When Arizona theater companies started announcing their 2011/12 season selections several months ago, I was especially excited about every single offering in just a couple of line-ups — including the 24th season for Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, which launched just last night.
Their production of “What About LUV?” — a musical based on the play “LUV” by Murray Schisgal — runs through Nov. 6. It’s a tale of convoluted love set on New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge, opening with one character preventing another from making a fatal jump. The work features features book by Jeffrey Sweet, music by Howard Marren and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead.
Arizona Jewish Theatre Company presents “Dreyfuss in Rehearsal,” a work by Jean-Claude Grumberg and adapted by Garson Kanin, Jan. 26-Feb. 5, 2012. It follows a group of amateurish actors trying to stage a play about a very serious topic even as religious persecution begins to impinge on their own young lives.
“The Blessings of a Broken Heart,” adapted by Todd Salovey from the award-winning book by Sherri Mandell, will be performed by Arizona Jewish Theatre Company March 22-April 1, 2012. It’s based on the true story of a mother who discovers her own courage amidst tragedy after moving her family from Maryland to the wilderness of Israel. The work features music and images from the Holy Land.
You’re unlikely to see these works elsewhere, and all are perfectly suited to the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company — which excels with relationship-driven storylines and pieces that blend life’s lightest and heaviest moments. The company performs at the John Paul Theatre on the campus of Phoenix College, and also presents works for youth.
This season’s youth offerings include “Fiddler on the Roof, Jr.” — which is being performed just three times the weekend of Dec. 10 & 11. I’m especially excited to see the work after discovering the name of a child from the “RAK family” on a list of cast members (though I doubt she’ll ever stoop her calling herself a “stage mom”).
In addition to its “Curtain Call” educational division for children and teens, the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company has a teen improv troupe called “All Rights Reserved” — which entertains audiences prior to “Curtain Call” performances and at various community events.
Finally, the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company is presenting two works in recognition of Arizona’s centennial — a staged reading of Ben Tyler’s “Goldwater: Mr. Conservative” performed by Ken Bennett (Nov. 1) and a staged reading of a new play by Harriet Rochlin titled “For Better And Worse: Jewish Marriages in the Arizona Territory” (Jan. 30). Also a special event featuring author and director Salovey (March 26).
While the company is dedicated to reflecting and illuminating “Jewish culture, history and perspective,” the stories they tell elucidate experiences we all share –from love and laughter to longing and loss.
Note: Click here to learn more about the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company, and here to enjoy more hearts and other fun finds from [Stuff] by miss emma jude. For information on official Arizona centennial events, visit az100years.org.
Coming up: From civilized to savage