Thursday, August 11th 2022   |


Barry Manilow tests positive for COVID, misses NYC debut of his musical ‘Harmony’

(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — Singer Barry Manilow tested positive for COVID-19, preventing him from attending the New York premier of his musical “Harmony.”

The show, about a real-life musical group popular in Germany in the years before World War II, opened Wednesday night at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan.

“I am heartbroken to say that I have just tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t...

10 minutes with Barry Manilow: The iconic singer dishes on bringing his Nazi-era musical to NYC


(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — Barry Manilow could fill a stage just by showing up with a piano, and he has: Starting in 1977, his stints on Broadway have nearly always sold out. With 13 multi-platinum albums, 28 top ten hits, and a famously devoted fan base, he might be forgiven if he wanted to rest on his laurels.

But at 78, the Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter...

Musical planned about Fred Neulander, a rabbi convicted in his wife’s murder

(JTA) — A musical about a Philadelphia-area rabbi who had his wife murdered in 1994 is stirring painful memories among his former congregants.

The Philadelphia Inquirer on Wednesday reported that the Gefen Playhouse in Los Angeles is set to debut “A Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill,” about Rabbi Fred Neulander, who was convicted in 2001 for hiring a man to bludgeon his wife, Carol, to death.

Neulander, believed at the...

Feldshuh hits a home run, scores in ‘Becoming Dr. Ruth’

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

Tovah Feldshuh had described herself as a “transformational” actor. Among her previous outings in one-woman shows were Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (“Golda’s Balcony“) and hotel magnate Leona Helmsley in a play (‘The Queen of Mean“) and a cabaret show (“Tovah is Leona!“). She also played Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg opposite another actress ‘s portrayal of Sandra Day O’Connor in...

‘Jeopardy!’ devotes entire category to Yiddish theater


(JTA) — In recent years, Yiddish theater has enjoyed a remarkable resurgence, with Yiddish-language performances wowing audiences in New York, online and, last month, Stockholm.

But perhaps its biggest audience yet came on Thursday night, when “Jeopardy!” devoted an entire category to it. The iconic quiz show is seen by an estimated 8.7 million people every night, making it the most-watched syndicated show on the air.


Tovah Feldshuh prepares to become ‘Dr. Ruth’ (again)

By ALAN SMASON, Special to the CCJN

With innumerable acting awards and plaudits to her credit, Tovah Feldshuh has continued to ply her acting craft during the current pandemic, a time when even she admits thriving in theatre has been challenging to say the least. 

Ever the pragmatist, Feldshuh used some of her recent industry downtime to compile and finish a tribute to her forceful and indomitable mother. The result...

A 30-year-old play about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is restaged for 2021 — but its Palestinian collaborators are no longer involved


(JTA) — When Seattle-based playwright and theater director Lauren Goldman Marshall first staged her original musical about the Israel-Palestinian conflict in 1991, she had recently embarked on a journey of self-discovery prompted by the First Intifada. Working alongside Palestinian collaborators, she produced a heartfelt show meant to celebrate “seeing the other.”

Thirty years later, that show, “Abraham’s Land,” has been revived for a new generation. A...

Stephen Sondheim, Jewish theater legend who reshaped the American musical, is dead at 91


(JTA) — Stephen Sondheim, the Jewish lyricist and composer who redefined the American musical through a monumental canon of influential and innovative theatrical works, has died at 91. He died suddenly Friday after enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with friends at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, The New York Times reported.

Sondheim’s stunning debut came writing the lyrics to Leonard Bernstein’s score for “West Side Story” in 1957,...

Jewish creative team possesses spooky good production of ‘The Addams Family’ from JPAS

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

The macabre characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams were anything but Jewish, which is why it may be interesting to musical theatre lovers that the creative team behind “The Addams Family” is not merely Jewish, but very Jewish.  Describing his early Jewish upbringing in Toronto, composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa has commented that it, along with his being gay and left-handed, contributed...

As Broadway returns, here are 7 Jewish reasons to head back to the theater


(JTA) — Thanks to safety measures such as vaccination and mask requirements, Broadway shows are playing again after a shutdown that lasted a year and a half, the longest in Broadway history.

The first show to open was the Bruce Springsteen concert “Springsteen on Broadway” in June, followed by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s play “Pass Over” in August. Those two limited engagements have closed, but there are now...