Wednesday, September 6th, 2017...1:41 pm

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company’s new season

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The Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company looks at politics, literature and dry cleaning

by MAX SPARBER

Community News Editor

The Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company has announced their 2017-2018 season, which started this past month with Via Dolorosa, a play by David Hare exploring his experiences visiting Israel.

Playwright Deborah Stein, whose play Natasha and the Coat will be included in the 2017-2018 season of the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. (Photo: Richard Fleischman)

The season will continue with Church & State (Oct. 21-Nov. 12) by playwright Jason Odell Williams, an Emmy nominated writer based in Manhattan who has scripted a play about a Republican senator in North Carolina who accidentally communicates some decidedly heretical ideas.

The play details efforts by his wife, who is a Bible-thumping Christian, along with his Jewish staffer, as the senator’s reelection campaign begins to spiral out of control. The Los Angeles Times was impressed by a 2016 production, calling it “surprisingly subtle and gripping entertainment.”

The theater will bring back its popular holiday show, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Dec. 7-19). Scripted by Shari Aronson and based on the book by Eric A. Kimmel, the play tells of a boy who spends eight days in a synagogue to defeat goblins who have prevented locals from observing the holiday of Hanuka.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies’ play Collected Stories (Feb. 24-March 18) nearly netted the author another Pulitzer with its Broadway run in 2010. The play tells of a teacher who had previously had an affair with poet Delmore Schwartz, and discovers this to be the subject of a novel by one of her students.

The play addresses itself to the thorny question of what is permissible in writing, and what is ethical, complicated by the fact that while the play is fictional, Delmore Schwartz was an actual Jewish poet. The New York Times wrote of the play that it “digs into its engaging tale of aesthetics and ethics with intelligence and sharp, literate humor.”

The company will complete their season with Natasha and the Coat (April 21-May 13) by the superb playwright Deborah Stein, who has a long association with the Twin Cities through the Playwrights’ Center.

The story investigates a slightly clandestine relationship between a New York arts intern and a Hasidic Jew. According to Stein, the story originated with her own experiences working as a marketer for a Hasidic dry cleaning company, which lasted just over a week thanks to an irreconcilable clash of cultures and traditions.

For information about showtimes and tickets, visit mnjewishtheatre.org.

(American Jewish World, 9.08.17)

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