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May 16, 2003 - Image 122

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-05-16

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Arts st Entertainment

New York Live!

The spring/summer season brings a host of new
comedies and musicals to the capital of live theater.

ALICE SCHWEIGER

Special to the Jewish News

S

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unny, laugh-filled musicals
and comedies are what the-
atergoers are looking for this
spring.
"Because of the war in Iraq, the econ-
omy and the terrorist alert, people who
come to the theater in New York want
to see something upbeat," says Jed
Bernstein, president of the League of
American Theaters and Producers. "Last
year we had more plays than musicals,
but this year we have more musicals,
and many of the shows are lighter.
"These are stressful times and the
general pubic is looking for an escape.
Those people who want to see a
drama on stage are looking for an
opportunity to experience emotion in
a communal setting. Theater provides
that. It's different from a movie — in
the theater you interact with live
actors and musicians."
Ticket sales have been down some-
what from last year, Bernstein said.
"Other than the economy, it can be
attributed to the recent musicians
strike, the cold winter and the Orange
Alert [on terrorism] for New York
City," he said. "But now that the war
[has wound down] and the weather is
getting warmer, ticket sales are starting
to pick up."
While Hairspray is considered by
some to be the hottest show on
Broadway and a tough ticket to get,
there are many other shows on the
New York stage worth seeing. Here is
a sampling of recently opened and
upcoming shows with a Jewish con-
nection—Jewish actor, songwriter,
playwright, director or theme:

24-hour notice please on
specialty items

(some exceptions)

6879 Orchard Lake Rd.
in the Boardwalk Plaza

248-626-9110

604270

A Year With Frog and Toad is a new
musical based on the award-winning
books by Arnold Lobel.
In the show, Frog and Toad experi-
ence a series of adventures while trav-
eling through the different seasons,
joined by other animal companions
along the way.
Lobel, who was Jewish, died in 1987
at age 54. His wife was a Holocaust
survivor who hid in Poland during
World War II and spent a few months

in a concentration camp before being
liberated.
The author and illustrator of more
than 100 children's books, including
Tale of Meshka the Kvetch, Lobel was
the recipient of the Caldecott Medal
and Newbery Honor. His daughter,
Adrianne Lobel, developed the show
and designed the set.
Year stars Mark Linn-Baker, whose
Broadway credits include Neil Simon's
Laughter on the 23rd Floor, and Jay
Goede, who appeared in Angels in
America and The Play's the Thing.

At the Cort Theater, 138 West 48th
St., (212) 239-6200.

Gypsy is the long-awaited revival of
the award-winning musical, with
music and lyrics by Jule Styne and
Stephen Sondheim and book by
Arthur Laurents.
The revival is directed by Britain's
Sam Mendes, of American Beauty and
Road to Perdition fame. Starring
Bernadette Peters as Mama Rose and
set during the vaudeville era, it's the
story of Gypsy Rose Lee and her quin-
tessential stage mother who is deter-
mined to develop the careers of her
daughters, June and Louise. Rose
doesn't give up — even when their act
winds up in a burlesque house, June
deserts. the act and Louise (the newly
crowned Gypsy Rose Lee) becomes a
stripper.
Despite rumors to the contrary,
Gypsy Rose Lee was not Jewish, but
she did give birth to a child fathered
by Jewish director Otto Preminger.

At the Shubert Theatre, 225 West
44th St., (212) 239-6200.

Life (x) 3 was penned by playwright
Yasmina Reza, who won a Tony Award
for her play Art.
Reza was born and raised in France.
Her father is an Iranian Jew and her
mother is a Polish Jew.
The play stars Jewish actor Brent
Spiner, who is best known for his por-
trayal of Data on Star Trek: The Next
Generation, Helen Hunt and John
Turturro.
In the play, Henry (Turturro) and
Sonia (Hunt) receive an unexpected
knock at the door while they are put-
ting their son to sleep. Dinner guests
have arrived a day ahead of schedule. AS

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