With a little help from his friends — and “Friends” — Danny Maseng is working to reinvent Temple Israel of Hollywood’s (TIOH) annual gala.
It was 1985, and many of the Ethiopian Jews who'd been airlifted from Sudan were being housed in a hotel in Netanya, Israel. When writer Sonia Levitin entered the temporary nursery, she was particularly struck by all the babies and toddlers who'd been born since their families had arrived.
The Rat Pack's impromptu shows, an intoxicating hi-ball of songs, dance, jokes and alcohol, are part of Vegas legend. Now, more than 40 years later, Angelenos will have the chance to experience a dead-on recreation of those legendary nights, at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Rat Pack -- Live at the Sands" at the Wilshire Theatre Beverly Hills.
In the 1950s, a few years after Yiddish culture in Europe had been decimated, there was a bustling metropolis in the Western Hemisphere that still had a thriving Yiddish culture. This city had a number of schools in which classes were taught in Yiddish; there was an active theatrical scene, a couple of daily newspapers, books, literary magazines, songs and musicals -- all in Yiddish. There were Yiddish comedians, as well as cafes where Yiddish-speakers gathered to chat and drink tea with a bissel (little) lemon. And there were vacation resorts, a few hours' drive from the city, where Yiddish was regularly heard. New York? Montreal? Actually, Buenos Aires.
Since the beginning of human history, man has struggled to figure out the meaning of life. Writer and solo performer Matt Sax's hip-hop musical, "Clay," doesn't just explain the notion of pain and struggle, but makes audiences part of the cure.
In Jason Robert Brown's new rock musical, "13," the 13-year-old characters stand in a semicircle, staring bewilderedly at scraps of parchment.The teenagers in this show, which has its world premiere Jan. 7 at the Mark Taper Forum downtown, are non-Jewish students at a middle school in the fictional Appleton, Ind., and the "mysterious" documents are invitations to a bar mitzvah, courtesy of the Jewish new-kid-in-town, Evan Goldman.This funny-poignant piece is the brainchild of 36-year-old composer-lyricist Brown -- who is often described as a successor to Stephen Sondheim -- and among the smartest and most sophisticated talents in today's musical theater.
Here is a question for the rabbis: Can a teenager acting out a bar mitzvah on stage actually get credit for becoming a man? What if he has rehearsed for months? And what if he reads a real Haftorah? Ricky Ashley, the 17-year-old who stars in the new musical "13," never had a bar mitzvah. He was too busy acting and never found time to prepare. But now, Ashley is playing Evan Goldman, a 13-year-old who has his coming of age ceremony after moving to a new school in a new town, where the kids confuse "bar mitzvah" with "Bon Jovi."
7 Days In The Arts