Rank and File

J-Town Playhouse Celebrates With a Show About Divorce

Plus, events in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv for the Tu Bishvat holiday and Center Stage Israel hosts ‘The Sound of Goosesteps’ in Ra’anana

Steve Klein
Steven Klein
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Jared Michaud, left, and Miri Fraenkel, who will be starring in "The Last Five Years" at J-Town Playhouse in Jerusalem from February 13-29, 2020.
Jared Michaud, left, and Miri Fraenkel, who will be starring in "The Last Five Years" at J-Town Playhouse in Jerusalem from February 13-29, 2020.Credit: Ita Arbit
Steve Klein
Steven Klein

AN AMICABLE DIVORCE: After many happy years together, J-Town Playhouse and AACI, the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel, will be parting ways this month. Coincidentally, the theme of J-Town’s farewell performance at the AACI is divorce, in the musical “The Last Five Years,” written and composed by Jason Robert Brown. Director Jenn Fleischer told Haaretz the play tells both characters’ perspectives, yet the guy tells the story from the time they meet until they divorce, while the woman recounts the story by going back in time. “They’re just normal people, but that’s what makes it special because every single person will be able to connect with the characters because they are so human, flaws and all,” she added. The musical, which runs from next Thursday through February 29, stars Miri Fraenkel and Maine-native Jared Michaud. Fleischer, who hails from Connecticut, said J-Town Playhouse will be storing its equipment until it can find a new venue. For tickets, visit aaci-jtown.mamash.com

CELEBRATING THE TREES: The almond blossoms and cyclamens in Israel are a sure sign that the Tu Bishvat holiday is around the corner. To mark the festival of the trees, several organizations oriented toward English speakers are holding celebrations. On Sunday evening, Kerem House will hold an eco-friendly traditional seder that’s free but BYOF (bring your own fruit). For more info, visit keremhouse.com. Also Sunday, Tel Aviv International Synagogue will host what it calls a “mystical” seder with Rabbi Ariel Konstantyn. For more info, visit the synagogue’s Facebook page. In Jerusalem on Sunday, Yiboneh will host what it calls a “mystical and spiritually uplifting musical” Tu Bishvat seder, featuring Rabbi Aaron Dovid Poston and Rabbi Reuven Tradburks. Registration is by email only, tubshvat@yiboheh.com. On Monday, Chabad on the Coast continues the mood with a Tel Aviv event tasting the exotic fruit of Israel. For more info, visit Chabad on the Coast’s Facebook page.

GOOSESTEPPING OUT: Center Stage Israel, the country’s first professional English-language theater, will host “The Sound of Goosesteps” in Ra’anana on Saturday. The lecture-concert will be “taking a very interesting perspective examining the era of Nazism through the medium of musicals – specifically ‘Cabaret,’ ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘The Producers,’” according to the theater’s Daniella Crankshaw. “The audience will not only get interesting tidbits on the politics behind the shows, but also the different feelings and struggles that the authors had,” said Crankshaw, who moved to Israel from South Africa with her husband Grant Crankshaw (with whom she co-founded Center Stage). “Eyal Sherf, who is a trained actor and singer, provides clips and sings songs out of the musicals. It’s an unusually entertaining lecture,” she added. Sherf will be accompanied by Alon Aviv on piano. For tickets, visit centerstageisrael.com

SHIRA TWERSKY-CASSEL MEMORIAL: A memorial service will be held for Shira Twersky-Cassel in Jerusalem on February 17. The award-winning, Bronx-born Israeli poet died at 79 on January 12 after a long illness. In 1988, only two years after starting to write poetry in Hebrew, Twersky-Cassel was awarded the Newman Prize for her book “Shachrur” (“Blackbird”). She published two additional poetry volumes. In 1957, as a journalism student visiting Israel, she was an English news editor for Israel Radio. “There I heard many stories of the Old City, where Jews and Arabs once shared lives,” she wrote in her blog, Shira: A Poet’s Diary. “I wrote poems about living in this haunted city and imagined what lay hidden under the arch-covered streets and alleyways on the other side of the walls.” Twersky-Cassel moved to Israel in 1969. She is survived by a son, David Pinchas, of Jerusalem. The service will take place at Machon Meir, Kiryat Moshe, at 8 P.M.

Shira Twersky-Cassel
Shira Twersky-CasselCredit: Courtesy of the family

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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