Theater

Waiting For The Right Holocaust Angle

Noted young German novelist Daniel Kehlmann is finally tackling Jewishness and the Nazis in a new play.

04/24/2012
Staff Writer

For the past 15 years — which is to say his entire career — the German novelist Daniel Kehlmann, 37, has not written about Jews. In fact, none of his work — from his first novel, published when he was 22 and still in college, to his fifth, titled “Measuring the World” (2006) and Germany’s best-selling novel in more than two decades — even alluded to Nazis or Hitler.

In “Ghosts in Princeton,” Kehlmann, tells the tale of mathematician Kurt Godel, who the Nazis mistakenly believed was Jewish.

Last Chance For Compassion?

04/17/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

Is it ever too late to love and forgive? For Sadie Nussbaum, the crusty Jewish nonagenarian at the center of Miriam Kulick’s new one-woman show, “Open Hearts,” summoning up compassion may require every last ounce of her emotional strength.

Miriam Kulick plays a number of characters, including a 90-year-old, in her one-woman show, “Open Hearts.”

A ‘Sassy’ Jewish Actress, Cured By Globetrotting

04/10/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

After a teacher told her she didn’t have the talent to succeed, Sivan Hadari, an American-Israeli actress who now lives in New York, traveled the world to free herself of debilitating self-doubt.

"Sivan Hadari's new one-woman play documents her journeys to the unlikeliest of places."

A Cross-Dressing Judith

Charles Busch reinterprets Judith of Bethulia.

04/03/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

She saved her people with an incredible feat of daring and determination. Judith of Bethulia’s seduction and beheading of the Assyrian general Holofernes has inspired paintings, films and countless other works of art. Now comes Charles Busch’s cross-dressing romp, “Judith of Bethulia” at the Theater for the New City, in which the biblical heroine, performed by the playwright, becomes a gleeful combination of Sarah Bernhardt, Mae West and a modern Jewish mother. The 10-member cast includes Jennifer Cody, Jennifer van Dyck, Mary Testa, Billy Wheelan and John Wojda.

Charles Busch as Judith of Bethulia in his gender-bending play.

Stop, Passover Thieves!

03/27/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

Given the exuberance of the Jewish Festival of Freedom, along with its emphasis on transmitting the Jewish heritage to the next generation, perhaps no holiday is better suited than Passover to being turned into a children’s musical.

A scene from “Shlemiel Crooks,” a new musical based on Anna Olswanger’s award-winning children’s books.

LIU Students Revive Play About 1991 Crown Heights Violence

Anna Deavere Smith’s ‘Fire in the Mirror’ staged for a new generation.

03/26/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

She pioneered a new form of theater by imitating dozens of New Yorkers who played roles in the anti-Jewish riots in Crown Heights. In “Fires in the Mirror: Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Other Identities,” Anna Deavere Smith brilliantly embodied both black and Jewish subjects, from the Rev. Al Sharpton to Lubavitch Rabbi Shea Hecht.

Anna Devere Smith

A Holocaust ‘Myth’ That Can’t Be Washed Away

‘The Soap Myth’ pits a survivor’s memory against the historical record.

03/20/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

One of the most horrifying stories to come out of the Holocaust is the one about the Nazis turning Jews into bars of soap. But is it true? In Jeff Cohen’s new play, “The Soap Myth,” which is now in previews Off Broadway, a Holocaust survivor pits his eyewitness version of the truth against historians and museum curators who insist on documentary evidence. The play asks searching questions about how the Holocaust should be remembered and understood in an age in which survivors are dying out and Holocaust deniers spew their own hateful views.

Greg Mullavey plays Milton Saltzman, a Holocaust survivor on a crusade in Jeff Cohen’s “The Soap Myth.”

Too Much Jewish Muscle?

03/13/2012

He added muscle, but it stripped him (so to speak) of his self-esteem. That’s the takeaway from Aaron Berg’s solo show, “The Underbelly Diaries,” in which a twenty-something bodybuilder finds himself performing in clubs as a male stripper — a career that led to stints as both a gigolo and male prostitute. In the show, the playwright reflects on a period in his life in which he learned about a seamy side of American society.

Aaron Berg’s play “The Underbelly Diaries” is a window into the world of stripping and bodybuilding.

A Nun With A Jewish Touch

03/06/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

She brought a mystical Jewish strain into her career in the Church and gave comfort to many converts from Judaism who struggled to maintain a connection to Jewish belief and practice. Teresa of Avila, a 16th-century saint whose grandfather was forced to renounce his Jewish identity by the Spanish Inquisition, never lost touch with her Jewish roots. In Begonya Plaza’s new play, “Teresa’s Ecstasy,” starring the playwright, the nun’s Jewish heritage is seen as a driving force in her life and work.

Begonya Plaza as a writer researching Teresa of Avila and her husband (Shawn Elliot) in scene from “Teresa’s Ecstasy.”

Win Some, Lose Some At Oscars

02/28/2012

Jewish director Michel Hazanavicius won top honors at the Oscars for “The Artist,” while Israel’s entry in the awards, “Footnote” by Joseph Cedar, lost to an Iranian film.

“The Artist,” a black-and-white homage to Hollywood’s silent film era, won five Oscars — for best picture, director, actor, costume design and original musical score — at the ceremony Sunday.

A scene from “Footnote,” Israel’s entry in this year’s foreign-language film competition.
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