Sunday, January 29th 2023   |


Brilliant ‘Leopoldstadt’ weaves Austria’s shameful past with family’s tragic assimilation

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

Tom Stoppard had long established his credentials as one of the 20th century’s leading playwrights and authors before he learned the full extent of his Jewish heritage. A proud Englishman with a proper British name and standing, Stoppard had previously only been told by his mother that his father was Jewish.

The widow of a doctor killed in Singapore during the Japanese...

London theater group cancels Nazi-Jewish ‘Romeo and Juliet’ after wave of criticism


(JTA) — The London-based theater group behind a Romeo and Juliet-inspired Nazi-Jewish love story has canceled the play after receiving an onslaught of criticism related to the story’s premise and a botched casting call.

The Icarus Theatre Collective, the group behind the play, put out a casting call on Friday for their “Romeo and Juliet” over email and on social media, specifically calling for “non-binary artists, and/or...

Jessica Sherr prepares to channel Bette Davis at BB’s Stage Door Canteen

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

It’s taken two lifetimes for Jewish actress Jessica Sherr to approach her role as Hollywood screen icon Bette Davis. Sherr, a New York City method actor, arrives in the Crescent City this  weekend for two performances in which she will play the two-time Academy Award winner at BB’s Stage Door Canteen in a show she researched and wrote titled “Bette Davis – Larger...

In ‘Leopoldstadt,’ Tom Stoppard tackles the Holocaust, intermarriage, Zionism — and his own Jewishness, for the first time


(JTA) — Speaking on the phone from an empty balcony in the Longacre Theater in New York, several hours before a preview performance of his latest play, Tom Stoppard said the show is “one that people like to talk to me about.”

“Leopoldstadt,” which officially hits Broadway on Sunday after an award-winning London debut in 2019, follows multiple generations of a Jewish family in Vienna from the...

Rob McClure’s addition to ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ makes stellar cast go nova

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

When the musical “Mrs. Doubtfire” was preparing to open in 2020, the show became a victim of the forced lockdown of all theaters in New York. When COVID restrictions were relaxed and it finally opened  in December of 2021 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, producers had hoped the worst of the pandemic was over. But the Omicron variant caused the production to...

Lea Michele will replace Beanie Feldstein in ‘Funny Girl’ on Broadway


(JTA) — Lea Michele will replace Beanie Feldstein as the lead of Broadway’s revival of the extremely Jewish musical “Funny Girl,” with Jewish Broadway legend Tovah Feldshuh stepping into a key supporting role.

Michele and Feldshuh’s first performance will be Sept. 6. Feldstein announced Sunday she would be leaving the Broadway show July 31, earlier than originally planned. Standby Julie Benko will take over the role until...

Billy Crystal performs ‘Yiddish scat’ at the Tony Awards


(JTA) – “Ella Fitzgerald, wherever you are, I apologize in advance.”

Billy Crystal gave this year’s Tonys a jolt of Jewish shtick when he coaxed the audience into a call-and-response “Yiddish scat” routine, as part of a live performance to promote his Broadway musical, “Mr. Saturday Night.”

In a good-faith mockery of Fitzgerald’s own famous “scat” routine, Crystal, in character as his show’s fading comedian star Buddy...

Broadway’s new ‘Evan Hansen’ is an Asian-American Jew

By EVELYN FRICK, Special from Hey Alma

In a different world, Asian Jewish actor Zachary Noah Piser would’ve become an Olympic swimmer.

“Before the age where everyone started growing, I was like, becoming an Olympic swimmer is my journey. This is my path like 100%,” Zachary told me when we spoke recently. “And then as soon as everyone started hitting puberty, I was like, OK, I cannot be an Olympic...

Ben Platt to play Jewish lynching victim Leo Frank in a revival of Broadway musical ‘Parade’


(JTA) – Broadway’s Jewish golden boy is set to play one of the most infamous victims of antisemitism in American history.

“Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt will star as Leo Frank in a new revival of the 1998 Broadway musical “Parade,” a dramatization of Frank’s 1915 lynching at the hands of a gang of white Southerners. The show will have a limited run Nov. 1-6 at...

‘Funny Girl’ snubbed, but ‘Lehman’ stock rises, in Tony nominations

(JTA) – Some of the biggest Jewish names on Broadway weren’t shining so bright in this year’s Tony nominations. 


The much-anticipated revival of “Funny Girl,” with Beanie Feldstein in the Barbra Streisand role as pioneering Jewish comedienne Fanny Brice, came up almost empty-handed, despite Feldstein’s star status and the fact that the book was revised and updated by stage and screen legend Harvey Fierstein.

The show received only one...