From Bert Lahr to Jack Gilford, among the most beloved of Broadway performers are “character actors” — those who play quirky and eccentric characters, often in supporting roles. With “Character Man,” Jim Brochu pays tribute to the character actors of yesteryear (many of whom were Jewish) who made an indelible mark on the theater. The one-man show opened last week Off-Broadway.
A new production of ‘Middle of the Night’ and a new biography fueling a reassessment of the screenwriter-playwright’s emotionally charged work.
Special To The Jewish Week
Mention the name of Jewish screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky, and most people think of “Marty,” the path-breaking 1950s teleplay turned film about a lonely Italian-American butcher in the Bronx. Or they think of the electrifying scene in the 1976 Sidney Lumet film, “Network,” in which a TV anchorman demands that all New Yorkers throw open their windows and shout, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more!”
Leading the Passover seder each year is, for many Jewish men, a sign of their continuing vigor and prominence within the family. In Jennifer Maisel’s Off-Broadway play, “The Last Seder,” directed by Jessica Bauman, a patriarch’s impending slide into dementia signals that nothing, including their Passover observances, will ever be the same.
Can homosexuality and Orthodox Judaism mix? In Jon Marans’ new Off-Broadway play, “A Strange and Separate People,” Jay (Jonathan Hammond) and Phyllis (Tricia Paoluccio), a Modern Orthodox couple on the Upper West Side, have their lives — and marriage — upended by a newly observant gay Jewish doctor, Stuart (Noah Weisberg). The play, which premiered in 2005 at a theater in upstate Stony Point, is running at Theatre Row – Studio Theater in Midtown. (410 W. 42nd St. For tickets, $18, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200.)
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.
‘Sam’s Romance’ explores the 1950s relationship between a middle-aged Jewish man and his young African-American employee.
Special To The Jewish Week
Loneliness, as an old Jewish proverb says, breaks the spirit. In Paul Manuel Kane’s new play, “Sam’s Romance,” set in Greenwich Village in the early 1950s, an awkward middle-aged Jewish housewares/hardware store owner, Sam (Ed Kershen) falls for his 20-year-old African-American female clerk, Natalie (Oni Brown). But Sam’s cousin Rose (LeeAnne Hutchison) — who is trapped in an unhappy marriage with a wounded vet, Joe (Todd Licea) has another agenda for her cousin — involving her brassy friend Luba (Neva Small).
Are the Holocaust and slavery comparable? In Veronica Page’s new Off-Broadway play, “Prayers for the Ghetto,” a Jewish girl (Linda Wartenweiler) and two black girls (Ta’ Donna Nagle and Thais Francis) grapple with the legacy of the crimes perpetrated against their peoples — and, by extension, against all of humanity. The play moves from a Nazi-occupied ghetto during the Second World War to a drug and prostitute-afflicted Crown Heights in the 1980s, asking probing questions about forgiveness and faith.