Barbra Streisand

A Ballet For Bugsy Siegel?

06/09/2010
Staff Writer

 When she was growing up, Melissa Barak hated Christmas. “I used to beg for a tree,” said Barak, a choreographer who premiered a new work for New York City Ballet last weekend.

Her mother, who was Jewish, tried to cheer Barak up by listing all the famous Jewish stars. “Joan Rivers, Barbra Streisand, she’d say. She did it to make me feel better.” It didn’t work, Barak said.

But then her mother added one more: “Well, the guy who created Las Vegas was Jewish,” Barak recalled her mother saying. That caught her attention.

Melissa Barak, foreground, rehearsing dancers Robert Fairchild and Jennifer Ringer for “Call Me Ben.” Paul Kolnik

A Bissel Controversy

07/26/2002
Staff Writer
Vera Felice won't do nudity. She won't work on Shabbat. But the 21-year-old actress and model can do accents. A native of Copenhagen, the shapely blonde has no trouble slipping from thick-tongued Russian to saccharine Southern. For her next role, however, the recent graduate of the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute says she won't have to learn a new accent, "just a new language."

Hitting A High See

05/16/2003
Staff Writer
With a voice reminiscent of Cecilia Bartoli's and a profile resembling Barbra Streisand's, Laurie Rubin seems born for singing stardom. Rubin, 24, was also born blind. Easily overlooked by directors who "don't want to be responsible if I fall off the stage," Rubin says she has to work harder than the next mezzo-soprano to get ahead.
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