Theater

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Lina Abarbanell

Lina Abarbanell’s expressive voice inspired more than one light opera, but even after she retired from the stage, her talent for casting and directing other performers shaped powerful performances like the world tour of Porgy and Bess.

Cheryl Moch

Long before gay marriage became a reality, Cheryl Moch dared to dream a gay marriage fairy tale.

Lynn Gottlieb

One of the first ten women rabbis, Lynn Gottlieb became a voice for peace between Jews and Muslims.

Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler’s massively successful play The Vagina Monologues gave her a platform to launch V-Day, a campaign to end violence against women and girls.
"But the Giraffe and Brundibar" Front Cover by  Tony Kushner

But the Giraffe

by  Miriam Cantor-Stone

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to catch the final performance of Underground Railway Theater’s Brundibar & But the Giraffe, which was actually two plays separated by an intermission. The first of which, But the Giraffe, by multiple-award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, is about a little girl given a choice; her family is frantically packing up their belongings, and there is very little room left in their suitcase, and she must choose between bringing her beloved toy giraffe or the score of an opera for children, Brundibar.

Topics: Holocaust, Theater
Sarajevo Haggadah

The Many Faces of Freedom

by  Velda Shaby

I recently experienced the multi-media performance The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book composed by the Bosnian-born Merima Kljuco, which expressed freedom at so many different levels and with such fervent passion. History was recast through a dialogue of accordion and piano, synchronized with artistic renditions of corresponding historical events. The 12 movements started with the creation of the Haggadah just before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, to Venice in 1609 where Jews were confined to the ghetto, to Sarajevo in 1941 where Hitler’s goal was to establish a “museum of an extinct race” and a Muslim imam hid the book until the war was over, through the siege of Sarajevo in 1992, finally ending with the Mother’s Benediction in Ladino when the Haggadah ends up back home.

Topics: Passover, Music, Theater

Death of Helen Menken, notorious and accomplished actress

March 28, 1966

Actress Helen Menken was arrested with Mae West, married Humphrey Bogart, and produced the Stage Door Canteen in World War II.

Vivienne Shub

In 1963, Vivienne Shub helped to create Center Stage, bringing a regional professional repertory theater to Baltimore. In the 1970s, she and her husband took up residency at Goucher College, sharing their expertise in music and theater. She has also enjoyed a long teaching career at Towson University, appeared in numerous films, and serves as president of the Baltimore Theater Alliance.

Stella Adler premieres Awake and Sing

February 19, 1935

Stella Adler premieres Awake and Sing.

Eve Ensler establishes V-Day, demanding that violence against women and girls must end

February 14, 1998

Eve Ensler:"I am proposing that we reconceive the dream."

Death of singer and casting agent Lina Abarbanell

January 6, 1963

Lina Abarbanell's career spanned from Die Fledermaus to Porgy and Bess.

Carmel Myers dies: movie vamp and Hollywood A-List hostess

November 9, 1980

Movie vamp Carmel Myers thought "Nice ladies are just like wallpaper."

Birth of Viola Spolin, creator of Theater Games

November 7, 1906

“If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever he chooses to learn." Viola Spolin, the “godmother of improvisation"

Sosúa: Make a Better World

Sosúa: Make a Better World

by  Miriam Cantor-Stone

The young actors learn about each other’s cultures (through a Passover seder, Spanish lessons, and more) while learning about themselves. I am constantly amazed by the power of theatre, even after experiencing it personally throughout my education. Watching Liz Swados and her production team interact with the teens reminded me of all the incredible teachers and directors I had the pleasure of working with in high school and college. Theatre gave me self-confidence and taught me the importance of community, and it’s clear that the teens involved in Sosúa learned the same.  This fascinating movie provides great insight into the magic of theater as well as into a little known aspect of Shoah history.

Topics: Holocaust, Theater

Comic marvel Joan Rivers is born

June 8, 1933

Comic marvel Joan Rivers is born

Judith Malina

New Home, New Life

by  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
Mona Golabek

Reflections on the Theatre

by Jewesses With Attitude

As a special treat for our blog readers, we’re taking this Friday to do a bit of a blog round up. Our bloggers often explore areas of entertainment, and nothing gets us writing more than a good night out at the theatre. Check out these five incredibly diverse blog entries, each focusing on a different aspect of the stage.

Estelle Getty at the 41st Emmy Awards, September 17, 1989

Estelle Getty: Golden Girl

by Jewesses With Attitude

Do I admire her because she's been described as "... evasive about her height, acknowledging only that she was under 5 feet and under 100 pounds?" Well, all the more points to Estelle Getty for being an itsy-bitsy powerhouse, but mostly I admire her for being a genuinely funny, talented woman, who never gave up on her greatest ambitions. In an industry where youth and beauty are often valued far above maturity and wit, Estelle turned the tables. She found success in her later years, cracked wise about it the whole time, and taught young women like myself a few things along the way.

Wendy Wasserstein

Making Trouble: Clips from the Cutting Room Floor

by  Steven Myers-Yawnick

While hard at work here at the Archive, I stumbled upon some interviews that ended up on the cutting room floor during production of our prizewinning documentary “Making Trouble”. Take a look at a few clips that feature fabulous Jewish women in entertainment talking about fabulous Jewish women in entertainment.

See Tovah Feldshuh speak about the ahead of her time Sophie TuckerAlex Borstein explore Gilda Radner's beauty,  Adrienne Cooper's take on Molly Picon gender roles, and Wendy Wasserstein's thoughts Jewish entertainers on and off the stage. 

Topics: Comedy, Film, Theater
True Colors Group Rehearsal

Painting the World with True Colors: An Interview with Two Jewish Women Helping to Tell an Incredible Story

by Etta King Heisler

In the one instant of silence between the curtain and the applause I remember feeling alive. I remember feeling like my heart had been ripped out of my chest, bounced down a basketball court, and thrown through the hoop for the winning shot. Then we (the audience) erupted in cheers. I was elated, proud, and profoundly humbled.

Jackie Hoffman, September 19, 2011

Jackie Hoffman Doesn't Care If You Find The Feminist Message

by  David Levy

Throughout March, Baruch College Performing Arts Center has been presenting a series of Jewish comediennes in partnership with the Jewish Women’s Arch

Topics: Feminism, Comedy, Theater

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.”

Emotional Creature Rehersal

What is the secret life of girls around the world?

by  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!

Birth of “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” author Lillian Roth

December 13, 1910

In an era of celebrity tell-all’s and daily website revelations of almost anyone’s personal life, it’s hard to imagine the impact of the first public confession of a famous figure with a drinking p

Frances Alenikoff , 1920 - 2012

For decades and well into her 90s she turned age on its head, subverting its preconceptions, making it an adventure.

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