Menzel Is Marvelous in ‘If/Then’

Jewish Week Correspondent

Idina Menzel, whose most recent triumph is singing the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go,” in the Disney movie “Frozen,” has made a triumphant return to Broadway in the new musical “If/Then” at the Richard Rodgers Theater on West 46th Street.

Playing a single woman in the city, Menzel owns the role.

The Theater As ‘Alternative Synagogue’

The country’s stage is increasingly a ‘meeting place’ where Israelis grapple with issues of identity.

Special To The Jewish Week

When Yigal Even-Or’s incendiary play, “Fleischer,” opened in Israel in 1993, it was one of the first times that the Israeli stage had confronted the gap between the religious and secular in Israel. The play, which is about a married non-Orthodox couple whose butcher shop is boycotted by ultra-Orthodox Jews, became a flashpoint of controversy, prompting secular Jews in the audience to vent their hatred against what they viewed as ultra-Orthodox domination of the Israeli government and society.

Amnon Levi and Rami Danon’s “Sheindele,” about rival chasidic sects, performed by the Cameri Theater. Israel Haramati

Off-Broadway Israel Play Is Off

Editor and Publisher

Can a pro-Israel drama make it in New York these days?

One would think so, given the size and Zionist passion of the community and its love of theater.

But the producers of “A Tiny Piece Of Land,” a sympathetic portrait of a Gush Katif Jewish family’s struggle during Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza, this week canceled the play’s scheduled upcoming engagement at the Beckett Theatre on 42nd Street due to lack of funding.

Andrea Dovner, left, Anat Gerber and Cliff Smith star in "A Tiny Piece of Land."

Putting A Face On Triangle Victims


It happened a century ago, but the terrible memories remain seared into our collective consciousness. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire on the Lower East Side, in which 146 Jewish and Italian garment workers died, was a defining event in the history of immigrant life — and death — in New York.

Gusta Johnson and Amanda Yachechak in scene from Barbara Kahn’s “Birds on Fire.”

Broadway’s Very Jewish Year

From Shylock to Sondheim, a rich year on the boards.

Special To The Jewish Week

In a year of great theater, both on and off Broadway, many of the most memorable performances were turned in by actors in Jewish plays. Herewith, in no particular order, are the Jewish Week’s top five Jewish plays of 2010, three of which are still running into 2011. 

‘The Merchant of Venice’

Al Pacino has three weeks left in his role as the Jewish moneylender Shylock in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice."

New Theater Troupe Dark On Sabbath

Company called 24/6, first of its kind here, to focus on Jewish-themed plays.

Special To The Jewish Week

It may be largely a Jewish invention, but the theater in New York has never run on a Jewish schedule. Jewish theater artists have often had to choose between keeping the Sabbath and building a career on the stage, where weekend performances are not just the norm, but the box office bread and butter.

Now comes 24/6, the first theater company in New York that will not require its members to rehearse or perform on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons.

The 24/6 team: Yoni Oppenheim, Jesse Freedman and Avi Soroka.

Can Bad Dates Make Good Theater?

Four women writers turn their adventures in singledom into Off-Broadway plays.

Special To The Jewish Week

On the Off-Broadway stage these days, the date’s the thing. The Jewish date, that is.

In a quirk of theater programming (and perhaps a collective indictment of the Jewish singles scene, or at least Jewish men), no fewer than four plays of late — all by Jewish women — mine the dating lives of their authors. And they expose some of raw nerves that make dating such a sensitive proposition these days: the pull and peril of online dating, the obstacle posed by religious differences and the thorny issue of Jewish identity.

Rachel Evans, below, “Jew Wish”

David Mamet: Before He Was Conservative, He Was Jewish. Discuss.

Now that he is an established potentate of American theater, David Mamet has had no trouble saying what he really thinks.  Jews may remember his 2002 essay in The Forward, where he lambasted Jews for over-sympathizing with Palestinians.  They will probably remember better his 2006 book, "The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Jewish Self-Hatred and the Jews," where he took it further, arguing that liberal Jewish antagonism toward Israel was simple self-hate.

Solidarity On Stage

Staff Writer
Story Includes Video: 
When Yeshivah of Flatbush High School students take the stage on Dec. 28 to perform “Noah! Ride The Wave,” they will be embracing the concept of giving chizuk, or strength, on two levels. The musical was produced by women in West Bank settlements as an emotional outlet following years of terror attacks that began in 2000 following the collapse of negotiations with the Palestinians.

Dreyfus Redux

Special To The Jewish Week
When Karl Marx pointed out that history always repeats itself, “the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce,” he was clearly not talking about Jewish history, in which the second time is often even more tragic than the first. Such, at least, is one of the major lessons of “Dreyfus in Rehearsal,” a 1970s play written by Jean-Claude Grumberg and adapted by Garson Kanin, which is being revived this week at the Beckett Theatre to kick off a yearlong celebration of Kanin’s dramatic works.
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