Plays

Content type
Collection

Merle Feld

[I]t expresses the hope, the expectation even, that we will all come together to rejoice in our heritage...

V

V–World is the lives our mothers never got to live.

Wendy Wasserstein

Dear Wendy

Miriam Cantor-Stone

When I was 15 years old, I was about to go on vacation with my grandparents and I needed a book. I picked up a collection of three of your plays (The Heidi Chronicles, Uncommon Women and Others, & Isn't It Romantic) that I’d been assigned to read for my ninth grade English class, but never gotten around to studying. I didn’t know anything about you or the plays before opening the book, but I was soon transported to a world of women who didn’t necessarily know exactly what they wanted out of their educations, careers, and relationships, but did know they wanted a great deal. Suffice to say, it greatly appealed to me.

Topics: Plays
Judith Malina

New Home, New Life

Stephen Benson

For those of you wondering about the fate of the peripatetic theatre legend Judith Malina, there’s good news.  The Forward just published an article and posted a video of the grounds and atmosphere of Malina’s new home at the Lillian Booth Actors’ Home in Englewood, NJ, along with interviews with Ms. Malina and her fellow “hostages” (as she jokingly calls her fellow residents).

Topics: Theater, Plays

Elizabeth Swados’ play "Ten Years of Hope" opens

February 29, 2004

“As a Jew I’m supposed to do this,” Elizabeth Swados said. “It’s called a mitzvah. I think I’m buying some good Jewish time from this.”

Microphone

Lauren Interviews Lauren

Lauren Mayer

Singer-songwriter-humorist Lauren Mayer reflects on Hanukkah, Christmas, family, growing up a Jew in Orange County and how all this informs her own, artistic process. May you enjoy this in depth interview conducted by… herself.

What inspired you to write “Latkes, Shmatkes”?

Two years ago NPR did a program on Christmas music, and their expert was talking about how secular songs, like “Frosty The Snowman,” became classics, and then he said, “Some songs should never become classics, like this one”— and used an old recording of mine as an example. It was a novelty song I’d written and recorded years ago, “The Fruitcake That Ate New Jersey,” and when I wrote in to ask how they found it, they ended up interviewing me. I joked that now I was part of the great tradition of Jewish songwriters who create Christmas music, and I really should do a Chanukah album. Once I said it, I realized it could be a fun idea.

Emotional Creature Rehersal

What is the secret life of girls around the world?

Talia bat Pessi

At the NOW (National Organization for Women) conference I attended in June, playwright Eve Ensler delivered the keynote speech. Ensler, who is featured in JWA’s online exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution, was a riveting speaker whose passionate words truly rallied me to action. I’ve been hoping to see one of her plays ever since. Luckily, her newest show Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, is now playing Off-Broadway, and I was able to get tickets!

V-Day Logo

Thanks to Eve Ensler, every day is V-Day

Alan Kravitz

To millions of people all over the world, V-Day means much more than roses and a romantic dinner.

Bessie Breuer’s play “Sundown Beach” opened on Broadway.

September 7, 1948

The first and only play by fiction writer Bessie Breuer was one of the newly formed Actor’s Studio's first productions.

Birth of writer Dorothy Parker

August 22, 1893

The always witty, sometimes vicious writer Dorothy Parker was born on this day in 1893 to a Jewish father and Scottish mother.

Death of Gertrude Stein

July 27, 1946

The American modernist writer Gertrude Stein died on July 27, 1946, at the American Hospital at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

Joyce Antler

Q&A: Joyce Antler on "Women's Liberation and Jewish Identity"

Chanel Dubofsky

I first read the Joyce Antler’s book The Journey Home: How Jewish Women Shaped Modern America as an undergraduate, deep in the thrall of Jewish feminist academia.

And the winner is ... no one?

Leah Berkenwald

The 2010 winner of the $25,000 Wendy Wasserstein Prize for playwriting is apparently nobody.

Topics: Art, Theater, Plays

Wendy Wasserstein, 1950 - 2006

Wasserstein observed that she was often told by producers and others that her plays were 'too New York,' which she understood as being a euphemism for 'too Jewish.' As Wasserstein recounted, when people asked her whether <em>The Sisters Rosensweig</em> with its three Jewish sisters, 'a hit in New York [could] play around the country,' she replied 'Well, you know this is something I've heard &hellip; People have sisters. Now maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they don't have them in Ohio. I could be wrong, but I've heard &hellip; they have sisters there.'

Lois Levin Roisman, 1938 - 2008

Lois' life was centered on the inherent goodness of humans and inherent humor of life. Everything she did was based on the principle that if you could make people laugh about the human condition, then you could make them do something to improve it.

Betty Comden, 1917 - 2006

Her life not only chronicles a history of the Broadway musicals I grew up with, but also an era that allowed many of us to believe in the beauty and power of New York, as well as that melancholy feeling many of us hold as we look back on a period when life was indeed simpler&hellip; Though not a particularly observant Jew, Comden seemed informed by a Jewish frame of mind &ndash; a wise-cracking, down-to-earth, cultural "at homeness" with which I very much identified.

Premiere of the musical "Show Boat," based on a novel by Edna Ferber

December 27, 1927

When Edna Ferber published Show Boat in 1926, she was already an established writer, with eleven books, two stage plays, and a Pulitzer Priz

Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" is banned in Boston

December 14, 1935

Calling it "indecent," Mayor Frederick Mansfield banned Lillian Hellman's first play, The Children's Hour, from being staged in Boston,

Wendy Wasserstein first woman playwright to win Tony Award

June 4, 1989

Born and raised in New York City and educated at Mount Holyoke College and the Yale School of Drama, Wendy Wasserstein was already an establish

Lily Winner publishes a defense of open immigration in "The Nation"

May 18, 1921

Writer, playwright, and activist Winner was a progressive voice for immigrants and immigration reform.

Publication of Merle Feld's "A Spiritual Life: A Jewish Feminist Journey"

April 1, 1999

Merle Feld's memoir, A Spiritual Life: A Jewish Feminist Journey was published on April 1, 1999.

V's "The Vagina Monologues" performed at Madison Square Garden

February 10, 2001

The February 10, 2001, performance of V's The Vagina Monologues was cheered by 18,000 men and women at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Opening of Joan Rivers' first Broadway play

January 2, 1972

Joan Rivers's first Broadway play, Fun City, opened on January 2, 1972.

Yiddish Theater in the United States

Women have always been important as both Yiddish theater audiences and actors. For a decade and more, most American Yiddish actors were immigrants, as were their audiences. Often families played in the same company, such as the famous Adler family. Now, as Yiddish theater has become attenuated, the loyalties and memories of women are important for its survival.

Television in the United States

Jewish women have had a long-standing, complex, often fraught relation to American television. They have had to battle a male-dominated production system and sexist stereotypes, but also have seen significant advances, in front of and behind the screen, resulting from the cable and streaming revolutions and third-wave feminist activism.  

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