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  • Uncle Vanya’ Hits Sour Note; ‘Amadeus’ in Perfect Harmony

    By Gene Lichtenstein

    October 14, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    No one ever said Anton Chekhov was an easy fit for American actors. In Chekhov, there may be scoundrels, but no villains; interesting, appealing women, but no heroine; a central figure perhaps, but flawed. Under the surface, it is the human condition that he unfolds for us.

    In the...

  • Speaking of Evil—and of Acting

    By Rabbi Debra Orenstein

    June 10, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    For the last few months, I have been involved with "Speaking of Evil," an original play based on the life of Kurt Gerstein. Gerstein was a member of the Waffen S.S., one of the most deadly and heartless arms of the Third Reich. According to his memoirs and letters, he entered the...
  • A Survivor’s ‘Stories’

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    May 20, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Linda Lavin has some advice for Ruth Steiner, the aging Jewish intellectual she portrays in Donald Margulies' Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama, "Collected Stories," at the Geffen Playhouse.

    Be wary of writers. They're always desperately looking for material. "If you don't want your...

  • ‘Enigma’ Brilliance

    By Tom Tugend

    May 13, 1999 | 8:00 pm

    Novelist Abel Znorko, a Nobel laureate, has lived in solitude for 12 years on a remote Norwegian island, so close to the Arctic Circle that there are only two seasons -- six months of day and six months of night.

    His self-exile is broken only occasionally by a ferry that unloads his...

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  • Magic Jews

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    February 11, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    Steve Spill's father was one of the first managers of the Magic Castle. Not surprisingly, growing up around the Castle cast its spell on Spill, who went on to forge a 20-year career as a professional magician.

    Last September saw the debut of his new venture, the Magicopolis Theater of...

  • The Wearing Down of the Green

    By Charles Marowitz

    November 12, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    It is hard to believe that "The Cripple of Inishman" was written only a few years ago by a contemporary Irish playwright, Martin McDonough. The play, which has just opened the Geffen's new season looks, feels and sounds like something Lennox Robinson or Lady Gregory might have dashed...
  • NoisesWithin—Grumbles Without

    By Charles Marowitz

    October 29, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    The question in regard to Lillian Hellman is not so much, What is her place in the American theater? Rather, it's, Is she even entitled to one?

    Since she burst into prominence in 1934 with "The Children's Hour" and then consolidated her position five years later with "The Little...

  • The Great Profile in Caricature

    By Charles Marowitz

    September 17, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    John Barrymore's career can be divided into four acts: a reigning matinee idol in the silent era, America's most conspicuous classical actor in the 1920s, a somewhat medium-sized Hollywood star in the 1930s and, in the final days, a crapulous has-been whose main stock in trade was...
  • Shylock Reinterpreted

    By Charles Marowitz

    August 27, 1998 | 7:59 pm

    Venice" is 400 years old. The play was first entered on the register of the Stationer's Company in July 1598, along with a proviso that it shouldn't be published till the Lord Chamberlain gave his consent. And that didn't happen until 1600. It may...

  • Ibsen for Dummies

    By Charles Marowitz

    August 7, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish Journal theater critic Charles Marowitz writes from Malibu.

    Ibsen for Dummies

    The trick in Henrik Ibsen's "Enemy of the People" -- now in a Royal National Theatre production at the Ahmanson -- is realizing that a...

  • Theater Notes

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 9, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    When the Jewish Women's Theatre Project askedSusan Merson to write its first commissioned play last year, theactress/writer recalled a bizarre TV news item.

    "This 85-year-old man woke up one morning, turnedto his wife of 50 years and choked her to death," says Merson, theformer...

  • Watch Your Language

    By Charles Marowitz

    June 18, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Jewish Journal theater critic Charles Marowitz writes from Malibu.

    Watch Your Language

    In the late 1940s and early 1950s, with front-runners such as T.S. Eliot, Christopher Fry and Archibald Macleish, there was a...

  • George Jean Nathan:

    By Charles Marowitz

    June 11, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    No matter how impressive Nathan the Critic ever becomes, he is constantly subverted by Nathan the Dandy, the man who is more concerned with witty badinage and flip cynicism than he is hard, critical reasoning.

    George Jean Nathan: A True Critic...

  • Uncovering Gulf War Syndrome

    By Ivor Davis

    May 28, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Television

    Scenes from "Thanks of a Grateful Nation." Photos courtesy of Showtime

    Uncovering Gulf War Syndrome

    Showtime's 'Thanks of a Grateful Nation' explores the malady plaguing so many...

  • Desperate Gambles

    May 7, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    As a metaphor for life, there is nothing to beatgambling. Raising the ante, bluffing, keeping a poker-face, winning,losing, staying in the game, these are all transactions whichsymbolize the pressures, conquests and defeats which characterize ourdaily lives. Of all of them, the most...

  • Arts Briefs

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    March 12, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    British director Tyrone Guthrie, a non-Jew, oncesaid: "If all the Jews were to leave the American theater, it wouldclose down about next Thursday."

    Maybe that explains why there's so much Jewishtheater now in Los Angeles. Here's a roundup of the offerings: Wecan't guarantee they're...

  • The Arts

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    March 5, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Actor-composer Hershey Felder, 29, has a way with politicians.

    Mayor Richard Riordan has asked him to collaborate on a musical. And Felder is writing another musical with Kim Campbell, Canada's former prime minister and the country's current consul general in Los Angeles. Last week,...

  • Extracting the Pain

    By Charles Marowitz

    March 5, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    Anne Meara's "After-Play," a conversation piecenow at the Canon Theater in Beverly Hills, is a kind of "Look Back inAnguish" conducted by two middle-aged couples whose lives seem toencompass all the failings of the past half century: broken families,marital spite, psychoanalytical...

  • The Jewish Connection

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    February 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    'We have a profound understanding of whatit is not to belong'

    -- Moisés Kaufman, director of'Gross Indecency'

    The Jewish Connection

    to Oscar Wilde

    By Naomi Pfefferman,Senior Writer

    Above, (left to right), J. Todd Adams, MitchellAnderson, Michael Emerson, Edie Bowz and Benjamin Livingston...

  • Looking for the Genius in

    By Charles Marowitz

    January 29, 1998 | 7:00 pm

    One of the strangest anomalies in thetheater is that of the successful turkey -- plays that areessentially trivial, gauche and insubstantial, but still manage toachieve a certain kind of notoriety and even commercial success."Shear Madness," which has been playing for 15 years in...
  • Design for Living

    By Tom Tugend

    October 23, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    In Act Two: Scene II of Noel Coward's "Design for Living," Gilda,the object of everybody's affection, gives a thumbnail critique of anew play by Leo, one of her rotating lovers.

    "Three scenes are first rate, especially the last act," observesGilda. "The beginning of the second act...

  • Bittersweet Melodies

    By Diane Arieff

    October 16, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Teacher and student: Hal Robinson and Justin Kirk (atpiano).

    The Geffen Playhouse's new season opens on a memorable note withJon Marans' intelligent and bittersweet two-character drama, "OldWicked Songs," a finalist for the 1996 Pulitzer Prize. This WestCoast production features...

  • War Stories

    By Diane Arieff

    September 11, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Like any other visitor to Israel, Stephanie Liss has apretty collection of souvenirs from her travels. Jerusalem potteryand metal Judaica decorate her comfortable San Fernando Valleyapartment. But appearances can be deceiving.

    The true breadth, depth and danger of her forays into...

  • Jack Skirball Film Screenings

    By Tom Tugend

    August 21, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Twelve years after Jack Skirball's death, at age 89, his legacyappears, at times, omnipresent.

    There is, of course, the thriving Skirball Cultural Center in theSepulveda Pass. And the American Jewish Committee's SkirballInstitute on American Values. And the Skirball...

  • Summer Plays

    July 24, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    A visit to the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum gives new meaning to the escapist concept of getting away from it all -- if only for an evening.

    Its newly renovated 299-seat amphitheater is terraced into the hillside of a rustic ravine along Topanga Canyon Boulevard. For picnickers,...

  • From a Woman’s Perspective

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    July 17, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Left, Susan Merson starring in her play "Tribal Tales,"to be performed July 27. Above, playwright Jenna Zark, whose work "A Body of Water," will be performed this Sunday. In March, the Jewish Women's Theatre Project arrived on the Los Angeles scene with a festival of plays by...
  • Three’s Company

    By Ruth Stroud

    July 17, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    A visit to the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum gives new meaning to the escapist concept of getting away from it all -- if only for an evening.

    Its newly renovated 299-seat amphitheater is terraced into the hillside of a rustic ravine along Topanga Canyon Boulevard. For picnickers,...

  • Keeping in Rhythm

    By Naomi Pfefferman

    June 19, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    The Creative Team: from left; Producer Garth H. Drabinsky, Choreographer Graciela Daniele, Playwright Terrence McNally (above), Composer Stephen Flaherty, Original Novelist E.L. Doctorow, Lyricist Lynn Ahrens and Director Frank Galati. Photo by Michael Cooper E.L. Doctorow was wary...
  • In Defense of Evil

    By Diane Arieff

    May 15, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Wendy Collins (left) plays a legal secretary for Madonna Magee (right), who plays a Jewish attorney defending the free speech rights of a man who denies that the Holocaust took place, in "Denial," an Actors Alley production, at the Storefront Theatre in North Hollywood.


    In 'Denial,'...

  • the Spectator     With Reprise, Marcia Seligson banks on the public’s desire for the return of the

    By Diane Arieff

    May 15, 1997 | 8:00 pm

    Marcia Seligson is the prime mover and shaker behind Reprise, a new theater organization determined to mount local, first-class revival productions of Broadway musicals.

    Marcia Seligson is a self-described "musical theater fanatic" and the prime mover and shaker behind Reprise, a new...

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