Pat Launer Pat Launer

The Family that Plays Together Stays Together


L’dor v’dor: Judaism’s major tenet of passing traditions down from one generation to another. For the Wingard family, Jewish ritual is instilled and inbred. But so is a love – and talent – for music. It all started in Poland, where great-grandpa played Russian and Hebrew songs on the accordion. According to his daughter, 87… Read More »

Danny Burstein Steps Into Tevye’s Shoes Again


If you’re going to feature songs from “Fiddler on the Roof,” why not go for the gold and get the guy who wowed Broadway audiences last year in his Tony-nominated performance as Tevye? For a very quick run this Bayside Summer Nights series, that’s exactly what the Symphony did. They brought in Danny Burstein. (He… Read More »

Stage Anarchy and Silent Hilarity


Their real names were Julius, Adolph, Leonard, Herbert and Milton. But you probably know them as Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo. Minnie’s Boys. Or, The Marx Brothers. Minnie Marx was the ultimate Stage Mother (there was even a not-so-successful 1970 Broadway musical about her and her offspring, called “Minnie’s Boys”). Born in Germany, she… Read More »

Hershey Felder and the Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival’s Legacy of New Work


After so many of his heralded performances have been staged in San Diego, you probably know a bit about Hershey Felder. You may have seen some of his unique, one-man musical shows: about George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, as well as other (non-Jewish) composers: Chopin, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky (his most recent addition to his “Composer… Read More »

Becoming Omri Schein


Omri Schein is a man of the world and a man of the theater. He grew up in the small Swiss town of Schaffhausen; his mother is from Switzerland, his father from Poland (family legend says his dad’s mother’s father was a musician in Kaiser-Wilhelm’s orchestra). According to his very funny bio: “In the land… Read More »

Child Actors Learn About Bigotry in a Big Way


What’s the best way to teach young people about bigotry, intolerance and racism? According to J*Company artistic director Joey Landwehr, musical theater does the trick. As he approached the 25th anniversary of the youth theater company in residence at the Lawrence Family JCC in La Jolla, Landwehr thought that “Ragtime, School Edition” would be a… Read More »

The Actors’ Play


The current production at New Village Arts is all about legacy. And family. “Last season,” says NVA artistic director Kristianne Kurner, “we were exploring the American experience, to help us see where we are now in light of where we’ve been. And I came across ‘Awake and Sing,’ by Clifford Odets, which was perfect. “It’s… Read More »

The Sum and Its Parts


Lisa Kron is a trailblazer. The acclaimed actor/playwright has written and performed deeply personal, autobiographical monologues that are unique in structure and immersive for the audience. Most famously, she wrote the book and lyrics to a musical based on the best-selling graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, “Fun-Home,” which won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical… Read More »

The Jewish Millennial Dilemma, on Stage at Cygnet


Admit it. Somewhere along the line, whether you’re secular or observant, the back of your neurotic brain has taunted you by saying, “You’re a bad Jew.” The play called “Bad Jews,” by Joshua Harmon, has clearly struck a chord…and not only in the Jewish community. It’s been a big success in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington… Read More »

The Universal Accessibility of an Incredibly Jewish Play


Sarah Goldman is a Nice Jewish Girl whose parents just want her to marry a Nice Jewish Boy. A doctor wouldn’t hurt. There’s only one problem. Sarah’s been having a secret relationship (well, secret from her family, anyway), with a guy with the unlikely name of Chris Kringle. Needless to say, he isn’t Jewish. But… Read More »