team of Olivia de Guzman Emile and Patrick Emile. It features Avi Leiter, a Houdini-like figure rising to fame as a magician in early-20th century New York, and the repercussions of an illusion that goes horribly awry.

Also on the NYMF docket is “Der Gelbe Stern” (“The Yellow Star”), a dark cabaret musical starring show co-creator Alexis Fishman. Fishman plays Erika Stern, a Jewish club performer in Weimar Berlin whose performance is a final defiant act before her world collapses. The show uses German, British and American music of the 1920s and 30s.

—“As We Lie Still”: Mon., July 14 at 6 p.m., Wed., July 16 and Tues., July 22 at 9 p.m. and Thurs., July 24 and Sun., July 27 at 5 p.m., $25. PTC Performance Space, 555 W. 42nd St., (212) 664-0979, nymf.org.

“Der Gelbe Stern”: Mon., July 14, at 8 p.m., Thurs., July 17 at 1 p.m., Sun., July 20, at 12 p.m. and Mon., July 21, 5 and 8 p.m., $25. The Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 W. 42nd St., (212) 664-0979, nymf.org.

YIDSTOCK

Need a summer getaway with a sense of tradition? Consider Amherst, Mass., home of the Yiddish Book Center — just in time for the Festival of New Yiddish Music. The festival includes big names, from the Klezmatics to Basya Schechter to (Klezmatics trumpeter) Frank London. Also on tap: Yiddish folk dance workshops, lectures, food and more. Full festival passes are sold out, but tickets for many individual events are still available.

—July 17 to 20, The Yiddish Book Center, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building, 1021 West St., Amherst, Mass. (413) 256-4900, yiddishbookcenter.org.

FILM

OBVIOUS CHILD

Gillian Robespierre’s funny, emotional new film, “Obvious Child,” tells the story of Donna Stern (Jenny Slate), an aspiring comedian who faces several life changes, including an unexpected pregnancy that leads for a rare on-screen, realistic portrayal of abortion.

—Check local listings.

SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON

Mike Myers (yes, that Mike Myers), directs this new documentary about talent manager Shep Gordon, whose great commercial success pales in comparison to his menschlichkeit.

City Cinemas Village East Cinema, 181-189 Second Ave., (800) 326-3264 x 2708.

THE IMMIGRANT

James Gray’s new film features Marion Cotillard as a Polish-Catholic woman who must make her way through the corrupt streets of Manhattan, dealing with a range of Jewish characters, including Joaquin Phoenix as a not-so-noble pimp.

City Cinemas Village East Cinema (181-189 Second Ave., [800] 326-3264 x 2708) and Bow Tie Roslyn Theater (20 Tower Place, Roslyn, [516] 621-8488).

IDA

Pawel Pawlikowski’s award-winning film takes place in Poland in the 1960s, a time when the country was still reeling from the aftermath of the WWII. The titular heroine, readying herself to take her vows to become a nun, discovers that she is Jewish, and that her parents were murdered in the Holocaust.

—Check local listings.

JERUSALEM

The new documentary “Jerusalem” seeks to reveal life in Israel by focusing on three local teenage girls from different religions, each giving a tour of her home city from a unique perspective. The film plays in IMAX in limited release.

—Cradle of Aviation Museum-National Geographic Theater, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, (516) 572-4111, jerusalemthemovie.com.

THEATRE

MAESTRO BERNSTEIN

Entertainer Hershey Felder presents this play with music exploring the life and works of Leonard Bernstein, the conductor who brought classical music to the masses (and especially to children). Directed by Joel Zwick.

—Thurs., July 17, 8 p.m., tickets from $50. Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., (800) 982-2787, thetownhall.org.

HI, HITLER (CHRONICLES OF A GERMAN-JEW)

“Hi, Hitler” tries New York before opening in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next month. Lucie Pohl’s one-woman comedy show about her experiences immigrating to the United States as a child from Germany, her whacky family and her lifelong obsession with Hitler — despite her Jewish faith.

—Opens July 11, through Aug. 24, $70. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59 St., (212) 279-4200, 59E59.org.

THE PIANIST OF WILLESDEN LANE

Lisa Jura was a burgeoning Jewish pianist in Vienna in the 1930s, until the Nazis put her dreams on hold. Now, her daughter Mona Golabek (also a pianist) tells her story in a play with music based on Jura’s escape from Europe.

—Opens July 11, through Aug. 24, $70. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59 St., (212) 279-4200, 59E59.org.

THE RELIGION THING

In Renee Calarco’s high-powered play, a sudden conversion to born-again Christianity triggers two married couples, including one secular Jewish man, to clash as they explore the nature of spirituality, religious culture and interfaith relationships. Directed by Douglas Hall.

—Shows Wed. through Fri. at 8 p.m., though Aug. 1. Project Y at the Cell Theatre, 338 W. 23rd St., projectytheatre.org.

GREED: A MUSICAL FOR OUR TIMES

This new musical comedy features several prominent corrupt bigwigs who fell from grace — including one Bernard Lawrence Madoff.

—Wednesdays 7 p.m., and Thursdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., $40-$65, New World Stages, Stage 2, 340 W. 50th St., (212) 239-6200, www.telecharge.com. Open run.

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” traces the iconic singer/songwriter’s life and career, from her hits like “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” to her relationship with Gerry Goffin, her songwriting partner and husband. Jessie Mueller and Jake Epstein star.

—The Stephen Sondheim, 124 W. 43rd St., (212) 719-1300, beautifulonbroadway.com. Open run.

ETHEL SINGS: THE UNSUNG SONG OF ETHEL ROSENBERG

Joan Beber’s drama, which tells the story of the doomed Jewish woman from her perspective, returns to the New York stage. A portion of proceeds go to benefit the Rosenberg Fund for Children.

—$60.25. Beckett Theatre, Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St., (212) 239-6200, ethelsings.com. Through July 13.

MUSIC

EYAL MAOZ

Israeli jazz musician and bandleader Eyal Maoz has a residency at the Stone this week, with a different roster of special guests every night playing a range of music from experimental electronic to modern Jewish rock.

—July 15 to 20, 8 and 10 p.m., $15/$10 students. The Stone, Ave. C and 2nd St., (212) 473-0043, thestonenyc.com. (See interview with Maoz in this week's issue.)

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE

“Against the Odds: American Jews & the Rescue of Europe’s Refugees, 1933-1941” presents both individual stories and a portrait of the collective experience of American Jews trying to help relatives, friends or even just strangers thousands of miles away, linked by the shared bond of religion. In particular, the exhibit explores how American immigration laws limited the power of those trying to assist, and how Jews overcame tremendous obstacles to help those in need.

—Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Pl. (646) 437-4202. $7-$12.

MASTERPIECES AND CURIOSITIES: DIANE ARBUS’ JEWISH GIANT

Jewish-American photographer Diane Arbus was known for capturing the visually eerie, or even repulsive. One of her last works, now on display at The Jewish Museum, was documenting a Coney Island sideshow performer known as “The World’s Tallest Man.” Eddie Carmel, said to stand around 8 feet tall, was the son of Israeli immigrants to the United States.

—The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org. Through Aug. 3.

MEL BOCHNER: STRONG LANGUAGE

Mel Bochner’s first job in New York was as a guard at The Jewish Museum. Now, it  is the artist’s conceptual paintings that will be stationed uptown, in an exhibit that explores the use of text and wordplay, and its intersection with Jewish tradition.

—The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org. Through Sept. 21.

A TOWN KNOWN AS AUSCHWITZ: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A JEWISH COMMUNITY

This exhibit explores the vibrancy, peacefulness and Jewish history of the town of Oswiecim, otherwise known as Auschwitz, emphasizing images of the day-to-day life and people that comprised this town before the Holocaust.

— Museum of Jewish Heritage, Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.

TALK

FRIENDSHIP

Novelist Emily Gould talks about her book “Friendship” with writer Elif Batuman. The story features the relationship between two women, one of whom is Jewish.

—Thurs., July 10, 7 p.m. McNally Jackson, 52 Prince St., (212) 274-1160, mcnallyjackson.com/event/emily-gould-and-elif-batumen.

THE ACROBAT: SELECTED POEMS OF CELIA DROPKIN

The Museum at Eldridge Street hosts this event celebrating the new translation of the Yiddish poetry of Celia Dropkin. The book launch includes a reading of her work and a group discussion.

—Wed., July 16, 6:30 to 8 p.m., free. Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., (212) 219-0888 x 205, eldridgestreet.org.

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