Robert Fairchild

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
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