Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Paul Shaffer bops the blues on new CD

Best known for his 33-year gig as David Letterman’s bandleader, Paul Shaffer is shifting gears post-Late Show. His latest project finds the music maven reunited in the studio with his musical mates from TV land. Paul Shaffer & The World’s Most Dangerous Band (Sire) is a swingin’ collection of a dozen pop, rock and R&B […]

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

One-man ‘Wiesenthal’ to play at Illusion Theater

by MAX SPARBER Actor-playwright Tom Dugan, who wrote and stars in a one-man show about Simon Wiesenthal called, appropriately, Wiesenthal, credits his decision to create the show to one quote by the famed Nazi hunter. Wiesenthal was asked if he blames Germans for the Holocaust, and Wiesenthal replied that he doesn’t believe in collective guilt. […]

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Nine must-watch TV shows about Passover

By LINDA BUCHWALD (JTA) — Everyone has their own way of celebrating Passover, from silly seder customs (Ten Plagues finger puppets, anyone?) to enjoying the same meal year after year, to, yes, commemorating the festival alongside beloved TV characters. The eight-day remembrance of Moses leading the Jews out of slavery in Egypt starts Monday at […]

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

MSPIFF: Curating your own Jewish film festival

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) offers 16 films of Jewish interest by MAX SPARBER The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF) has been around since 1981, hard as it is to believe. Year after year, it has brought a dazzling collection of films from around the world to the Twin Cities — this […]

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Drawing a crowd at the Playwrights’ Center

With Jeremy B. Cohen at the helm, the Playwrights’ Center turns 45 By MAX SPARBER There was a large crowd at the Playwrights’ Center Monday night. The organization’s performance space, formerly the interior of a Lutheran church, was filled to capacity. By the estimation of the organization’s producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen, it was […]

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

MacPhail concert spotlights Jewish music

By DORIS RUBENSTEIN The MacPhail Center for Music has been a cornerstone of Twin Cities cultural life in one form/name or another since 1907. Generations of area residents have studied violin, piano, voice and other forms of musical expression under the tutelage of some of the best professionals who have graced local concert stages. However, […]

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

The meaning of family

Playwright Wendy Kout looks at three generations of Jewish life in We Are the Levinsons By MAX SPARBER Playwriting and writing for television are ostensibly similar undertakings. In fact, if you’ve ever been on the set of a sitcom, it can look very much like a stage set, with bleachers set up for live audiences […]

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

In a time of walls, Ladino is a bridge

A Sephardic studies scholar sees preserving Ladino as an ‘act of resistance’ against Trump By JOSEPHIN DOLSTEN (JTA) — One-year-old Vidal doesn’t know the significance behind the lullaby his father sings him at bedtime. He knows it helps him fall asleep, but not that the Ladino song is part of an effort to teach him […]

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

A life onscreen

The Twin Cities Jewish Film Festival puts the Jewish experience front and center By MAX SPARBER Jewish filmmakers can be strangely touchy about Jewish subjects. Although arguably the first film blockbuster was an explicitly Jewish story — 1927’s The Jazz Singer, about a cantor’s son — it’s surprising how often films have minimized or even […]

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Staging Yemen

The Illusion Theater’s new play includes Yemenite-inspired music by a local composer By MAX SPARBER The Illusion Theater is one of the Twin Cities older professional theaters, having started in 1974. This was just nine years after the founding of the Guthrie Theater, a watershed moment in American regional theater, and I have always felt […]