arts & entertainment
Finding Joy After Tragedy
My Brooklyn Hamlet is a one-woman show about family,
murder, love, betrayal and the power of forgiveness.
Brenda Adelman today: Done with the
renda Adelman has spent a huge
part of her life learning to cope
with unusual tragedy.
Her father killed her mother, served
some time in prison and disappeared with
his second wife, his late wife's sister.
That's not the whole story. A theater
piece presents the details.
Adelman wrote and performs the piece,
My Brooklyn Hamlet, March 3-4 at the
Berman Center for the Performing Arts in
West Bloomfield, adjacent to the Jewish
The production, part of the season
arranged by Jewish Ensemble Theatre,
takes its title from the Shakespeare play and
character confronting a similar tragedy.
Brooklyn is where the real killing took
place, recently recalled by Adelman during
a phone conversation with her from her
"I want to convey that whatever anyone
is going through, there's a way beyond the
pain and suffering," explains the 40ish
writer-actress, who holds a master's
degree iri spiritual psychology. "One of the
ways is through forgiveness.
"I feel I've forgiven my dad completely,
but I haven't forgiven my aunt completely
although my intention is to forgive her. I
know that when I think about her, even
though I'm not pained when I think about
her, I'm not in a place of total freedom."
Adelman, whose mom died in 1995 and
whose dad died in 2004, had to wait a long
time before she could talk about her expe-
riences, which alienated her half brother
for a time. He was the son of her mother
and her mother's first husband.
"I was hiding and in shame," she says.
"Whenever anyone would ask about my
parents, I would say that my mother died
in an accident. That usually would get
people not to ask me any other questions.
"One day, someone asked if it was a car
accident, and I ran into another room. I
couldn't talk about it.
"The way it came out publicly was when
I was taking an acting class. There was a
personal storytelling exercise about being
real, and I felt I had inner guidance to talk
about my story."
After she told about her background,
people in the class of some 100 students
started sharing their own tragedies,
Special to the Jewish News
lor Teens Rock!
On Feb. 4, Nickelodeon premiered a
(1) new series, How to Rock, aimed at the
teen audience. The show's star char-
acter is Kacey Simon (Cymphonique
Miller), a once-popular girl who goes
an awkward stage (braces,
etc.), which causes the popular crowd
to drop her. She decides to become
the lead singer of a pop/hip-hop band.
• The band includes
a guitarist named
Zander, a cool, hand-
some guy (played by
sings and writes
songs and has some
March 1 . 2012
ence. In 2010, he was plucked from
obscurity to pose with Madonna in a
big ad campaign for Dolce & Gabbana,
the Italian fashion house. In a public-
ity video recently posted on YouTube,
Schneider said he is Jewish and had a
From 2005 through mid-2011, actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, 37, had an on-
and-off-again romantic relationship
with top Israeli model and Sports
Illustrated cover girl
Bar Refaeli, 26. (It
looks like they are
now completely over.)
A few months ago,
a friend mentioned
that DiCaprio would
probably go out and
find another blonde
Jewish model, and he
whether the suicide of a family member
or the cheating of a loved one. A direc-
tor observing that day asked if Adelman
could develop her narrative into a longer
"I started working with her and moved
into a small theater in Los Angeles,"
Adelman recalls. "That's how it became a
Adelman, who plays 12 characters,
starts out with the humor her family had
shown early in her life. The tragedy and its
aftermath become the second part of the
Before working on My Brooklyn Hamlet,
Adelman pursued different stage and film
"I wanted to act since I was a little girl
and studied that in my early 20s, after
college," says Adelman, who attended edu-
cational programs at the London Academy
of Music and Dramatic Art, Riverside
Shakespeare Company in New York and
Beverly Hills Playhouse.
"I've worked in serious theater and
independent films and did a bit of stand-
up. My brother had written and directed
a play in Vienna, where he asked me to
be stage manager. A part opened in the
play, and I was able to take it. In 2007, he
invited me to do this show at his theater."
The invitation to work in Michigan
came after David Magidson, JET artistic
director, saw her work in Vienna.
Adelman, who moved from New York to
California soon after her mother died, also
has lived in Arizona, where she became
did: Erin Heatherton,
22, a top Victoria's
Secret model for
the last two years.
Heatherton was born
Erin Bubley and grew
up in Skokie, Ill.,
where she attended
a Solomon Schechter
day school for her primary education.
Sure enough, in late December,
photos of the pair in each other's
company showed up in tabloids. In
late January, pics of their Mexican
vacation together were all over the
Internet. Last week, however, there
was a report that DiCaprio was a bad
boy on an Australian trip, and Erin/
Leo may be a short-lived thing.
Hangover For Teens
The comedy Project X opens on
Friday, March 2, produced by Todd
involved with a domestic violence com-
Although raised with very little
Judaism, Adelman did find some comfort
in knowing her mother had died between
the High Holy Days. She felt the ritual
made it feel appropriate to grieve.
Ironically, she has had good experienc-
es on anniversaries of her mother's death.
She got into her first theater company
in Los Angeles a year to the day of the
death, and a foster child moved in during
an anniversary week of the death.
Adelman particularly wants to share
her recent experiences with a happier
side of life. She is glad to be with her
partner of 10 years and pleased with
their decision to adopt their foster child.
"I'm fully through with the trauma,"
says Adelman, who relaxes by hiking with
her dog and meditating. "I'm grateful
that what I experienced now allows me to
inspire people going through their own
JET presents My Brooklyn Hamlet,
by and featuring Brenda Adelman, at
8 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday,
March 3-4, at the Berman Center
for the Performing Arts in West
Bloomfield, adjacent to the Jewish
Community Center. $36-$43, with
discounts for seniors and students.
(248) 788-2900; www.jettheatre.
Phillips, 41, the director of the
The plot: Three teens decide to
throw and video-document a big
party. But as more
and more people
arrive, things get
completely out of
Three young new-
comers play the
teens: Oliver Cooper,
22, Jonathan Daniel
Brown, 22, and
Cooper, who grew
up in Toledo, did
standup and some
comedy videos (Funny
or Die) in Los Angeles
before auditioning for
Project X, his first
movie part. Li