Shelley Berman, the first stand-up comedian to appear at Carnegie Hall and the first to win a Grammy for best comedy album, will star in the Celebrity Staged Play Reading of “Keep the Two Dollars,” by Bill Barnett. The comedy’s plot involves an expensive bracelet, a mystery man, a suspected love affair, an insurance company and a British bride. Produced and directed by Alexandra More. A Q-and-A with the playwright will follow the performance.
Wendy Graf was at the women's group at her synagogue when she discovered that a number of her colleagues were the children of Holocaust survivors. She became fascinated with the repercussions of the tragedy on their lives, but put aside the subject as she wrote "Lessons," a play about a widower who decides to have a bar mitzvah. More recently, a person close to her developed Alzheimer's disease. The synchronicity of memory loss with so-called "second-generation" syndrome provided the raw material for Graf's new play, "Leipzig," the latest offering of the West Coast Jewish Theater, now playing at the Marilyn Monroe Theatre at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.
Wendy Graf sat in a synagogue several years ago listening to a rabbi's sermon. "She was talking about experiencing a traumatic event and how her faith had been sorely tested," Graf recalled. "That really got me thinking."
Wendy Graf's new comedy "The Book of Esther" focuses on a central character named Mindy, who, like Queen Esther, bravely declares her Jewishness in the face of opposition. Unlike Esther, Mindy doesn't save the Jewish people, but confronts her ardently secular family and friends when she discovers her religion.