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April 09, 2009 - Image 60

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-04-09

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Arts & Entertainment

Some Enchanted Evening

Two of Broadway's greatest stars bring their
critically acclaimed theater concert to the Fisher.

Bill Carroll

Special to the Jewish News

S finger-actor Mandy Patinkin and
Broadway diva Patti LuPone
really know how to light up a
stage. And they'll do it for seven perfor-
mances April 14-19 when An Evening with
Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin comes
to Detroit's Fisher Theatre.
Patinkin, 56 and a Conservative Jew, and
LuPone, 59 and of Italian-Sicilian heritage,
have enjoyed very successful careers that
traverse television, film, concerts and, of
course, Broadway.
They went their separate ways in 1983
after almost four years starring together
in the original Broadway production of
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita, which

produced career-making Tony wins for
LuPone (as lead actress in the title role) and
Patinkin (in the supporting role of Che).
They came together once again in con-
cert in 2002, when a coy promoter con-
cocted a scheme to reunite them on stage,
according to Staci Levine, Evening's execu-
tive producer, who also has been Patinkin's
manager since 1997.
"The promoter had neither of them on
board, but told each that the other already
had agreed," she said. "That cinched the
deal, starting with concerts in Texas and
"Of course, Mandy and Patti really had
wanted to work together for a long time.
But Mandy refused to do the concerts
unless he could create an actual show, not
just have each sing separately on stage

while the other is in the wings:'
The two of them are on stage together
for 95 percent of Evening, through some
of the greatest material ever written for
the theater, both sung and spoken, as
they tell the story of two people, from
Mandy Patinkin
their first encounter onward.
The production coming to the Fisher
is basically unchanged from last year's
a dramatic context. The show also features
tour of several cities, including Palm
choreography by Tony Award winner Ann
Desert, Calif., where this writer saw it at
Reinking. Paul Ford, Patinkin's longtime
the McCallum Theatre for the Performing
pianist, is musical director.
Arts. The show is a delightful two-hour-
Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim
10-minute musical chunk of Broadway
are the show's principal composers.
theater at its best.
Lupone delivers a rapid-fire delivery of
LuPone's strong Broadway voice and
Company's "Getting Married Today" after
Patinkin's distinctively sweet tenor con-
Patinkin "proposes" with South Pacific's
coct a perfect match. No melody is sung
"Some Enchanted Evening." One of the
for its own sake; everything seems to have highlights is a medley from Andrew Lloyd


Yeshivah vet aims to make King David must-see TV.

Tom Tugend

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Los Angeles


ichael Green was walking
down a street in Jerusalem in
late 2006 when the concept of
the new television series Kings came into
"The idea had been roiling my brain for
a while," he said.
Green sat down to write the pilot for
Kings while working as writer and co-
executive producer for Heroes.
Kings, which launched Sunday, March
15, on NBC with a two-hour premiere,
transports the biblical drama of young
David, Goliath, King Saul and the prophet
Samuel and transports it to a contempo-
rary city that looks a lot like a gleaming
New York after a thorough scrubbing.
Don't look for a 21st-century swords-
and-sandals epic. The political intrigue
and corporate power plays have a distinct-
ly Washingtonian ring, and part of the fun
is looking for parallels to the last year of
President George W. Bush's administra-
tion, the Cold War, Vietnam, Iraq, Middle
East conflicts and even the kidnapping of
Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Green, 36, who attended a yeshivah in
New York and whose mother is Israeli, is a


April 9 • 2009

bit coy about drawing direct biblical-con-
temporary comparisons.
"It's not for me to say what the parallels
are he said. "That's up to each viewer:'
However, the Jewish or Christian viewer
who stayed awake in religious school
should have no trouble identifying the TV
protagonists with their biblical counter-
We meet King Silas Benjamin (King
Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, first king
of Israel), David Shepherd (David, the
shepherd), the king's son Jack (Jonathan),
the king's daughter Michelle (Michal) and
the Rev. Ephraim Samuels (the Prophet
Actors in the two key roles are Ian
McShane (Heroes) as the king and
Australian actor Chris Egan as David.
In the premiere episode, we found the
king, in an expensive power suit, ruling
over the prosperous Kingdom of Gilboa
and ensconced with his queen in a mansion
in the capital of Shiloh. He is also at war
with neighboring Gath and when his son is
kidnapped during a military skirmish, it is
David, a fellow soldier, who frees Jack and
earns the gratitude of the king.
To free the hostage, David has to do bat-
tle with Goliath — who appears in tank
form. At home, David becomes an instant
media favorite.
Peace is made but soon broken, followed

by new negotiations
with prickly Gath
officers, who look sus-
piciously like Russian
generals, with square
faces and jackets
full of medals. On a
Christopher Egan as David Shepherd in NBC's Kings
softer touch, David and
Michelle (the beautiful
Allison Miller) begin to fall in love.
came to the United States after finishing
Green, as creator and executive pro-
her army service, met Green's father and
ducer of Kings, makes it even tougher to
"has visited ever since," Green said, add-
define the precise genre of the series by
ing, "Most of my extended family lives in
introducing touches of sci-fi and fantasy.
For instance, the emblem of Gilboa is the
He is optimistic that Kings will be seen
orange monarch butterfly; and when a
eventually on Israeli and British television,
successor to the king is anointed, a swarm
which usually happens after the second or
of butterflies form a crown around the
third season of a series in the United States.
chosen one's head.
Green reinforced his boyhood yeshivah
The show's crew shot a season's worth
studies with a double major in human
of 14 episodes — the premiere contained
biology and religious studies at Stanford
two — in and around New York, studios in University. After college, his interest
Brooklyn's Greenpoint and in a mansion
turned to story writing rather than reli-
on Long Island. With a large cast, opulent
gion or biology.
palace scenes and shooting in New York,
"I once created the character of a doctor
it's an expensive production.
in one of my shows:' he said, "but never
Green wouldn't provide an exact budget
became one myself — to the disappoint-
figure, but he put the cost of an average
ment of my parents."
primetime TV episode between $2 million
and $4.5 million, with Kings definitely on
the high end.
Kings airs 8 p.m. Sundays on NBC.
Green, a native New Yorker, has close
To view previous episodes, go to
ties to Israel. His Tel Aviv-born mother

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