Friday, September 30th 2022   |


‘School of Rock’ signals return of Lloyd Webber to rock musical apex

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

It may seem an odd choice, but Andrew Lloyd Webber has chosen a 2003 Jack Black film vehicle as the basis of re-establishing his preeminence as a rock musical composer. “School of Rock” was a fairly forgettable film released in 2003 that also starred Sarah Silverman and Adam Pascal.

Its premise is that of an out-of-work rock guitarist who, by chicanery, is...

Weill and Brecht’s ‘Happy End’ finishing run at Allways Theatre

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

There is little doubt that Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht made a formidable team of composer and lyricist. Their two greatest triumphs – “The Three Penny Opera” and “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” – sandwiched a work, “Happy End,” that was ripped critically not because of their songs or lyrics, but more to the failings of its book.


Fiddler on the Roof’ — and behind the scenes


NEW YORK (JTA) — Ever since Zero Mostel imagined himself as a rich man in the original 1964 Broadway production,“Fiddler on the Roof” has been a cultural landmark on Broadway and in the Jewish sphere.

It’s one of those musicals that always seems to be in rotation. Over the years, many a Tevye — from Mostel to Theodore Bikel to Chaim Topol to Alfred Molina — has inspired audiences...

‘My Fair Lady’ is ‘loverly’

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

The Jefferson Performing Arts Society (JPAS) realized the dream of its artistic director and maestro Dennis Assaf for a legitimate home stage with the opening of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center this weekend.

While the state-of-the-art facility on Airline Drive is a fitting performance hall for national touring companies and other professional productions, one question...

Who’s behind Broadway’s hip-hop hit ‘Hamilton’? Jewish biographer Ron Chernow


(JTA) — Historian Ron Chernow has written successful biographies of the likes of J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and George Washington.

So it’s fair to say that at this point in his career, the Alexander Hamilton biographer knows the drill: There’s the author tour, the positive reviews, the making of the best-seller lists. There are scads of awards, including a Pulitzer, a National Book Award and...

Stratford Festival presents unabridged ‘Anne Frank’, new ‘Sound of Music’

By BRUCE BURGUN, Exclusive to the CCJN

Out of the ashes of war and atrocity often great art is made.

In the wake of the ruthless annexation of rival country Melos, Euripides shocked his Athenian audience with his ravaging portrayal of postwar refugees in “The Trojan Women.” Throughout his career, with his history and his tragedies, Shakespeare relentlessly hounded his audience of the terrors of civil war and the perils...

Orna Porat, grande dame of Israeli theater, dies at 91

(JTA) — Orna Porat, a German convert to Judaism who became a grande dame of Israeli theater, died at the age of 91.

Porat passed away Aug. 6 in her home, i24 News reported.

Porat won the prestigious Israel Prize in 1979 for a lifetime of achievement in theater as well as Yedioth Acharonot’s Kinor David Prize in 1970, 1974 and 1980.

Born in Germany as Irene Klein, she moved...

Theodore Bikel, Tevye in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ dies at 91


(JTA) — Theodore Bikel, an actor and folk singer who was recognized in 1997 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, has died at 91.

Bikel, who won fame playing Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” doing more performances of the role than any other actor, died Tuesday morning of natural causes at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to...

Helen Mirren honored for educating about Nazi-looted art

(JTA) — Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren accepted an award for helping to educate the public about the issues surrounding Nazi-looted art.

On Friday, the World Jewish Congress presented Mirren with its Recognition Award, which honors those working on behalf of the Jewish people, at a ceremony at New York’s Neue Gallery.

Mirren starred in the 2015 film “Woman in Gold,” which tells the story of Maria Altmann, an Austrian-American...

Ron Moody, Jewish actor best known for playing Fagin, dies at 91

(JTA) — Ron Moody, a British Jewish actor best known for playing a character historically considered an anti-Semitic stereotype, has died at 91.

Moody, who played the Jewish criminal Fagin in the stage and film versions of “Oliver,” an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” died on Thursday.

His film portrayal of Fagin garnered an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe award as best actor.

Moody, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants,...