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January 23, 2004 - Image 39

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-23

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

Lynn Isenberg:
Her Life Uncovered

44

At The Movies:
`The Fog Of War'

48

Break Doesn't Spoil
Pan Am Maccabi

52

The Prod 1011

SUZANNE CHESSLER

Special to the Jewish News

D

ancers surround
Emanuel (Manny)
Azenberg. While his
The dance
musical
family includes a wife and
"Movin' Out"
three daughters who have
kicks off its
chosen dancing as their
national tour
careers, his current produc-
on Billy Joel times
Manny Azenberg produces hit .m ca basedb
at Detroit's
tion projects include a show
and scoops up anApple Awar or aretterice in theater.
Fisher Theatre.
that combines the choreogra-
phy of Twyla Tharp with
music composed by Billy Joel.
Neil played second base. That's how Simon and I met,
University, pays tribute to Sarah Applebaum
Azenberg, as executive producer of the rock hit
and I would conclude that if you can pick up a
Nederlander,
the
late
matriarch
of
the
show-busi-
Movin' Out, soon will visit Detroit to help launch a
ground ball in a baseball game, you can- have a career
ness
family.
national tour and to receive the third annual Apple
in the theater."
The two previous Apple Award winners were
Award for excellence in theater.
Before opening his own production unit with
Neil Simon and Carol Charming.
Movin' Out, which runs Jan. 27-Feb. 15 at
Gene
Wolsk, Azenberg was employed by the late
"The Apple Award means acknowledgement,
Detroit's Fisher Theatre, tells the story of lifelong
legendary producer David Merrick for almost four
and
after
someone's
been
around
for
a
while,
friends experiencing the idealism shared after
years. Over the decades since, he has teamed with
there's a moment when that's simply what's want-
World War II and the unrest associated with the
the Nederlanders and brought many shows to
ed,"
says
Azenberg,
who
will
be
honored
at
a
Vietnam War. It takes form as dancers interpret 26
Michigan.
black-tie
gala
and
performance
Jan.
28
to
benefit
of Billy Joel's songs, including "We Didn't Start
"The Nederlander family is my personal_connec-
the WSU Department of Theatre.
the Fire," "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me" and
don
to Detroit," Azenberg explains. "One of the
"I have taught at Duke University for the past 20

"Uptown Girl."
first
friends I made when I started out in the busi-
years, and I like to cover whatever the kids want to
The characters are taken from the songs, and
ness was Joey Nederlander.
talk
about.
I'll
say
this
is
who
I
am
and
where
I
there is no dialogue in the two acts.
"Joey, Scott Nederlander and Jimmy
come from and ask what they want to hear. We'll
"This is a very innovative show with real stage tal-
Nederlander Jr. have all made trips to Israel with
make
a
list,
and
that's
what
I'll
talk
about."
ent," says Azenberg, 70, whose stage and film pro-
me. For 10 years, I would take people to Israel
Azenberg can recall a career of 69 productions
duction career spans more than half his life. "I think
every June, and Joey came four or five times. That
winning 41 Tony Awards, starting with The Lion
the American theater is screaming for a new form.
was
in connection with making people aware of
in Winter and including the majority of Neil
"Every innovative effort, like Movin' Out or
their
Jewish roots. We met with the Palestinians,
Contact, is a step toward that. To tell a sophisticat- Simon comedies. His introduction to the stage
too, but the trips stopped about three years ago -
came
through
an
uncle
who
was
an
actor,
and
his
ed story in dance is a trick, and that trick is
involvement with producing came after working as when the intense killing started.
achieved with this show."
"My identity is a Jewish identity — unashamed.
Azenberg connected with the musical after being a company manager on Broadway.
My father worked for Chaim Weitzman and was in
"I
like
to
play
baseball
just
for
fun,
and
I
played
contacted separately by both the creative team and
the 1919 post-war Zionist Congress. I wear a ring
with Robert Redford," Azenberg recalls. "When
interested producers from the Nederlander family,
that was given to my father by Weitzman in 1920.
Barefoot-in
Redford was in the Neil Simon comedy
which began its international venue and produc-
Members of my family and I have been working for
in
1962,
he
asked
me
to
play
on
the
com-
the Park
tion network in Detroit about a half century ago.
pany's
softball
team
in
the
Broadway
show
league.
The award process, which arranges for recipients
"I was the shortstop, and Redford was on first base.
to conduct master classes at Wayne State
PRODUCER on page 42

1/23
2004

39

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