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Arts & Culture

Theater Talk: Jewish Repertory Theater has big plans says Saul Elkin

Jewish Repertory Theatre

Tonight is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and also "Curtain Up!" the start of the New Year of  theater in WNY. So we thought we'd "Better call Saul" and speak with Saul Elkin, Artistic Director and co-founder of the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Western New York, about the five plays scheduled for this "virtual" 20-21 season. Saul is excited about the opportunities to collaborate with the playwrights, one of which, Canadian Mark Leiren-Young, would most likely not be able to attend his own show, BAR MITZVAH BOY, starring Peter Palmisano, which opens the season and runs November 5-25, 2020.

Those interested are invited to visit the JewishRepertoryTheatre.com website where Saul adds: “Like everyone in the performing arts community, we want to see people in our theatre soon. In the meantime, we hope our audiences will join us online as we offer professional video productions of the type of plays you have come to expect from our theatre." The first three of the five plays offered are brand new!

BAR MITZVAH BOY by Mark Leiren-Young runs November 5 - 25, 2020. "A non-observant Jewish grandfather/successful divorce attorney decides he needs to have a Bar Mitzvah ASAP and finds his faith during study with a Rabbi who seems to be losing hers. A heartfelt comedy/drama that explores faith, religion, and what it means to be part of a community." This will star Peter Palmisano.

HOLIDAY SHORTS by Hank Kimmel runs December 10 - 23, 2020.

"In a new series of hilarious Woody-Allen-esque short plays, Atlanta playwright Hank Kimmel delights with a new set of offbeat, comic 10-minute plays featuring themes of the holiday season."

EXQUISITE POTENTIAL runs January 7 - 27, 2021. "All parents think their children are brilliant. Alan Zuckerman just happens to think his 3-year-old son, David, is the Messiah. Thirty years ago, Alan and his wife, Laura, visited their rabbi to verify David’s possible divine nature. Thirty years later, everyone older and wiser, it appears that dad might have been onto something."

AN UNEXPECTED LIFE by Alice Eve Cohen runs february 4 - 24, 2021. "In a newly revised version of WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW, Alice Eve Cohen weaves hope, humor and an entertaining cast of characters into her captivating memoir of a high risk, unanticipated pregnancy. Once again, this one-woman show stars Josie DiVincenzo

BEAU JEST by James Sherman runs March 11 - 31, 2021. "What's a nice Jewish girl to do when her parents expect her to marry a nice Jewish doctor even though she’s already in love with another man? Hiring an actor to play her imaginary beau in front of the family seemed like a good idea until the charade is a little too successful and the “hired” boyfriend begins to capture her heart." An audience favorite and classic of the Jewish theater scene.

And remember, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana begins at sundown, tonight, Friday, September 18. Light the Shabbat/Holiday Candles at 7:01 p.m and tomorrow, light the holiday candles at 7:59 p.m. (from an existing flame). The holiday ends on Sunday at 7:58 p.m.

Tonight is also the "New Year" for theater in Western New York and the celebration is "Curtain Up!" Per the website:

The Theatre Alliance of Buffalo (TAB) and Theatre District Association of WNY (TDA) are collaborating to present Virtual Curtain Up! 2020 activities. Because of COVID-19 and government regulations, the 39th Annual Curtain Up! activities that were scheduled to occur on Friday, September 11th have been reimagined for this year.

In lieu of the Curtain Up! dinner, live performances, and after-party on Main Street in the Theatre District (keep September 10th, 2021 open for their return!), The Virtual Curtain Up! 2020 will take place online on Friday, September 18th at 8pm.

The Virtual Curtain Up! 2020 will be a one-hour online presentation on YouTube with the cooperation of 16+ WNY theatres, many of whom are members of TAB and/or the TDA.  Interspersed with performances from some of WNY’s foremost theatre artists, each theatre company will take a few minutes to update our community about their plans for the upcoming season or to simply show you what’s new and exciting at their respective performance spaces.

A suggested minimum $10 donation (with the option to donate more!) will be the “admission” price with all proceeds to be divided among the participating theatres.  

To attend, patrons should visit  http://www.theatreallianceofbuffalo.com/ and click on the "Donate" button on the bottom of the page.  

A few hours before the event on Friday, September 18th, a link will be sent to all registered patrons that they can simply click to watch our livestream event!

Live theatre is an integral part of the history and culture of Buffalo and Western New York, and especially in these unusual and trying times, the support and the patronage of the public is essential for its continued success and growth.

Below is a list of participating WNY Theatres - 

Alleyway Theatre

Brazen Faced Varlets

Buffalo United Artists     

Irish Classical Theatre Company

Jewish Repertory Theatre     

Kavinoky Theatre     

Lancaster Opera House     

MusicalFare Theatre

New Phoenix Theatre on the Park     

O'Connell & Company     

Paul Robeson Theatre at the African American Cultural Center

Road Less Traveled Productions

Second Generation Theatre Co.      

Shea's Performing Arts Center (Shea's 710, Shea's Buffalo and Shea's Smith)

Theatre of Youth      

Torn Space Theater

Listen for Theater Talk, Friday morning at 6:45 and 8:45 during Morning Edition.
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