Arts & Entertainment
Cain't Say No
In the decade preceding
the March 31, 1942, debut
of the musical Oklahoma!,
the first collaboration
between Richard Rodgers
(music) and Oscar
Hammerstein II (book
and lyrics), not a single
American musical had run for more than
500 performances. But Oklahoma! took
Broadway by storm with an unprecedent-
Jewish cast members in the
Farmington Players production of
Oklahoma! include Barry Cutler of
Ferndale as Ali Hakim, Jan Jacobs of
Farmington Hills as Florence and Ari
Kirsch of West Bloomfield as Slim.
ed 2,248 shows.
Based on Lynn
Riggs' stage play
Green Grow the
Lilacs, the musical
built on the earlier
Jerome Kern on
Show Boat. Rather than a flimsy frame-
work for a series of tunes, the "book
musical" incorporated songs and dances
that were fully integrated into a well
thought-out story with dramatic goals.
Fully developed characters with evolving
emotions were now able to evoke genuine
emotions from the audience — in addi-
tion to laughter. Also, Oklahoma!'s recur-
ring musical motifs connected the music
and story more closely than any musical
Of course, the songs stand on their own
as well. The musical, recipient of a special
Pulitzer Prize, spawned hit songs like
"People Will Say We're in Love;' "Oh, What
a Beautiful Mornin'," and "Surrey with the
Fringe on Top."
Farmington Players presents Oklahoma!
at the Barn theater 8 p.m. Thursdays-
Saturdays, May 31-June 2 and June 7-9.
There also will be matinee performances
2 p.m. Sunday, June 3, and 2 p.m. Saturday,
June 9. The Barn is located at 32332 W. 12
Mile, in Farmington Hills.
Tickets are $16-18; student and group
discounts available. Call (248) 553-2955 or
go to www.farmingtonplayers.org .
Talented Jewish comedian Elon Gold has
worn several hats during his career. In
addition to numerous standup appear-
ances, he co-wrote,
starred in the Sony
Good As Gold;
starred in the NBC
Farina and Jean
Smart; and most
recently, starred in the Fox series Stacked
alongside Pamela Anderson, Christopher
Lloyd and Marissa Jaret Winokur.
Currently, he is working on the Touchstone
pilot Wifeless, which he sold as a spec, and
is developing Goldmine, a standup-hidden
camera hybrid for VH 1.
Growing up in the Bronx, Gold attended
a Jewish day school and a high school
yeshivah. He wears his Judaism proudly on
his sleeve — talking in interviews about
keeping kosher and observing Shabbat.
With his brothers Ari (now a successful
R&B singer-songwriter) and Steven (now
a composer of everything from advertis-
ing jingles to TV themes songs), he was
awarded top prize at the First Annual
Jewish Children's Song Festival.
Elon Gold makes his first Detroit
appearance Tuesday, June 12, at Mark
Ridley's Comedy Castle, 269 E. Fourth St.
in Royal Oak. His show is a benefit for
Aish HaTorah Detroit.
The comedian became involved with
Aish when his brothers went to Israel on a
life-changing Aish trip in the summer of
"This benefit is vital to our organiza-
tion's ability to continue providing Jewish
outreach programs in the Detroit corn-
munity:' says Rabbi Simcha Tolwin, execu-
tive director of Detroit's Aish HaTorah, an
international Jewish outreach organiza-
tion with branches in every major North
Special to the Jewish News
Sacha Baron Cohen and Judd
Apatow are leading a "new Jew
wave" in which Jews, once again,
take the lead in film comedy.
Cohen's film Borat
took the mildly
tary form and recast
it as outrageous
social satire. Apatow
wrote and directed
buster comedy hit
The 40 Year Old Virgin.
In Virgin, Apatow managed the
very difficult trick of combining
"frat-boy humor" with well-written
adult lead characters whose roman-
tic life was genuinely touching. He
may well become a major player
if his new film, Knocked Up, which
walks the same thematic tightrope
as Virgin, is a box office knockout. It
opens Friday, June 1.
In the film, Seth Rogen stars as a
Los Angeles slacker who is an "ille-
gal Canadian Jewish immigrant."
May 31 2007
Not great looking himself, he meets
a very pretty woman, Katherine
Heigl, Ozzie on Grey's Anatomy) at
a bar, and they have a one-night
stand that results in her getting
"knocked up," or pregnant. The film
then concerns what relationship,
if any, this improbable couple will
Paul Rudd plays Heigl's brother-
in-law, while Jonah Hill, Jay
Baruchel and Jason Segal play
Rogen's Jewish slacker buddies.
"Seth is a Jewish guy and all his
friends are Jewish, at least the
ones I cast, so I thought it'd be
funny that they talk about [being
Jewish in the movie] because it's
truthful to their [real] experience,"
Kudos to Apatow for allowing a
group of funny Jewish actors to
play funny Jewish guys. That's rare
in a mainstream film.
Jerry Seinfeld made a stir at the
recent Cannes Film Festival when
he got into a bee costume and pro-
pelled himself down a wire strung
from the top of a hotel to a pier
near the beach.
Jerry's wife, Jessica Sklar, left
their three kids home in New York
and jetted to France
for the day to see
her husband "fly."
She joked after the
stunt, "If you lived
in my house, [you'd
see] it is just part of
Jerry Seinfeld our normal life."
Seinfeld was in
Cannes to create an early "buzz"
for his animated comedy flick, Bee
Movie, which will be released in
November. As Jerry tells it, the
whole project came about by acci-
He asked Steven Spielberg to
direct a commercial. Spielberg
declined but invited Jerry to dinner,
which, says Jerry, "is like a second
bar mitzvah for a Jewish kid from
Long Island." During dinner, Jerry
made a joke about making a "B"
movie about bees. Spielberg took
Jerry seriously, and the ball started
This year, Cannes wasn't much
fun for Woody Allen. Whatever
harsh things American critics have
written about most of his recent
films, Allen could always count on a
better European response. However,
the Cannes film board deemed
his upcoming movie, Cassandra's
Dream, not even worthy of showing
in the out-of-competition part of
Edward Zwick, an intelligent film
Blood Diamond, The
Siege and Glory,
has signed the new
James Bond, Daniel
Craig, to star in
his upcoming film
Defiance, based on a
true story about four Jewish broth-
ers in Nazi-occupied Poland who
fight with Soviet partisans. Filming
begins in September.
The acclaimed 2004 documen-
tary, The Ritchie Boys, will air on
the Military Channel (found on most
cable systems) 8 p.m. Thursday,
June 7. During World War 11, a group
of young German refugees, mostly
Jewish, underwent special training