Pat Launer Pat Launer

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 »

The Many States of Hershey Felder

 

Fresh from his tour de force performance as Leonard Bernstein in “Maestro,” which went straight to Broadway after its record-smashing performance in San Diego, Hershey Felder is at it again. He had sworn off the composers – with Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Frederick Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Liszt firmly under his belt –… Read More »

Klezmer, Exorcism and Love

 

“It’s my favorite play,” says Todd Salovey of S. Ansky’s 1914 masterwork, “The Dybbuk.” “It captures everything I love about theater. I think it’s unabashedly spiritual, and the logic of the play is spiritual logic. It’s the idea that a promise made between two friends that’s broken can have a devastating effect on their children’s… Read More »

The Sound and Fury of War

 

It seems that war is always with us. Kids stage assaults with guns. Teens play battle-drenched video games. Young adults go through military training and the bloody, real-life war experience. And then, the aftermath: depression, PTSD, and the painful process of integrating back into civilian life. If you survive. This is the trajectory, from age… Read More »

Defining Forgiveness – It’s an Inside Job

 

Something was rotten in the borough of Brooklyn.An upper middle class Jewish man murdered his wife and married her sister. This is not just the stuff of Shakespeare. Due to the uncanny, unnerving narrative parallels, Brenda Adelman calls her family story “My Brooklyn Hamlet.” It reads like fiction, and it certainly was a tragedy. But… Read More »

Theater Life, for Ben Fankhauser, is “Beautiful”

 

It’s been a wild ride for Ben Fankhauser, who’s traveled pretty far in his 27 years. He spent his first five in Switzerland, his father’s native land. His mother was a Jewish psychologist from Detroit, where the couple met. When his parents divorced, Mom took her two sons and relocated to Cleveland, where her sister… Read More »