October 14, 2019

Summer Theater and Performing Arts Calendar

“The Way Home” cast features, front row, from left: Kyra Morling, Julie Lanctot, Chandler Turk and Arnon Shorr; back row, from left: Andrew Fromer, Ora Yashar, Judith Goldstein, Aysha Wax and Daphna Shull. Photo by Maureen Rubin

Our guide to plays, musicals and concerts with a Jewish connection.

The Jewish Women’s Theatre’s (JWT) latest production from its NEXT initiative, “The Way Home,” showcases the voices of emerging writers exploring what home means to them. The salon-style show runs June 8-18 at the Braid and other venues around Los Angeles, including a Venice fabric store and a downtown art gallery.

“The main theme is that everyone has a story to tell about finding his or her own way home,” JWT Artistic Director Ronda Spinak said. “Everyone needs a home. Everyone needs community and a sense of belonging. Yet, barriers and obstacles to this simple human need will always pose challenges. Life is about meeting these challenges and finding where you belong.

“Our writers tell stories of leaving home and never returning, of helping a loved one to get to a new ‘home’ on the other side, and to know that even though someone you treasure is far away, love still comes through,” she said. “When Jewish people have been forced to move, they remain true to their faith and bring home with them. The stories in ‘The Way Home’ demonstrate the connections we search for and the bonds that will always sustain us.”

Inspired by the events surrounding Sholem Asch’s controversial Yiddish drama “God of Vengeance,” namely a lesbian kiss, Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” is about the artists who risked their lives and careers to perform the play. Featuring several members of the original Broadway cast, the play runs June 5-July 7 at the Ahmanson Theatre. 

On its 20th anniversary tour, “Rent,” Jonathan Larson’s rock music take on “La Boheme” celebrating life and love and friendship during the AIDS crisis, will play at the Pantages Theatre from July 9-14. 

Stephen Sondheim’s Tony-winning fairy tale musical “Into the Woods” comes to the Hollywood Bowl from July 26-28.

With stories, songs and a lot of Yiddishkayt, actress Barbara Minkus reminisces about her life and career in showbiz in her solo show “18 Minutes of Fame,” which will play June 2, 9 and 16 at the Pico Playhouse. Composer and piano virtuoso Hershey Felder comes to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with “A Paris Love Story,” featuring the music of Claude Debussy, through June 9.

At the Hollywood Fringe Festival, comedian Rachel McKay Steele offers her thoughts on Jewish identity, girlhood, mourning and shares personal experiences with sex, a nose job and her bat mitzvah in her solo show “Shiva for Anne Frank,” playing five times from June 9 to 30 at The Complex in Hollywood. Also premiering at the Festival, Israeli performer Moti Buchboot’s one-man show “Five Pieces of Paper: Stories My Hungarian Grandmother Refused to Tell Me and Other Family Tales” checks into the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Davidson/Valentini Theatre for four performances from June 10 to 27.

The Santa Monica Playhouse will present an encore of “Aleichem Sholom: The Wit and Wisdom of Sholom Aleichem” as part of the theater’s Jewish Heritage Project. The musical will play once a month on Saturdays through the summer: June 22, July 6 and Aug. 31.

Shelley Fisher’s musical solo show “The Hebrew Hillbilly — 50 Shades of Oy Vey” has a one-night engagement at the Santa Monica Playhouse on July 14, and “Magic Monday,” hosted and produced by magician Albie Singer, will be presented every Monday night through September.