MJCC, Portland Center Stage, library partner to explore Jewish role in U.S. musical theater
By Jweish Review
article created on: 2008-09-15T00:00:00
How did immigrant Jews develop a remarkable, universal art form—the Broadway musical—during the process of becoming Americans?
That is the central question of “Envisioning America: Jews and the Broadway Musical,” a free program that will feature speakers, performers, novelists, screenwriters and composers at four different venues October 2, 5, 19 and 26.
The series is sponsored by Portland Center Stage, the the Mittleman Jewish Community Center and the Multnomah County Library, in conjunction with the Portland Center Stage production of “Guys and Dolls,” by Frank Loesser with book by Abe Burrows and Jo Swerling.
The series will examine the Jewish experience and the landscape of mainstream American culture to answer the question: How did a group of poor immigrants produce, “in a single generation, children who rose to learn and master the English language and then develop a cultural form that came to define an entire nation?”
Through moderated discussion and song, “Envisioning America” is an opportunity to learn about the genius of Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, Sigmund Romberg, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jerry Herman, and Frank Loesser. The series will study works such as “Guys and Dolls,” “Milk and Honey,” “Oklahoma!,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Babes in Arms” and “South Pacific.”
Featured speakers and performers include novelist, humorist and screenwriter Marc Acito; composer-pianist Dave Frishberg and vocalist Rebecca Kilgore; Rabbi Alan Berg; and others. Different personalities may appear at the four events.
The program begins Thursday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 S.W. Capitol Highway. On Sunday, Oct. 19, it will be held at Portland Center Stage, Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 N.W. 11th Ave.
Condensed programs will be offered on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 12:30 p.m. at Hillsdale Library, 1525 S.W. Sunset Blvd., and on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 12:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 801 S.W. 10th Ave.
Although the programs are free, participants are asked to RSVP to Tim DuRoche, Portland Center Stage’s community outreach manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.