J*Company Youth Theatre's 20th Anniversary Season Honors Barbra Streisand
The award-winning J*Company Youth Theatre, a program of the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS, has announced the musical theatre line up for its 20th Anniversary Season.
For the 2012-2013 Season, J*Company presents productions of FUNNY GIRL, a role that won Streisand her first Oscar for her portrayal of Fanny Brice; YENTL, based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s tale of a young woman desperate to study the Torah; GYPSY, soon to be revived in a film featuring Ms. Streisand herself; and HELLO, DOLLY!, the story of a modern matchmaker, Dolly Levi, who merrily arranges all sorts of things. All productions take place at the David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre.
All four shows pay tribute to "the brilliance that is Babs," said J*Company Artistic Director, Joey Landwehr, who has been planning this season since he took the post seven years ago. "She’s basically the patron saint of musical theater to many of us. Even though we are an inclusive theatre company for all youth; her Jewishness and the Jewish themes in each production make it a natural fit for our company of young performers. I’m excited to introduce this huge talent (acting, singing, directing) to the next generation of young theatre makers," he added.
Landwehr is not the only one excited. The Streisand Foundation sent the following note in reference to this first-ever youth theatre tribute. "Thank you for honoring Ms. Streisand by paying tribute to her in your 20th Anniversary Season. It’s quite an accomplishment and we wish you continued success with your valuable work."
In searching for the perfect "Barbra," Landwehr says he is looking for someone who can command an entire musical. "I’m looking for a bold stage presence more than a powerhouse voice, but of course, they’ll need to be able to really sell a driving power ballad...a signature of each show!" Not be overlooked, Landwehr noted there are outstanding male roles to be cast including such signature roles as entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arenstein (Funny Girl), Horace Vandergelder and the singing and dancing Barnaby and Cornelius (Hello, Dolly!) and of course the noted Mandy Patinkin role from Yentl.
Performance dates: October 20-October 28, 2012
Factoid: Streisand originated the stage role in 1964 and in 1968 and was the one and only choice to recreate the role for the film, for which she won an Academy Award. Who doesn’t remember the classic, “Hello Gorgeous?”
"Hello, gorgeous!" was Streisand's first comment to the Oscar statuette which she won for her performance as the legendary comedienne and entertainer Fanny Brice (1891–1951). This is also her first line in the musical. A gawky New Yawker, Brice, fast-talks her way into show business, certain that she's destined to be "the greatest star." Hired as a "dramatic" singer by impresario Flo Ziegfeld, Brice defies orders to play it straight, turning a "beautiful bride" tableau into a laugh riot. The stratagem turns Brice into an overnight star and the toast of Broadway. But all is not roses for Brice, especially in her turbulent private life as the wife of big-time gambler Nicky Arnstein. Nicky at first finds it amusing to be referred to as "Mr. Brice," but he begins to resent his wife's fame and fortune. Enjoy the Tony award-winning Barbra classics like People, The Music That Makes Me Dance and Don’t Rain On My Parade in this rarely produced gem.
Performance dates: December 8-16, 2012
Factoid: Streisand was the first female director to win a Golden Globe for this 1983 film in which she starred with Mandy Patinkin and Amy Irving.
In a time when the world of study belonged only to men, there lived a girl who dared to ask why. This is the story of Yentl "the Yeshiva Boy" by Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902–1991). Yentl is the boyishly klutzy daughter and only child of long widowed Rebbe Mendel, who is a teacher to local boys and secretly to Yentl. When her father dies, Yentl is all alone in the world. She takes the momentous decision to leave the village (disguised as a boy and calling herself by the name of her late brother, Anshel) to seek and get admitted to a Yeshiva to study the Torah. She befriends Avigdor, who is engaged to Haddas, but her family discovers negative things about his past, so they call off the wedding. Anshel then finds himself in the awkward position of being called into service as substitute bridegroom, so that the wedding can go ahead. After numerous complications the story ends with everybody getting what they always wanted. The original score brings you such wonderful Barbra classics as: Papa Can You Hear Me?, Where is it Written?, The Way He Makes Me Feel, No Matter What Happens and A Piece of Sky.
GYPSY – A Musical Fable
Performance dates: March 1-17, 2013
Factoid: Gypsy debuted on Broadway in 1959, with Ethel Merman in the role of Mama Rose. Other actresses who have played the iconic part on Broadway include Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters and, most recently, Patti LuPone. Streisand, who turns 70 this year, will play Mama Rose, the overbearing stage mother grappling with raising two young daughters during the Depression, due out sometime in 2014.
While the title suggests that this musical is about the famous queen of the stage Gypsy Rose Lee, it is really about her hard-driven, determined stage mother—Mama Rose. In the beginning, Rose concentrates on her talented younger daughter, June, leaving the older, less talented Louise in the cold. When June tires of being cute and runs away, Rose turns to Louise instead. Louise eventually does become Gypsy and Rose is left by herself; her aspirations for her kids realized, but her own show-business aspirations still unrealized. Touted as one of the greatest musicals of all time, it is also the dream role of Ms. Streisand who has her eyes set on playing Mama Rose in the revival of the 1962 film. A fantastic story of parents and children that rings true through the ages brings you the ever popular, Tony Award winning hits: Everything’s Coming Up Roses, Let Me Entertain You, Some People and Together Wherever We Go.
Performance dates: May 3-12, 2013
Factoid: Dolly opened on Broadway with Carol Channing, in the main role in 1964, who still holds the record for the longest run playing Dolly; also taking the TONY Awards away from Streisand and Funny Girl that same year. Still, Streisand was cast in the film in 1969 and at 25 was considered too young for the role. It is not the only show to have 4 original cast albums!
Dolly Levi, a modern matchmaker who merrily arranges things, takes a trip to Yonkers to see the "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire," Horace Vandergelder. She convinces him and his two stock clerks, Barnaby and Cornelius, as well as his niece and her beau to go to New York City where she proceeds to weave a web of romantic complications. As she fixes Vandergelder's clerks up with the woman he had been courting and her shop assistant we find out why—Dolly has designs of her own on Mr. Vandergelder. Filled with brilliant Tony award-winning Jerry Herman songs like Put On Your Sunday Clothes, Before The Parade Passes By, It Only Takes A Moment and of course the title song, Hello, Dolly!
Season subscriptions and single tickets to J*Company’s 20th Season will be available for purchase on July 1, 2012. All performances take place at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS, 4126 Executive Drive, La Jolla. Call the JCC Box Office at 858-362-1348 or visit www.sdcjc.org/jcompany for more information.
The San Diego Center for Jewish Culture is the largest Jewish institution in San Diego dedicated solely to presenting high quality, nationally recognized programs which are unique to San Diego County. The mission of the SDCJC is to expand and enrich cultural life in San Diego by presenting the finest in Jewish artistic expression, encouraging the preservation of Jewish culture and heritage, and nurturing new creativity in the arts. A core belief of the SDCJC is to promote respect for diverse cultures and build community tolerance.
The SDCJC offers a wide variety of multi-disciplinary artistic programs that explore cultural identities and perspectives, promote cross cultural understanding, and highlight human themes of family, tolerance, compassion, and hope. These programs, including the San Diego Jewish Film Festival, the San Diego Jewish Book Fair, New Jewish Plays Project, the San Diego Jewish Music Festival, a Holocaust Education Program, and the J*Company Youth Theatre, foster ideas of cultural appreciation and respect. Its facilities feature a 500-seat theatre, a Judaica library, an art gallery, and a community Holocaust Memorial Garden. Approximately 40,000 tickets are sold or provided annually to residents, visitors, and students for San Diego Center for Jewish Culture events.
The mission of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS is to provide social, cultural, educational, and recreational programs to individuals and families of all ages, religions, races, and financial, physical and mental abilities. Likewise, the JCC provides equal opportunity employment to individuals of all religions and backgrounds. The JCC welcomes San Diego’s diverse Jewish community and the community at large. The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, JACOBS FAMILY CAMPUS is located at 4126 Executive Drive in La Jolla.