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.”

The Executions That Still Shock

Two new plays revisit Roy Cohn and the Rosenbergs, whose stories continue to haunt the Jewish psyche.

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

Whether it was the crime of the century or a government frame-up of an innocent Jewish couple — or, as is more likely, something in the middle — the execution for treason of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg continues to send shockwaves through American culture. Among the most troubling and fascinating aspects of the case was the involvement of Roy Cohn, the (secretly) gay, corrupt Jewish attorney who prosecuted the Jewish couple. Two plays that opened last week in New York, Joan Beber’s “In Bed With Roy Cohn,” which imagines Cohn’s last days, and Karen Ludwig’s one-woman show, “Where Was I?” in which she recalls playing Ethel Rosenberg in the 1992 TV film, “Citizen Cohn,” testify to the unslackened grip of the Rosenberg case on our collective imagination. 

Scene from Joan Beber's "In Bed With Roy Cohn," which seeks to "find some humanity in him." Russ Rowland

Becoming Golda

The transformation of Tovah Feldshuh.

06/15/2015 - 20:00

While many Israelis express dissatisfaction with the country’s current crop of political leaders, Golda Meir’s reputation continues to grow — 37 years after she died. Kiev-born Meir (nee Meyerson), who served as prime minister from 1969-’74, is the subject of “Golda’s Balcony,” a one-woman show in which actress Tovah Feldshuh has starred for a dozen years.

Photo by Michael Datikash

Larry David Alleges 'Showbiz' Anti-Semitism At Tonys

06/09/2015 - 20:00
Blueprint Editor

Larry David was the muse behind the ever-eccentric George Costanza in "Seinfeld", so it is only fitting that Jason Alexander, who portrayed Costanza, should be taking over David’s character in his Broadway play, "Fish in the Dark."

Playing Another Larry David Misanthrope

Jason Alexander is back on the boards (25 years after his last Broadway role) in ‘Fish in the Dark.’

06/08/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

When he first auditioned for “Seinfeld,” Jason Alexander received a copy of the script and noticed a Woody Allen vibe in the character of George Costanza. So he put on a pair of glasses, a New York accent, and the affect of a hapless curmudgeon. He had no idea at the time that George was meant to be an alter ego for the show’s co-creator, Larry David.

In new Broadway role, Alexander draws on his classical acting training, but he knows that “the comic in me has to win.”

Bound For Vilna

06/02/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Actors are typically front and center in our own theater, but the Russian stage has been dominated, for at least the last century, by the director. Konstantin Slanislavski, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko and Vsevolod Meyerhold famously reshaped their actors’ bodies and minds in order to enable the expression of profound emotion.

A scene from “Smile at Us, Oh Lord” by Lithuanian playwright Grigory Kanovich. Vakhtangov State Academic Theatrer

Light Show

05/26/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

In his foundational mystical text, “Sha’are Orah” (Gates of Light), the 13th-century Spanish kabbalist Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla used light as a metaphor to stand for the essence of the divine. For composer David Homan and his wife, choreographer Ariel Grossman, light is a symbol of human energy and striving. Their new work, “Ori” (My Light), premieres next week at a festival in Chelsea that also features the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane and Carolyn Dorfman Dance Companies.

Ariel Grossman and David Homan, the husband-and-wife team behind the Ariel Rivka Dance Company.

Not Your Average Arias

05/19/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

‘I’ve always been fascinated by the Holocaust,” playwright Steven Carl McCasland mused recently, as one of his plays was about to open in New York. In one of them, “Der Kanarienvogel,” soprano Elisabeth Schwartzkopf (Anna Kirkland) grapples with accusations that she is a Nazi sympathizer. A cast of more than two dozen actors is presenting a total of five of McCasland’s plays in repertory this month in Kips Bay; the festival also includes “Little Wars,” about a fictional dinner party in which Gertrude Stein has a fateful dinner party with Lillian Hellman, Muriel Gardiner, and other writers, in the middle of which France falls to Germany.

Soprano Elisabeth Schwartzkopf is subject of new play.  Wikimedia Commons
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