No Direction Home: ‘Fiddler’s’ Lessons

02/02/2016 - 15:36
Special To The Jewish Week

“Hamilton” may be the hottest ticket in town, with its fusion of hip-hop patriotism and a colorful cast of homeboys for Founding Fathers, but not far behind in ticket sales and sentimental attachments to equally revolutionary times is the revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Leaving Anatevka: A scene from the new production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Joan Marcus

The Survivor Rocker

From Shoah-era Poland to Rivington Street, ‘Rock and Roll Refugee’ tells the little-known story of Genya Ravan.

02/02/2016 - 11:38
Special To The Jewish Week

Before the appearances on television and radio, the European tour with the Rolling Stones, the sexual abuse, the failed marriage, the heartbreak of alcohol and drug addiction — before all the notoriety of a career in rock and roll, she was a frightened little Polish Jewish girl, Genyusha Zelkovicz, escaping from the Nazis and coming to New York with her parents and older sister.

Scene from “Rock and Roll Refugee,” which is based on Ravan’s tell-all memoir from 2004. Russ Rowlands

Affairs Of The Heart, And Nation

01/27/2016 - 09:12

The playwright Richard Greenberg is musing about his new work, “Our Mother’s Brief Affair,” and about what happens when we’re dealt a hand we didn’t see coming.

For Richard Greenberg, in his new play “Our Mother’s Brief Affair,” domestic and societal sins differ only in magnitude.

The Murder That ‘Broke’ Israeli Society

Amos Gitai reflects on the Rabin assassination, and what came in its wake.

01/26/2016 - 13:28
Special To The Jewish Week

During the period of the Oslo negotiations, Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai spent many hours interviewing Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. He didn’t know it at the time, but that experience would become a pivotal part of a docudrama, the story of Rabin’s assassination by right-wing settler Yigal Amir. The product of three years of work by Gitai and his production team, “Rabin: The Last Day,” which opens on Friday, Jan. 29, paints a grimly vivid portrait of the maelstrom that surrounded the events of November 4, 1995, events that Gitai says left Israeli society “broken.”

In the aftermath of the Rabin assassination, Gitai says, “We have lost the [shared] project of Zionism. Michael Datikash/JW

Tevye, But Not ‘Larger Than Life’

Exclusive: Q&A with the new ‘Fiddler’ patriarch.

01/19/2016 - 09:00
Special To The Jewish Week

As “Fiddler on the Roof,” in its fifth Broadway revival, moves into its second month (to rave notices), we caught up with the new Tevye, the five-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein. He’s one of those Broadway actors whose range seems limitless. In the 2014 revival of “Cabaret,” directed by Sam Mendes, he played Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor who woos the owner of his boardinghouse, Fraulein Schneider. In a Jewish Week interview at the time, Burstein said that he found a personal resonance in portraying a Jew living in Germany during those turbulent years. Burstein “knew a lot about this particular time anyway,” but spent additional time doing research about European Jewry and the ascent of Nazism. “I think anybody who’s Jewish has a natural curiosity and a responsibility to know about it.”

Danny Burstein as Tevye in Fiddler On The Roof. Joan Marcus

The ‘Fire’ This Time

12/23/2015 - 09:20

‘I always wanted to write a play about both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Argentinian playwright Mario Diament reflected recently, as his new work, “Land of Fire” (Tierra del Fuego), was about to open in New York at the New Yiddish Rep ([212] 868-4444, Based on the 1978 attack by Palestinian terrorists of an El Al passenger jet in London, in which one flight attendant was killed and eight crew members wounded, “Land of Fire” runs through Jan. 3 at Theater for the New City in the East Village.

Mihran Shlougian as PLO terrorist and Dagmar Stansova as El Al flight attendant.

Reopening A Forgotten Chapter Of Yiddish Theater

An operetta from the ‘Jewish Verdi’ weds Old World and New.

12/15/2015 (All day)
Special To The Jewish Week

He was a Lithuanian immigrant whose sparkling operettas, which ranked with those of the greatest of European composers, wowed audiences on the Lower East Side and paved the way for the Broadway musical. They even called him “Victor Herbert with a yarmulke,” a reference to the German-raised prolific Tin Pan Alley composer of popular operettas. His name was Joseph Rumshinsky, and he wrote close to 100 light operas, almost none of which have been performed for at least half a century.

It takes a shtetl: A scene from the Folksbiene’s revival of “Di Goldene Kale.” Ben Moody

New Context Shapes Miller’s Shoah Play

Director hoping to banish earlier view of ‘Incident at Vichy.’

11/02/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Deeply flawed human beings making profound moral choices populate almost all of Arthur Miller’s plays. But the Jewish dramatist rarely dealt as explicitly with the world’s collective responsibility for the Jews of Europe as in his 1964 one-act play, “Incident at Vichy”; it centers on a group of nine men and a boy who have been rounded up by German military and French police in Vichy France, and who wait to be “inspected” to see if they are Jewish under the laws of the Nazi “puppet” regime.

Darren Pettie as LeDuc and Richard Thomas as Von Berg in Signature Theatre’s production of “Incident at Vichy.” Joan Marcus

A Tragic Hero, In Any Language

Is a Yiddish ‘Death of a Salesman’ more revelatory than one translated into any other tongue?

10/19/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” debuted on Broadway in 1949, the idea that a common person could be the subject of tragedy was revolutionary. Willy Loman was about as humble a hero as one could imagine, a man whose whole life was a failure and a disappointment. That he could be Jewish, like his creator, occurred to few; this was a period, after all, in which American Jews were assiduously trying to shed most of the vestiges of their tradition, and to merge as fully as possible into the life of their adopted country.

Avi Hoffman as Willy Loman. At right, with sons Biff (Daniel Kahn) and Happy (Lev Hershkovitz). Ronald L. Glassman

When ‘Family Artifacts’ Divide A Family

Based on a survivor’s experiences in forced labor camps, ‘Letters to Sala’ explores how one clan deals with its back pages.

09/29/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Auschwitz-Birkenau. Majdanek. Treblinka. Bergen-Belsen. Sobibor. When we think of the Holocaust, the names of a handful of death camps spring immediately to mind — names that we recite ritually on Yom Kippur and on Yom HaShoah. But, as new research over the past decade has shown, there were more than 30 times as many forced labor camps as extermination camps, and the experience of their prisoners is still, for the most part, yet to be told.

Anita Keal, portrays Holocaust survivor Sala Garncarz in new play at TBG Theatre. It is based on Ann Kirschner’s “Sala’s Gift.”
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