TEATRON: Chicago's Jewish Theatre Festival Has Announced November Schedule
ShPIeL Performing Identity has released an updated schedule for TEATRON: Chicago's Jewish Theatre Festival, to be held from Sunday, November 3 - Sunday, November 10, 2019, with most events at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. The eight-day festival dedicated to Jewish theatre, the first-ever in Chicago, will overlap the annual Alliance for Jewish Theatre Conference, hosted by ShPIeL at Victory Gardens Theater and The Theatre School at DePaul University from November 1-3, 2019. (FOR CONFERENCE REGISTRATION AND SCHEDULE alljewishtheatre.org). The festival lineup will include staged readings, solo performances, storytelling, cabaret, and comedy at Victory Gardens Theater and a special performative Shabbat on Friday, November 8 at Silverstein Base Hillel at 858 West Wrightwood Ave. in Lincoln Park.
ShPIeL Producing Artistic Director David Y. Chack announced additional artists participating in the festival. Joining the late-night comedy show on Saturday, November 9, now called JEWISH JOKESTERS: A NIGHT OF JEWS AND COMEDY, will be Chicago improv performers Susan Messing and Rachael Mason, performing in the program with the previously announced standup comedians Jeremy Drezner and Lia Berma and emcee Evan Richter.
Chack also revealed the list of playwrights who will represented in A SHOWCASE OF NEW JEWISH THEATRE FROM ALL OVER, on Monday, November 4 at 8pm The program, curated by the Alliance for Jewish Theatre and directed by Ben Raanan, will feature staged readings of new plays as well as solo performances of Jewish heritage. The program will include works by Felix Abidor, Debórah Eliezer, Shara Feit, Rebecca Fletcher, Marc Frost, Robin Goldfin, Yehudah Jai Husband, Danielle Levsky, D. S. Magid, and Ellen Sullivan.
As previously announced, a signature presentation of the Festival is THE Ben Hecht SHOW with Chicago and playwright and actor James Sherman in his original solo play Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30pm. A marquee event is OPERETTA IN EXILE: THE MUSIC SILENCED BY THE THIRD REICH, a concert by Folks Operetta on Sunday, November 10 at 2pm. Tickets will be available through Victory Gardens Theater Box Office, online at www.victorygardens.org and by phone at 773-871-3000. Tickets to OPERETTA IN EXILE are $36. Other events are $24 or $18 for students and free with a DePaul ID. There is also a $118 festival pass which offers one admission to each festival event (not including the November 10 matinee at 2pm.)
Leading off the festival on Sunday, November 3, will be a staged reading of THE GREEN BOOK by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, directed by Ilesa Duncan, Artistic Director of Lifeline Theatre and Executive and Artistic Director of Pegasus Theatre Chicago. THE GREEN BOOK, recently seen in Chicago in a co-production by Pegasus and ShPIeL (unrelated to the 2018 feature film), tells the story of how Victor Hugo Green's THE NEGRO MOTORIST GREEN BOOK, a travel guide published from 1936 to 1966, was an essential tool and an important part of Black Culture during the era of Jim Crow "separate but equal" laws. One weekend when an African American family is celebrating the arrival of the great scholar Dr. W.E.B. DuBois for a lecture, the appearance of a Jewish Holocaust survivor sets off a chain of events that shows that racism and anti-Semitism cannot be ignored. THE GREEN BOOK will be performed on Sunday, November 3 at 7:30 pm at Victory Gardens Theater.
TEATRON will continue at the conference's closing, for six more festive days on Tuesday, November 5 at 7:30 pm with JEWISH STORYTELLING DELIGHT. Characters spring to life with stories featuring master storytellers Vered Hankin ("the leading storyteller of her generation" - New York Jewish Week), Susan Stone ("a remarkable talent" - Rabbi Hirsch, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association) and Debórah Eliezer. Hankin and Stone will bring ancient Jewish folktales to life, seamlessly transforming into a slew of characters. Debórah Eliezer ("embodies with exquisite dancerly physicality and vocal power" - Jean Schiffman, SF Examiner), an Iraqi Jewish actor, dancer and voiceover performs her play which tells the story of her father, member of Zionist underground, refugee and spy in her story, (dis)Place[d]. Come away with us. See shpielperformingidentity.org for the up to date JEWISH STORYTELLING DELIGHT schedule.
Chicago playwright and actor James Sherman will return to Chicago with his original solo play THE Ben Hecht SHOW after touring it throughout the country.
(Pictured: James Sherman. Photo by Don Vanasek. Click on image to access high res file).
The play depicts the life of the legendary playwright/screenwriter (THE FRONT PAGE, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, GONE WITH THE WIND) who was raised in an assimilated Jewish upbringing but became an important Jewish-American voice. Hecht, the first American journalist to write about the Nazi atrocities during World War Two, risked his own career to aid the Zionists in the creation of Israel. Using Hecht's own words, Sherman portrays his amazing story of Jewish consciousness and social activism. THE Ben Hecht SHOW will perform on Wednesday, November 6 at 7:30pm.
The following night, on Thursday, November 7 at 7:30 pm, the Chicago Cabaret Professionals' Gold Coast Honoree, Carla Gordon; with Rebecca Joy Fletcher, known for Jewish Cabaret from around the world, will perform CABARET - JEWISH STYLE. Annie Reznik, an emerging musical theatre artist from The Theatre School at DePaul will join the evening with Yiddish songs, as well as songs from Broadway shows. The evening's emcee is David Y. Chack
A special performative Shabbat will take place on Friday, November 8 at Silverstein Base Hillel at 858 West Wrightwood Ave. in Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL The Shabbat service begins at 6PM with dinner at 6:30PM. Tickets for the Shabbat may be purchased online at: https://metrochihillel.wufoo.com/forms/z1hrggm90m24o7m/
On Saturday, November 9 at 7pm there will be a staged reading of GOD OF VENGEANCE, directed by Festival Artistic Director David Chack - the 1906 play by Polish-Jewish Playwright Sholom Asch is the subject of Paula Vogel's recent Broadway and Victory Gardens recent hit play INDECENT. The Saturday evening performances will conclude at 10 pm with the previously mentioned late-night show - JEWISH JOKESTERS: A NIGHT OF JEWS AND COMEDY, an evening of stand up and improv hosted by Evan Richter featuring standup comedians Jeremy Drezner and Lia Berma and improv performers Susan Messing and Rachael Mason.
On Sunday, November 10 TEATRON will join in solidarity with the world to memorialize the Kristallnacht Pogrom (seen as the lead-up to the Holocaust, with the widespread state sanctioned destruction of over 260 synagogues and Jewish owned businesses in Nazi German, Austria and Czechoslovakia). We will also remember the murder of innocent Jewish lives in the massacre by a White Supremacist at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018.
To that end, at 2pm Sunday, November 19 Folks Operetta will showcase OPERETTA IN EXILE: THE MUSIC SILENCED BT THE THIRD REICH, This multi-media concert explores the world of librettists and composers who either perished or were forced into exile by the Nazis, and features songs from operettas by Leo Ascher, Emmerich Kálmán, Jean Gilbert, Paul Abrahám, Robert Stolz, Franz Lehár, and Leon Jessel. The concert features a narrator, five singers, a small chamber ensemble and images from Jewish artists during the Second World War.
The closing event of the festival on Sunday, November 10 at 7pm will be FEATURING DANIEL CAINER - a performance by England's Daniel Cainer, known for his one-man musical show GEFILTE FISH AND CHIPS. Smart, funny, timely and only slightly irreverent, Daniel Cainer's deeply moving tales feature feuding tailors, a naughty rabbi, some family fables... and many foibles. All of the human condition is here, lovingly and intelligently depicted in a remarkable collection of stories-in-song from this highly skilled musician and performer.
All festival performances, except the Shabbat will be at Victory Gardens Theater and tickets for those performances will be available through Victory Gardens Theater Box Office, online at www.victorygardens.org and by phone at 773-871-3000. Tickets to OPERETTA IN EXILE are $36. Other events are $24 or $18 for students and free with a DePaul ID. There is also a $118 festival pass which offers one admission to each festival event (not including the November 10 matinee at 2pm.). Tickets for the performative Shabbat may be purchased online at https://metrochihillel.wufoo.com/forms/z1hrggm90m24o7m/