The Arts

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 ‘Stuff’ Of Memoir

Judy Batalion’s book moves between order and disorder.

01/12/2016 - 12:09
Culture Editor

Judy Batalion’s mother had been an artist, a published poet who followed Leonard Cohen around Greece. When readers encounter her in her daughter’s fine memoir “White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood and the Mess In Between” (New American Library), she appears to be a shadow of that earlier self, surrounded in her Montreal home by piles of unreturned library books, thousands of videocassettes, stale danish and towers of rotting cans of tuna: Every surface is piled high with stuff, all precariously close to an avalanche.

It took years for Batalion to connect her mother’s and grandmother’s hoarding back to their experience of the Holocaust.

A Bygone Gotham

Two new memoirs evoke an earlier New York.

12/30/2015 - 08:56
Culture Editor

Looking back over this year in New York City, with a new Whitney Museum, a new sculpture that shouts OY or YO, depending on what side of the East River you’re on, a new World Trade Center observatory back in use and a much-discussed new novel set here called “City on Fire,” I’m still drawn to an older New York, to pockets of time that are no more.

Morris Dickstein, chronicles his intellectual awakening.

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.

These Archie Comics Are Serious

Archie Rand’s ‘The 613’ is a graphic interpretation of the Torah’s commandments.

12/22/2015 - 15:30
Culture Editor

Conversation with painter Archie Rand is multilayered and goes in varied directions, but often swings back to the Jews and Judaism.  He’s not a religious man, nor a biblical scholar, but his interests in Jewish texts run deep. Over his distinguished and highly recognized career, Rand has worked to create a Jewish iconography, often combining words and images in vibrant, daring paintings.

“I swiped the images, mostly from EC Comics. A very Jewish source,” Rand says.

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

Carrying ‘That Destruction’ In Their Genes

‘Son of Saul’ filmmaker and star on what went into making the intense Sonderkommando story set in Auschwitz, and the controversy it engendered.

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

László Nemes knew that when it came time to make his first feature film he wouldn’t have trouble finding a subject.

The Holocaust, in his native Hungary.

Director László Nemes and Géza Röhrig on the set of “Son of Saul.” Photo by Ildi Hermann, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

New/Old Fiction, Times Two

The tales of Ben Nadler and Joshua Halberstam are both modern and timeless.

12/07/2015 - 19:00
Culture Editor

Ben Nadler’s New York City is layered with stories. Some stories have no borders, and characters shift easily from one urban tale into another; some stories are written as they are being lived while others are mythic.

“The Sea Beach Line” is filled with stories drawn from Jewish texts, both real and imagined. Nadler cites Kafka and I.B. Singer

How Boris Aronson’s Designs Came To Life

New show highlights avant-garde work of influential ‘Fiddler’ set designer.

11/30/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

After a preliminary meeting with director-choreographer Jerome Robbins to discuss his concept for the original 1964 production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” the set designer Boris Aronson felt that he had a good idea of how the production should look. The color, he knew, should be based on the palette of Marc Chagall’s paintings. And the set, as a whole, should also reflect Chagall’s sentimental outlook, he wrote in his notes: “simple-naïve-buoyant-primitive-childlike-charming-delightful to look at.”

A photograph of Aronson’s depiction of Hell in Abraham Goldfaden’s “The Tenth Commandment.” Courtesy of Marc Aronson

‘Fiddler’ In The Age Of Pew And Syria

‘Tradition,’ immigration take on new relevance in fifth Broadway revival.

11/24/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

There may be no more rousing and infectious song than “Tradition,” the opening number in “Fiddler on the  Roof,” the iconic musical about one man’s quixotic, ultimately doomed battle to keep the winds of political and social change from blowing away his beloved shtetl.

Hofesh Shechter, left, rehearsing with cast members at the New 42nd Street Studios.  Lindsay Hoffman/Jeffrey Richards Associates
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