The Arts

The Overlooked List

Ten books from 2014 that didn’t get the attention they deserved.

12/31/2014
Culture Editor

At this time of looking back and looking ahead, we’d like to point to some titles published over this past year that have been overlooked and are worthy of attention. Many relate to exile and memory, and one novel even speaks of a black market in memory.

Read it. Via lbi.org

Modiano’s Paris

Three novellas by the Nobel Prize winner, all shadowed with loss.

12/23/2014
Culture Editor

Patrick Modiano’s newly translated novellas are mysteries of remembering and forgetting. The fictional narrators, who resemble the author, search for truth about an elusive past, always linked to the Nazi occupation of Paris. 

“Suspended Sentences,” a trilogy by Nobel Prize laureate Patrick Modiano, is now available in English.

Caught Between Worlds

S. Ansky’s ‘A Dybbuk for Two People’ resonates with 24/6 company.

12/23/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

With all the stress of the holiday season, many of us find ourselves acting a little out of character and wondering afterwards what got into us. How appropriate, then, that the 24/6 theater company, a troupe whose members maintain Sabbath and holiday observance while staging classic and modern plays with a Jewish twist, is presenting Bruce Myers’ celebrated adaptation of S. Ansky’s “The Dybbuk,” the iconic Yiddish play about spirit possession. The play, in which two actors play all the parts, will be presented Sunday afternoon at the JCC Manhattan. This year marks the centennial of Ansky’s writing of the play.

Leor Hackel and Michal Birnbaum star in a new adaptation of an iconic Yiddish play.

Chanukah And Heresy

12/16/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

While Chanukah marks the military victory of Mattathias and his five sons over the Seleucid (Syrian Greek) monarchy, it also represents the ascendancy of the Maccabees over their fellow Jews who had become infatuated with Hellenistic culture.

As A Driven Leaf Book Cover

Freedom Has Its Costs

Ridley Scott’s theologically tentative and sluggish ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings.’

12/16/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

It is unlikely that anyone could have made a satisfying film out of “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the Ridley Scott-directed biblical epic that opened last weekend. The script, by four different writers including Steve Zaillian of “Schindler’s List” fame, is a sluggish, unbalanced mess; the first third of the film is an entertaining irrelevance and the most important part of the story is relegated to the last 10 minutes of a long two-and-a-half hours.

Christian Bale as Moses in “Exodus: God and Kings.” Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

When Basketball Was Jewish

Dolph Schayes and the NBA during a more innocent time.

12/16/2014
Staff Writer

In the early days of professional basketball in this country, the sport was largely a city game, played by upwardly mobile athletes from working-class families — often with immigrant roots — who used their shooting and defensive skills as their ticket to a better life.

Dolph Schayes: An NBA Hall of Farmer with Bronx roots, he settled in Syracuse after starring for its basketball team.  Wikimedia

Unlikely Steps To ‘The Nutcracker’

Two of Gelsey Kirkland’s dancers — one from an Israeli moshav, the other from Alaska — have choreographed ballet lives for themselves.

12/09/2014
Culture Editor

This season in New York City, several productions of “The Nutcracker” ballet are being staged around town, with angels, toy soldiers, Spanish dancers and fanciful figures bringing the classic story to life. One production features a muscular and lithe Israeli in the role of the prince and a poised young Jewish woman from Alaska as the female lead, Marie, the little girl who dreams herself into other kingdoms.

Erez Ben-Zion Milatin: Indirect path to the stage. Igor Siggul/VAM Productions

‘Soul Doctor’ Redux

Retooled production of Carlebach musical plays down the counterculture rabbi’s biography in favor of his songs.

12/09/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

If anyone saw himself as a fixer, it was Shlomo Carlebach. With the extraordinary power of his original melodies, the wonder-working rabbi traveled around the world beginning in the 1960s, helping Jews who were suffering from drug abuse, loneliness and alienation from Jewish life. Ironically, “Soul Doctor,” the musical about Carlebach’s life and career, has itself been in need of repair. After a highly publicized flop at the Circle in the Square on Broadway last year, the musical returns, Off-Broadway this time, in its 11th incarnation. And now, the creative team believes, the musical has finally found its voice. The retooled show, which is currently in previews, opens this Sunday at the Actors’ Temple Theatre in Midtown.

Josh Nelson as Shlomo Carlebach with his so-called Holy Beggars. Carol Rosegg

An Edgy ‘Hannah’ Finally Makes It To N.Y.

Modernist opera on a Chanukah theme has been a long time coming.

12/02/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

He has waited almost 35 years to see it on a New York stage, but Leonard Lehrman is remarkably sanguine as the two semi-staged performances of his opera “Hannah” are approaching.

Poster for Leonard Lehrman and Orel Odinov Protopopescu’s “Hannah.”

A New York Chanukah

12/02/2014
Special To The Jewish Week

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, seems tailor-made for a city known for its luminous skyscrapers that glitter and sparkle in the night. For Sean Hartley, the creator of the Chanukah-themed children’s show, “Latkes and Applesauce,” the winter holiday can inspire a new generation of Jewish New Yorkers to connect to their heritage. His show runs for one performance only on Dec. 14 at the Merkin Concert Hall on the Upper West Side.

Scene from Sean Hartley’s children’s show, “Latkes and Applesauce.”  Joan Jastrebski
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