More Theater J in the News

There’s Sandra News and Theo News. Let’s start with Dateline Miami, from the Miami Herald, October 2, by Christine Dolen

A star and a producer, together again


During the 25 years that Arnold Mittelman was producing artistic director of the still-shuttered Coconut Grove Playhouse, award-winning actor and singer Theodore Bikel appeared at Miami’s oldest regional theater a number of times.  He was there in The Disputation in 1999, back later that year in The Gathering, starred in The Chosen in 2004 and was part of the theater’s final season as the star of About Time(opposite Patricia Conolly) in 2006.


Mittelman learned that Bikel would be premieringSholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears at Washington D.C.’s Theater J Dec. 17-Jan. 11, he persuaded Bikel to follow that run with one at Fort Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse.  Bikel, pianist Tamara Brooks and Bosnian accordion player Merima Kljuco will appear at the Parker Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2009, under the auspices of Mittelman’s two not-for-profit companies, The American Theater Festival and the National Jewish Theater.  Last season, Mittelman presented The Soul of Gershwin (a show he had brought to the Grove in 2002) at the Parker, and he plans to bring it back again Nov. 12-23.

Tickets for Bikel’s Sholom Aleichem are $32.50-$65, and they go on sale Saturday, Oct. 4.  Performances will be 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. For information, call the box office (which is handled by the Broward Center) at 954-462-0222 or visit the Parker web site.

* * *

And now the Sandra postings. Our controversy has spread to Boston. Read this pretty interesting close reading of our blog, of Sandra’s statements, and parsing the past and the present. And here’s the original Huffington Post article in which Sandra talks much more about what she said during the first preview performances at Theater J.

The bottom line for me? I called Rosie’s Place in Boston and left a message for the director of development there. The women’s shelter seems to do incredibly important work for battered and homeless women. It’s an organization near and dear to Sandra’s heart. I let them know that Sandra’s show here in DC was a thoroughly crowd-pleasing, wide-ranging, hilarious and hopeful piece and that we endorsed Sandra and her piece wholeheartedly. No amount of internet chatter would dissuade us from presenting her.

As to the question, “did she or didn’t she” say the offending phrase at our theater? The answer is “no.” She never said the phrase “gang rape.” She’s right to deny ever uttering that phrase. And it’s absolutely the wrong descriptor to remember her show or her act by. How bout “takes no prisoners.” How bout “call the shit in,” as she actually says on the video. Rock on, Sandra Bernhard, in the face of scurrilous internet chatter.


2 thoughts on “More Theater J in the News

  1. You mean, the NY Daily News needs to be pulled up on reporting a mistruth? That Sandra Bernhardt never said, “gang rape” by her “big black brothers” if Sarah Palin ever came to NYC?? Please, tell me the truth b/c if this was a lie printed by the NY Daily News, I should be writing them and not the theatre!

  2. It is technically quite true that Sandra never said “gang rape.” Did she use the “R” word once, for one or two performance during this three week run? Yes. She used the “R” word. But she never said “gang rape” and she never said “My big black brothers.” So the quote, as Sandra suggests on her website, is inaccurate.

Comments are closed.