AJT 2010 Conference

ShPieL – Performing Identity


(CHICAGO-IL) – November 20, 2010 The 30th Annual International Association for Jewish Theatre and ShPIeL–Performing Identity concluded its three day conference and showcase of new and diverse Jewish theatre Tuesday night November 16 with a “fringe” performance of Cities of Light by Rebecca Joy Fletcher at the Piven Theatre Workshop.

Members from as far as Belgium and Israel, to people from all over North America — the AJT Conference had more than 60 representatives over the course of the weekend for its panels and workshops, culminating with a ShPIeL SHOWCASE of new and diverse Jewish theatre to a full house at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at the Center on Halsted in Lakeview. The theme was Jewish Theatre You Can Identify With! featuring panels, workshops and performances, some open to the public.

Public panels at Lookingglass Theatre, from the AJT conference were:

> “Jewish Identity in the Theatre” – with luminaries Michael Nussbaum originator of many David Mamet roles including in the Broadway and film of Glengarry Glen Ross; Sheldon Patinkin chronicler and “uncle” of Second City; Broadway star and Northwestern University alumnus Adam Kantor; moderated by AJT President and ShPIeL Artistic Director David Y. Chack.

> “Challenging Jewish Theatre” – with Jamil Khoury of Silk Road Theatre Project; Deb Margolin, playwright of the recent Imagining Madoff and internationally recognized performance artist; Ari Roth of Theatre J in Washington DC; and Kathleen Sitzer of the New Jewish Theatre in St Louis; moderated by Chicago NPR Critic and Theatre Editor of Windy City Times Jonathan Abarbanel.

Public performances included the ShPIeL SHOWCASE OF NEW & DIVERSE JEWISH THEATRE, at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at the Center on Halsted. Featuring theatre/performance excerpts demonstrating diversity and new Jewish identities, the showcase spanned the gamut from Ashkenazic sounds of Klezmer to Yiddish theatre to a hip-hop performance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; from the depths of Jewish memory in medieval Spanish Jewry to a musical about the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; from a courtroom drama pitting African-American vs. Jew to a multi-character date party, and a new version of dybbuks. Emceeing was Second City Improv Artist Aaron Freeman. Longtime Chicago theatre director Richard Shavzin directed.

Honored Sponsors: Roslyn Alexander and Sam Grodzin, Frank and Dora-Lou Chanen, Lois and Marty Hauselman, Sylvia Arbetman, Charlotte Newberger, Steven Rogin, Rosenbaum and Silvert PC, Gerald. J. Sherman, Craig Short, Jim Stoller & The Building Group, Whole Foods on Halsted

Sponsoring partners: Lookingglass Theatre, Piven Theatre Workshop, Northwestern University Jewish Theatre Ensemble, Anshe Sholom-B’nai Israel, Manghal Israeli Grill

Supporting partners: Northlight Theatre, Limmud Chicago, Theatre Wit, Center on Halsted, League of Chicago Theatres, Israel Consulate of the Midwest, Chicago Dramatists, Northwestern University Hillel, Hillels Around Chicago, Hillel International: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life


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