Theater Notebook: San Diego Rep’s Jewish Arts Festival goes global
This year’s virtual festival running May 13 through June 23 will be largest and most international festival ever
For San Diego Repertory Theatre, the downside of having to produce its 28th annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival online is not being able to bring the community together under one roof. But the upside is that this year’s virtual festival running May 13 through June 23 will be largest and most international festival ever.
Among the artists scheduled for concerts, plays, Q&A sessions and other events are Tony Award winner Ben Platt and his singing brothers, Hershey Felder broadcasting his latest world premiere play from Italy, Grammy-nominated singer Perla Batalla and four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh, an actor, singer and playwright. This year’s events will also include the inauguration of a two-day festival of new Jewish plays on Memorial Day weekend called “The Whole Megillah.”
“This is our most accomplished and most accessible festival,” said Todd Salovey, festival founder and artistic director, in a statement. “I’m so proud and excited by the nationally acclaimed artists in our diverse lineup.”
All but the closing event on June 23 will take place online. For complete details, call (619) 544-1000 or visit sdrep.org/jfest. Here’s the lineup:
“The Room Where It Happens”: 7 p.m. May 13. The third annual teen showcase featuring students from San Diego Jewish Academy, Congregation Beth Israel and more. Program includes music, theater, dance and spoken word performances. $10.
“Hershey Felder in Anna & Sergei: Live From Florence”: 5 p.m. May 16. The playwright/pianist/actor presents the world premiere of his latest composer play, about the famed Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and his strange meeting with the woman who claimed to be part of the Romanov dynasty. $55 ($110 bonus content package available).
“Tovah Feldshuh: Virtually with You”: 7 p.m. May 19. Live from New York’s Birdland Jazz Club, Feldshuh performs a variety of songs, including a rap for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Where’s the Bathroom,” “Together Wherever We Go,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Never Never Land ” and the Yiddish song “In Cheider.” $25.
“In Defense of Women”: 7:30 p.m. May 20. Theatre Dybbuk in Los Angeles dramatically explores 16th century Jewish playwright Leone de’ Sommi Portaleone’s poem on the role of women in drama. $15.
“Fiddler on the Roof” in Yiddish: 5 p.m. May 23. Tony winner Joel Grey leads a conversation with actors Steven Skybell and Janet Babiak and members of the creative team behind the recent off-Broadway Yiddish production of the musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” $18.
“The Rain & the Wind”: 7:30 p.m. May 24. Israel’s Nephesh Theatre and Haifa Theatre co-present this play with music and dance play that explores the life and works of singer/songwriter Bob Dylan. $15.
“Ahavat Olam” with Ben Platt, Henry Platt and Jonah Platt: 7:30 p.m. May 26. Ben Platt, the Tony-winning star of “Dear Evan Hansen,” and his musical brothers Henry and Jonah will host a Q&A session, solo and group numbers, including “Ahavat Olam” and “Hodu,” and a selection from Jonah’s new musical adaptation “The Giver.” $25.
“The Whole Megillah” Jewish New Play Festival: May 30-31. Programs include panel discussions and performances of “The Berlin Diaries” by Andrea Stolowitz; “What We Found” by Molly Olis Krost; “A Play about a Baby Carrot” by Juliet Roll; and “Why This Night by Dan Kitrosser.” $36 for all Megillah events.
“Perla Batalla: Songs of Love & Protest”: 7:30 p.m. June 1. Leonard Cohen’s longtime singing partner presents a new program celebrating the music of Cohen and Pete Seeger. $25.
12th Annual Women of Valor honors: 7:30 p.m. June 3-10. Four local Jewish community leaders will be honored: Elizabeth Schwartz on June 3; Dr. Sonia Ancoli-Israel on June 6; Jodie Graber on June 8; and Franchesca Gelbart on June 10.
The 20th annual Klezmer Summit: “Sweet Home Anatevka”: 7 p.m. June 7. Fiddler Yale Strom and his band Hot Pstromi perform traditional klezmer and Yiddish folk songs with trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, Berlin-based Yiddish vocalist Sasha Lurje and Art of Élan members premiering Strom’s new string quartet “Di Fusgeyers-The Wayfarers” about 60 Jews who fled pogroms in Romania to immigrate to the U.S. $18.
“Isaac Asimov: Grand Master Funk”: 7:30 p.m. June 9. San Diego Rep playwright-in-residence Herbert Siguenza presents his new play about the famed science fiction novelist in his dying days when he’s visited by a robot who asks him to write a final story that will save mankind from extinction. $12.
“In Every Generation”: 5 p.m. June 13. In Ali Viterbi’s play, one Jewish family wrestles with questions of race, religion and inter-generational trauma over matzah ball soup and vegan brisket at their annual Passover dinner over many years. $15.
Elon Gold: “I Do Mean to Complain”: 8 p.m. June 17. The veteran standup comedian of “The Tonight Show” and HBO’s “Crashing” will perform at a special event for donors of $180 or more.
Soulfarm performs music of The Grateful Dead: 7 p.m. June 23. This tribute to the American roots band will be the festival’s only live event. It will be presented outdoors at The Hive at Leichtag Commons, 441 Saxony Road, Encinitas. $18.
Kragen writes about local theater for The San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at email@example.com.
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