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January 26, 1990 - Image 66

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-01-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTERTAINMENT

L WINKLER S

ctt

Mission Possible

Continued from preceding page

r 2fERI N

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 26, 1990

I

haven't decided whether we're
touring yet.' What it says is
that there's a hunger for what
they expect we will do."
During the summer of
1989, the theater's "mission"
was also solidified.
"We are interested in
material by Jewish
playwrights or plays on
Jewish themes or plays of in-
terest to Jewish audiences,"
Orbach says. "And to be a
platform for new voices."
In addition to the three
mainstage productions this
first season, JET will perform
staged readings of new plays
(a committee has gone
through about 70 new plays
so far). The hope is that a
staged reading will ultimate-
ly result in a full mainstage
production.
Orbach says all works will
be performed in English, and
the target audience (and the
casting policy) is not ex-
clusively Jewish. The JET
brochure states that the point
is to "reach out to Jewish and
non-Jewish audiences alike in
order to broaden and enrich
everyone's understanding of
Jewish culture."
This season, The Man in the
Glass Booth is among three
plays, including a comedy by
Birmingham playwright Kit-
ty Dubin, The Last Resort,
directed by Mary Bremer,
March 14 through April 1;
and William Hanley's drama
Slow Dance on the Killing
Ground, directed by Orbach,
June 13 through July 1.
Among organizations pro-
viding seed money for the
theater's first season are the
Michigan Council for the
Arts, Oakland County
Cultural Council and the
DeRoy Cultural Arts Fund of
the United Jewish Charities.
Mary Lou Zieve, the
theater's vice president, says
money for the projected
$700,000 three-year oper-
ating budget will be
sought from private and cor-
porate donors, as well as
government arts agencies.
Revenue from subscriptions
and single ticket sales will
also be important, she says.
Although Orbach is
ultimately the person who
recommends plays for each
season and hires directors
and designers, she is in cons-
tant collaboration with the
board of directors, a large
body of volunteers lead by an
executive committee that is
headed by president James
August.
"It's not like Evy (Orbach)
creates a season and brings it
back and we all have to
discuss it," Frank says. "We
all work close together. It's a
tremendous, interwoven, com-
plicated system of checks and

JET members rehearse for 'Glass Booth'

balances. (The board) is com-
prised of strong personalities
and distinct opinions and no
one's afraid to register those."
The theater community in
Detroit hasn't seen this kind
of concentrated artistic vision
and built-in community sup-
port for a new professional
theater since, perhaps, the
start of Meadow Brook
Theatre, near Rochester, in
1965.

Detroit-area theters such as
the Attic Theatre in Detroit
and the Actors Alliance
Theatre Company in
Southfield both had their
origins staging productions
which had only the barest
scenic design, small casts,
little financial support and
only minimal affiliation with
Actors Equity, the profes-
sional actors' union. Actors
Alliance no longer produces

A Glance
At The Season

The Jewish Ensemble
Theatre's first season
begins and ends with
lacerating dramas
originally presented on
Broadway. In between is a
comedy by Birmingham
playwright Kitty Dubin.
Here's a look:
The Man in the Glass
Booth, by late actor
playwright Robert Shaw,
concerns a German-born
Jewish millionaire living
in New York who poses as
a ferocious Nazi war
criminal. His sacrificial act
is an effort to allow Jews to
channel their anger
toward a tangible villain
Runs Feb. 7-25 following
previews Jan. 31 through
Feb. 4.
Kitty Dubin's comedy
The Last Resort had its
world premiere last spring
in Austin, 'Texas. The "last
resort" is a small
Michigan vacation spot
that a divorced mother and
her son escape to one sum-
mer. Burdened with con-
cerns about her ex-
husband, the heroine of
Dubin's play encounters
odd characters and a possi-
ble future on her edgy
holiday. Runs March 14
through April 1 following
previews March 7-11.

Slow Dance on the Kill-
ing Ground first opened on
Broadway in 1964 and was
later revived off-Broadway
in the 1969-70 season.
William Hanley's drama is
a character study in
triplicate: A German im-
migrant, a black youth and
a homely woman are all
troubled souls who seek
refuge in a Brooklyn shop.
Runs June 13 through Ju-
ly .1 following previews
June 6-10.
—K.J.



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