Stage

On this day: George Gershwin is born

By Jennifer Lipman, September 26, 2010

The composer made just five dollars from his first song but later became an American musical legend.

Turned down for a job by Irving Berlin when he was 20, George Gershwin was told: “You’re meant for big things.” The prophecy came true.

The son of immigrants from Russia, Jacob Gershowitz left school at 15 and began writing popular tunes for Broadway musicals, concert hall shows and operas. In 1927 Fred Astaire took to the stage in Funny Face, a musical Gershwin wrote in collaboration with his elder brother Ira. It was one of several successes they had together.

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Wanted: mosque to host Shoah play by Muslim

By Robyn Rosen, September 21, 2010

A Muslim director has spoken about his failed attempts to perform at mosques a Holocaust play, which he claims "will unite communities to stand up to hate and extremism".

Nic Careem, a self-declared "Zionist-Muslim", spoke about his plans as he announced a special performance of James Still's award-winning play, And Then They Came For Me - Remembering The World Of Anne Frank, in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC) Pakistan flood victims appeal.

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Israeli actors to boycott West Bank theatre

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 7, 2010

On November 11, a new cultural centre will open in Ariel, across the Green Line. For many actors and theatre-goers, it will be a moment of truth.

Two weeks ago, 35 actors and dramatists signed an open letter telling the directors of their theatres that they would refuse to act on the stage of the largest Jewish town in Samaria. Since then, the Israeli drama scene has been up in arms, with season-ticket holders cancelling their subscriptions, counter-petitions flying around and politicians threatening to withhold funding.

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Why Republicans are at the top of Kushner's hit list

By John Nathan, September 7, 2010

To get an instant impression of the subject of this article you could do worse than tap the words "Tony" and "Kushner" into YouTube. There is an eight minute, 57-second video which shows the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright saying thank you for his latest honorary degree.

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Richard Benn is translating Shakespeare's plays into Somali

By Candice Krieger, September 7, 2010

Know how to say "To be or not to be" in Somali? Teacher Richard Benn does. The 40-year-old, who is head of English at Silver-dale comprehensive school in Sheffield, has teamed
up with his colleagues - and pupils - to translate William Shakespeare's works into the Somali
language.

They have founded the The Somali Shakespeare Company - a community-based group established to promote Somali-language theatre and culture. Around 16 per cent of students at Silverdale are Somali. Glasgow-born Mr Benn tells People: "My colleague was out for

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Jeremy Dyson snatches a prize for his ghoulish stories

By Candice Krieger, August 12, 2010

Yorkshire's Jeremy Dyson, one quarter of the team behind the hit television show The League of Gentlemen, is basking in the limelight of a solo success - and it has nothing to do with TV.

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'Obscene' Wiesel play to open in New York

By Jennifer Lipman, July 20, 2010

A play on the Madoff financial scandal that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel branded "obscene" and "defamatory" is set to open in New York.

The renowned human rights campaigner had threatened legal action over the play, which depicted a fictional conversation between disgraced financier Bernie Madoff and Mr Wiesel.

But despite opposition from the Holocaust survivor, Imagining Madoff will go ahead, although in a small Hudson theatre rather than in its original Washington location.

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Glee creator to make film about Jewish activist

By Jennifer Lipman, July 5, 2010

A play about a Jewish Aids activist is to be made into a film by the creator of television show Glee.

American Jewish playwright Larry Kramer is to adapt his semi-autobiographical 1985 drama The Normal Heart for the screen.

Mr Kramer drew on his experiences as one of the founders of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) in the early 1980s to create the part of advocate Ned Weeks.

The GMHC were crucial in challenging the idea that Aids was only a “gay cancer”.

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The play that tore Israel apart

By Ben Lynfield, June 24, 2010

Army Chief of staff Haim Bar-Lev joked that it was raunchy enough to be performed for the boys at the front with Egypt. Defence Minister Moshe Dayan condemned it for undermining morale and giving succour to the enemy. Members of the audience hurled curses, stink bombs and stones while critics called for its creator to be locked up in a mental institution.

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Why I wrote a play about a sex-assault schoolmate

By John Nathan, June 17, 2010

What does it take for a mother to stop loving her son? Or what does it take for a mother to hate him? These, in essence, are the questions at the heart of 26-year-old Evan Placey's new play, Mother of Him, which is running at the Courtyard Theatre in north London.

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