Monday, June 14th 2021   |


Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Songs for a New World’ freshly minted at Jazz Museum

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out”)

Jason Robert Brown was all of 25 when he first propositioned Daisy Prince, the daughter of renowned Broadway producer Hal Prince, to take him on as a project in which he would supply the songs and she would direct.

For five years prior, Brown had plied his trade on and off-Broadway and on Madison Avenue, providing music for the soundtrack of his...

Updated ‘God of Vengeance’ casts light on Jewish double standard of the past

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out“)

The story of “God of Vengeance” (“Got auf Nekome”), the three-act drama in Yiddish by Sholem Asch was famously recounted in 2017 with Paula Vogel’s Indecent. That remarkable Tony Award-winning work spoke about the playwright, the success of his work, its controversial 1923 Broadway run that was shut down due to alleged immorality and its ill-fated cast.

Directed by Bruce Bierman, the Yiddish...

Andréa Burns stars in ‘Bad Dates’ as a woman in love…with shoes

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out”)

Anyone who knows Theresa Rebeck’s writing knows she has a devilish sense of humor that has an odd way of popping up at the most opportune, yet unexpected moments. Her writing style has been marked by very taut scripts that say what is absolutely necessary with no countenance given for extra phrases or remarks, probably something she picked up while writing for...

Andréa Burns stars in ‘Bad Dates’ streaming from George St. Playhouse

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

When the worldwide theatre community shut down last March, Andréa Burns was riding high. She was getting ready to fly out to San Diego to be one one a group of actors who would be mounting the world premiere of multiple Tony Award-winning nominee Michael John LaChiusa’s “The Gardens of Anucia.” Inspired by and based on the life of the Broadway legend Graciella...

This deadly tragedy at a Yiddish performance is the reason it’s illegal to yell ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater


(JTA) — Former President Trump’s impeachment defense team intends to argue that his infamous Jan. 6 speech, in which he exhorted his followers to “fight like hell” and march “to the Capitol,” was permitted by his First Amendment rights to free speech. Political opponents are already calling reference to the well-known Supreme Court decision (Schenck v. United States, 1919) that limits free speech to exclude harmful expressions — such...

British children’s author omits ‘Merchant of Venice’ from Shakespeare anthology, citing anti-Semitism as one reason

(JTA) — A popular British children’s author omitted “The Merchant of Venice” from his adaptation of William Shakespeare plays for young audiences.

One reason: anti-Semitism.

“Yes, there was some worry that this might be the first time an 8-year-old reads about a Jew,” Michael Morpurgo told The Guardian on Monday about the decision not to include the play in the “Tales from Shakespeare” anthology for children older than 6.


WATCH: Daveed Diggs’ new ‘Puppy for Hanukkah’ song

(JTA) — There’s a long history of Jewish artists releasing parody songs for Hanukkah, but this year’s most catchy addition to the holiday canon may be Daveed Diggs’ new rap, “Puppy for Hanukkah.”

The song — about a kid hoping to receive a puppy as a present — is set against a klezmer-style clarinet melody and includes a recitation of the blessing over the menorah.

“I don’t know what it...

Jewish DC theater maven Ari Roth leaves second company in 6 years over Palestinian content issue


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Over 18 years, theater director Ari Roth built Theater J into a Jewish Washington, D.C. powerhouse that often debuted works by major writers. But six years ago, the theater, which was housed by and associated with the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, fired him amid claims that a festival he was running was too pro-Palestinian.

In the wake of that, he founded a...

HBO adapts ‘Oslo,’ Tony Award-winning play about peace accords, into original film

(JTA) — HBO has begun production on a film adaptation of “Oslo,” the Tony Award-winning play about secret meetings before the Oslo Accords that nearly brought peace between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s.

The film, which will air next year, stars Andrew Scott (of “Fleabag” and “Black Mirror”) and Ruth Wilson (“The Affair,” “Mrs. Wilson”) as the Norwegian husband and wife diplomats who arranged covert negotiation sessions between...

Israel Horovitz, playwright who was accused of sexual assault, dies at 81

(JTA) — Israel Horovitz, a famed playwright who later in life was accused of sexual assault, has died of cancer, according to The New York Times. He was 81.

Horovitz wrote more than 70 plays and was the founding artistic director of Gloucester Stage in Massachusetts. Among his best-known plays were “Line,” “Park Your Car in Harvard Yard,” “The Primary English Class,” “The Widow’s Blind Date” and “The Indian Wants...