Israeli Men Do ‘Romeo And Juliet’

Special To The Jewish Week

Talk about men needing to get in touch with their feminine side. Ido Bornstein’s new comedy, “Dogs,” starting this week at the Fringe Festival, centers on a group of Israeli men, both Jewish and Arab, who stage a musical version of “Romeo and Juliet” that not only helps them to explore their emotions, but leads to one of them getting pregnant! The play, which has enjoyed a successful run in Israel, is newly translated into English; it runs at the New Ohio Theatre in the West Village.

A scene from Ido Bornstein’s “Dogs.”

Politics And Power At Fringe Festival

Three new, and wildly different, offerings with a thematic connection.

Special To The Jewish Week

If you’ve ever worn tzitzit, you know that if you stand still, the fringes stay more or less flat against your body, but as soon as you start to move, they splay out in all directions. The same might be said of the dozens of plays at this year’s Fringe Festival, which are as multifarious, unpredictable and uninhibited as ever.

Robert McKay with Big Bird puppet in scene from “Right on Target.”

The Return Of Yiddish Vaudeville

Special To The Jewish Week

Beginning in the fifteenth century in a valley in Normandy called the Vau de Vire, from which its name derives, vaudeville became one of the most popular forms of entertainment both in Western Europe and America. Jewish immigrants who flooded into New York from Eastern Europe encountered vaudeville and made it their own.

Shane Baker in "The Big Bupkis."

Harvey Milk, The Musical

Special To The Jewish Week

He was a martyr to the cause of gay rights. When Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first openly gay public official, was gunned down by a fellow city supervisor in 1978, the nation was forced to confront its own discrimination against homosexuals. Now comes a new musical, “A Letter to Harvey Milk,” based on Lesléa Newman’s 1988 short story of the same name, about the friendship between a Holocaust survivor and his young lesbian writing teacher.

Michael Bartoli as Harvey Milk in “A Letter to Harvey Milk.” Peter James Zielinski

Being Richard Pryor’s Daughter

Special To The Jewish Week

Children of celebrities find it notoriously difficult to forge their own paths. Rain Pryor, daughter of the peerless comedian, Richard Pryor, is still working out her relationship to a largely absent father who alternately adulated and abused her. In “Fried Chicken and Latkes,” which opens on Saturday at the Actors’ Temple Theatre, Pryor explores her dual identity as the daughter of a Jewish hippie and her larger-than-life African American father.

Rain Pryor: “Not black enough to be black or white enough to be white.”

‘Bashert,’ Ari Gold Style

The gay pop star and provocateur reclaims the Jewish concept in a new show.

Special To The Jewish Week

Forty days before a male child is conceived, according to the Babylonian Talmud, a voice from heaven proclaims the name of the female with whose soul this boy’s soul will eventually unite. This is the concept of bashert, the idea that each of us is foreordained to find a particular mate. In Sir Ari Gold’s one-person show, “Ari Gold’s Bashert,” the word is used to sum up the gay pop star’s attitude toward his career, in which he unabashedly celebrates both his Jewish and homosexual identities.

Sir Ari Gold.

When Humor Stays Below The Belt

What ‘Old Jews Telling Jokes’ says about us.

Special To The Jewish Week

Knocking both critics and audiences dead with laughter, Peter Gethers’ and Daniel Okrent’s “Old Jews Telling Jokes” is a bona fide hit. The show possesses, according to The New York Times, the “magnificent, enduring rhythm of Jewish humor.” The New Yorker crows that the “laughs-per-minute average is as high as anything you’ll find on stage right now.” And Variety says, simply, “You’ll laugh your tuchus off.” But two months into its Off-Broadway run, does the show deserve all the hype?

In “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” not all the tellers are old but the jokes are. Joan Marcus

Ehrenreich Riding The Brooklyn Wave

Return of ‘A Jews Grows in Brooklyn’ given fresh relevance by new population survey.

Special To The Jewish Week

Call it the Jewish Cape Canaveral. Brooklyn has been the launching pad for so many eminent Jewish Americans — from Arthur Miller to Woody Allen, and from Barbra Streisand to Ruth Bader Ginsburg — that one could hardly imagine America without it. Perhaps this helps to account for the continuing popularity of Jake Ehrenreich’s one-man show, “A Jew Grows in Brooklyn,” which has returned to New York after a record-breaking Off-Broadway run and a North American tour.

Ehrenreich “shortened, deepened and ‘wisened up’” the show over the years. Charlotte Nation

War Rages Inside, And Outside, Hotel Room

Identity and sexual politics in Israel Horovitz’s ‘Beirut Rocks.’

Special To The Jewish Week


A rehearsal for Israel Horovitz's "Beirut Rocks."

A Stage For Jewish Renewal

Theater as a bridge between young artists and the wider communal world.

Special To The Jewish Week

David Winitsky is a theater artist with a mission. In an era in which most of the Jewish repertory companies in New York have folded for lack of support, he views theater written by and for Jews as still essential to the revitalization of the Jewish community.

Jewish Plays Project’s David Winitsky, top, and “Six” playwright Zohar Tirosh-Polk.
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