Bringing classic and contemporary Jewish theater to Seattle

SJTC has presented a range of Jewish-themed plays at venues throughout the Seattle area, beginning in 2011 with Jennifer Maisel’s award winning and very contemporary family drama The Last Seder. With sold-out performances at Temple Beth Am in Seattle and Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue the company was  launched on its mission of bringing classic and contemporary Jewish plays to the Seattle area..

The Last Seder was followed by the  classic play by Arnold Pearl that first introduced the world of Yiddish theater to Broadway theater goers, The World of Sholom Aleichem. SJTC brought the play to a variety of Jewish and non-Jeiwsh venues, including Herzl Ner Tamid on Mercer Island for the Washington State Jewish Historical Society,  the Kline Galland Home in Seward Park, The Summit at First Hill, Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue and the Presbyterian Retirement Community Skyline at First Hill.

 

The Tony-award winning romantic comedy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry, author of Driving Miss Daisy, was the company’s next offering and that too was well received at Temple Beth Am and Temple De Hirsch Sinai on Capitol HIll.  Previews of scenes from the play were a hit at the Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Jewish Film Festival. 

 

On January 20 SJTC brought a comedy performance of

the classic Abbot and Costello  routine “Who’s On First?” to the Washington State Jewish Historical Society event celebrating Jews in Sports. Two members of the  company, Carol Sage Silverstein and Marc Mayo,  performed live on stage for an audience of 150 people at Congregation Ezra Bessaroth.

In February and March the company will bring Susan Sandler’s romantic comedy Crossing Delancey to locations throughout Seattle including a return engagement at the Uptown Theater on Queen Anne for the Seattle Jewish

Film Festval. We’ll also be at at the Seattle Public Library, Kenyon Hall in West Seattle, Congregation Ezra Bessaroth in Seward Park, the Summit on First Hill. Temple B’nai Torah in Bellevue and Temple Beth Am in Seattle.

Seattle Magazine Profiles SJTC

Interview by Brangien Davis, from the November 2011 issue:

Art Feinglass, SJTC director

Art Feinglass is bringing Jewish theater to center stage. Image credit: Adam Reitano.

BD: Why did you start the Seattle Jewish Theater Company?

AF: I felt the need to create something personally meaningful and significant. Being Jewish is important to me. While I’m not religious, I do very much appreciate the rich Jewish cultural heritage, especially in theater. I would like to introduce the great plays—provocative dramas, warm comedies, delightful musicals—that have grown out of the Jewish heritage and continue to reflect and interpret that heritage today.

BD: What is a Jewish play?

AF: To my mind, a Jewish play is a play that touches on some aspect of the Jewish experience, and that definition can be fairly flexible. We’ll be performing, in English translation, classics of the great Yiddish theater that delighted audiences in the 19th and early 20th centuries; holiday-based pageants from the Sephardic Jewish tradition; more contemporary award-winning plays by writers like Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, David Mamet, Herb Gardner, Donald Margulies and Wendy Wasserstein; and cutting-edge works by emerging new playwrights.

BD: Do you have to be Jewish to participate?

AF: I remember years ago there was a famous poster in the New York subway of a little Asian boy happily enjoying a sandwich made with Levy’s rye bread. The tagline read, “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s.” That’s how I feel about the Seattle Jewish Theater Company. You don’t have to be Jewish to be in the cast, the crew or the audience.