Tuesday, April 13th 2021   |


There’s a lot you can learn about the Talmud from kung fu movies, according to a new play


NEW YORK (JTA) — In trying to understand the often esoteric arguments of the Talmud, people often turn to teachers, dictionaries and a range of other study aids. Jesse Freedman has found another helpful, albeit unexpected source: kung fu movies.

Five or six years ago, the Jewish director and playwright was watching the martial arts film “Canton Viper” when he realized that it reminded him of something...

Dody Piper astounds in SLT’s ‘She Loves Me’

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

For its second full production of their season, Summer Lyric Theatre  at Tulane (SLT) chose “She Loves Me,” a show that could arguably be considered among the most stealthily Jewish shows in the modern Broadway lexicon. Based on “Parfumerie,” a 1937 play by Hungarian Jewish playwright Miklos Laszlo, which was adapted into the 1940 movie, “The Shop Around the Corner,” the characters...

Neil Diamond’s life story is coming to Broadway

(JTA) — The life story of iconic singer-songwriter Neil Diamond will be told on Broadway in a musical.

The untitled project is still in its development stages, Deadline Hollywood reported.

“I’ve always loved Broadway,” Diamond said in a statement. “The inspiration for many of my early songs came from shows like ‘West Side Story,’ ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ so it seems only fitting to bring my...

Jewish directors dominate at Tony Awards

(JTA) — “Hadestown,” a musical about the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice and the underworld, won best new musical at the Tony Awards, and a coveted prize for its Jewish director.

Rachel Chavkin won the Tony Award for best director of a musical for “Hadestown,” the tenth woman ever to win best director for a Broadway play or musical, during the award ceremony on Sunday night. She followed Julie...

Golabek’s ‘Pianist of Willesden Lane’ is deeply personal journey, concert

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

Just before every performance of “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” the one-woman play based on the book she wrote with Lee Cohen (“The Children of Willesden Lane”),  Mona Golabek holds onto a Magen David that hangs from her necklace. As she grasps the golden artifact (which she never removes), she closes her eyes and thinks deeply about her journey and how best...

Get to know the new 16-year-old star of ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ who founded a theater company for his bar mitzvah project

NEW YORK (JTA) — Andrew Barth Feldman isn’t your average 16-year-old Jewish teenager from Long Island: He’s starring on Broadway in the smash hit “Dear Evan Hansen.” He landed the titular role after winning the Jimmy Awards, the National High School Musical Theatre Awards.

“It was just kind of a right place, right time situation,” Feldman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “There were all these people [from ‘Dear Evan Hansen’] that...

Carol Channing, the original star of ‘Hello Dolly!,’ dies at 97

(JTA) — Actress Carol Channing, who originated the starring role in “Hello Dolly!” on Broadway and won a Tony Award for her portrayal of the boisterous widow, has died. She was 97. Channing was the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Christian father and identified as “part Jewish.” At 16, she learned that her father was multi-racial, with an African-American mother and a German father.

She wrote in her memoir...

How Moises Kaufman went from a yeshiva in Venezuela to directing a Harvey Fierstein classic


(JTA) — It has been more than 35 years since Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” opened on Broadway. At the time it was a theatrical revelation: Who could have imagined that the story of a young gay Jewish man’s quest for love and validation in a world that viewed him as an abomination would become such a hit?

Fierstein, who wrote and starred in the original production,...

Shelbie Mac soars into the stratos with ‘Peter Pan’

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

If anyone questioned if Shelbie Mac is the greatest young talent to come down the pike since the late Cynthia Owen, all doubts have been erased with her starring role in Peter Pan, currently playing the boards at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center on Airline Drive.

Mac, who has previously starred as Charity Hope Valentine in Rivertown Theaters’ Sweet Charity and who played...

Award-winning playwright Neil Simon dies at 91

(JTA) — Playwright Neil Simon, known for such Broadway hits as “The Odd Couple,” “Barefoot in the Park,” and “Lost in Yonkers” has died.

Simon, who earned a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award, died overnight Saturday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City from complications with pneumonia at the age of 91.

Simon began his career in television, on the writing staff for Sid Caesar for “Your Show...