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Antisemitism-themed ‘Leopoldstadt’ and ‘Parade’ are big Tony Awards winners



(JTA) – Broadway made a statement about antisemitism Sunday evening, as two high-profile shows on the subject this season — the play “Leopoldstadt” and the musical revival “Parade” — pulled in multiple major Tony awards.

Some of the shows’ honorees, in turn, made statements of their own linking hatred of Jews with other forms of hatred, including homophobia and anti-transgender sentiment at a time when trans inclusion is under attack in many places.

“Leopoldstadt,” Tom Stoppard’s epic semi-autobiographical play about three generations of a Viennese Jewish family before and after the Holocaust, won four of the six Tonys for which it was nominated, including best play. (It was Stoppard’s fifth Tony, coming 55 years after his first, for “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.”)

The “Leopoldstadt” actor Brandon Uranowitz, the only member of the play’s large cast to receive an acting nomination, won for featured actor in a play and thanked Stoppard for writing a show about antisemitism and “the false promise of assimilation.” He noted that members of his family were murdered by the Nazis in Poland.

Uranowitz, who is gay, ended with a plea to parents: “When your child tells you who they are, believe them.”

“Parade,” about the 1915 lynching of American Jew Leo Frank, won two prizes, including best revival of a musical. Alfred Uhry, who wrote the book to the original 1998 production of “Parade,” wore a Star of David lapel pin when he came up to accept the award for best revival.

Michael Arden, the show’s director, noted in his speech that Leo Frank had “a life that was cut short at the hands of the belief that one group of people is more or less valuable than another,” which he noted is “at the core of antisemitism, of white supremacy, of homophobia, of transphobia, of intolerance of any kind.”

Arden warned the crowd to learn the lessons of the show, “or else we are doomed to repeat the horrors of our history.” He concluded his speech with an expletive, bleeped out by the telecast, as he voiced his support of trans and nonbinary youth.

While “Parade” took the top prize, as well as best director of a musical, its Jewish stars Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond both lost out in their categories — Platt to “Some Like It Hot” star J. Harrison Ghee, and Diamond to “Kimberly Akimbo” star Victoria Clark. But Platt and Diamond did share a moment onstage, performing the “Parade” number “This Is Not Over Yet” in character as an imprisoned Frank and his wife Lucille.

The non-Jewish actor Sean Hayes won best actor in a play for his role as Oscar Levant, the real-life Jewish concert pianist, actor and entertainer who had lifelong struggles with mental illness, in “Good Night, Oscar.”

“This has got to be the first time an Oscar won a Tony,” Hayes quipped, adding that Levant’s “wit and irascibility and virtuosity is not only inspirational but a true original.”

There were several other Jewish moments at the show. Jewish Broadway legends John Kander (96 years old) and Joel Grey (91 years old) received the evening’s lifetime achievement awards, with Grey’s actress daughter Jennifer Grey presenting him with his honor. Among the pair’s many achievements: Kander composed and Grey starred in “Cabaret,” a musical set in Weimar-era Germany, and Grey mounted the recent successful Yiddish-language revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Kander is also the composer behind “New York, New York,” a new show whose musician characters include a Jewish refugee from Nazi-occupied Poland.

Miriam Silverman won the featured actress in a play award for her role in “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” a revival of a long-overlooked Lorraine Hansberry play about a Jewish bohemian couple in 1960s Greenwich Village.

Lea Michele, despite not being eligible for a Tony for taking over for Beanie Feldstein in “Funny Girl,” performed her signature tune from the show about the Jewish comedian Fanny Brice. “A Beautiful Noise,” a biographical jukebox musical about chart-topping Jewish pop crooner Neil Diamond, also snuck in a performance of “Sweet Caroline” despite not being nominated for anything. The crowd gamely sang along.

And an unexpected Jewish shoutout came near the end of the ceremony, when the cast of the musical comedy “Shucked,” a show about corn, performed a song instructing viewers about the many places where the vegetable can be enjoyed. Among the options: “Bring it to a bris!”

The post Antisemitism-themed ‘Leopoldstadt’ and ‘Parade’ are big Tony Awards winners appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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