This Musical About a U.S. President Being Impeached Was Written 90 Years Ago

Israel Musicals stages ‘Of Thee I Sing’ in Jerusalem and Ra’anana, an acclaimed 2013 play reexamines gender equality and remembering how the Philippines rescued 1,300 Jewish refugees in the Holocaust

Steve Klein
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
The cast of Israel Musicals' "Of Thee I Sing."
The cast of Israel Musicals' "Of Thee I Sing."Credit: Barak Bard
Steve Klein

BY GEORGE: The timing of Israel Musicals’ upcoming production of George Gershwin’s “Of Thee I Sing” couldn’t be much better. “It’s about a president who runs on a completely superficial platform, is accused of working for Russia and faces impeachment,” said Yisrael Lutnick, Israel Musicals’ artistic director and producer. “It seems they knew what we’d be going through 90 years later.” Lutnick also stressed the quality of the music, which helped the show win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1932. “He creates these complicated musical arrangements to simple melodies, and it’s magic.” The cast includes Lutnick, Daniella Mann, Alexandra German, Yisrael Levitt, Miriam Metzinger, Asher Halperin, Daniel Fliegler, Victoria Gershkovich, Katya Kossoy, Gavriel Weinberg, Fridolin Blasl, Aliza Ben Moha and Adam Gershkovich. The musical director is Tom Zylbersztein. The show runs in Jerusalem next Monday and Wednesday, plus February 4 and February 6, and closes in Ra’anana on February 9. For tickets, call 077-450-6012 or visit the Israel Musicals website.

REEXAMINING GENDER EQUALITY: For its next production, Center Stage is tackling the debate on the “proper” roles of men and women with “Rapture, Blister, Burn” – a 2013 Pulitzer Drama Prize finalist by Gina Gionfriddo. “It’s a comedy that also touches on more complex topics,” director Ruby Welkovich told Haaretz. “After watching this play full of funny and human moments, l’d like people to leave reexamining their ideas about gender equality.” Welkovich, who hails from Stamford, Connecticut, noted that “we’ve made progress in today’s society, [but] my goal is to shine a light on the truth about that equality. Today, it’s much more about who comes first – who goes to work, who stays home and who gets to follow their dreams.” The show opens next Thursday and runs through March 7 at Center Stage’s Ra’anana venue. The cast includes Noa Lapidot, Ayala Shiftan, Ran Matalon Levy, Sarah Markowitz and Sandy Cash. For tickets, call 09-978-2552.

REMEMBERING A LITTLE-KNOWN RESCUE: On International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Monday, the story of how the Philippines’ wartime president, Manuel L. Quezon, saved the lives of 1,300 Jewish refugees will be remembered both in Tel Aviv and New York. “The initiative came from a meeting I had with the ambassador of the Philippines to Israel, Nathaniel G. Imperial,” B’nai B’rith Israel Director Alan Schneider told Haaretz. B’nai B’rith International, an official NGO at the United Nations, lobbied for the Remembrance Day event, Schneider noted. In Israel, there will be a panel discussion with Tel Aviv University’s Prof. Robert Rockaway, a native of Detroit, Michigan. Two of the surviving refugees – Margot Pins Kestenbaum and Max Weissler – will attend as special guests. The refugees’ story is told in a new documentary, “The Last Manilaners,” debuting Monday. The bigger event, held at the UN, will be broadcast simultaneously online via the UN’s TV service, starting 10 P.M. Israel time, via un.org.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

Have an idea about an item for Rank and File? Email us at:column@haaretz.co.il

Comments