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Roots of Jewish Theater in America

Temple Emek Shalom has gathered a number of theater people to explore the place of Jews in the heart of American theatre and the place of theatre in the heart of American Jews. The temple will present an afternoon of performance, lectures and music on those themes from — to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 29, at 1800 E. Main St., Ashland.

The event will open with a scene from "The Melting Pot" by Israel Zangwill, performed by students from Southern Oregon University and directed by Maggie McClellan. Following the performance Liz Eckhart will lead an interactive discussion.

The program continues with a lecture by Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor Tony Heald on "Jews at the Roots of American Theatre." There will be readings of humorous letters and editorials from "How We Lived: A Documentary History of Immigrant Jews in America" by Irving Howe and Kenneth Libo. The Temple Klezmer Orchestra directed by David Young will provide Yiddish music.

Lenny Neimark will direct the event, which also will feature Catherine Coulson, Dori Appel, Deborah Elliott and Holly Neimark.

Heald is appearing in his fourth season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as Boris Simyonov-Pischik in "The Cherry Orchard" and Tartuffe in "Tartuffe." He has worked on Broadway where he was nominated for two Tony Awards; off-Broadway where he received three Obie Awards; and has worked extensively in film and television.

Coulson has been a member of the acting company at Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the past 14 years. Prior to her tenure at OSF Catherine worked in film television and theater in Los Angeles.

Appel has been the recipient of several national and regional awards for her plays, including the Oregon Book Award/Angus Bowmer Award in Drama, in 1998, 1999 and 2001. Her plays, "Girl Talk" and "Hot Flashes," both co-authored with Carolyn Myers, are published by Samuel French.

Eckhart graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Reed College in 1989 and did her graduate work in literary theory at Duke University. She taught courses in Shakespeare and World Literature at SOU from 1998-2006.

Elliott was the publicist at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for eight years and is a founding member of the comedy-improv troupe The Hamazons. She currently serves as the Cantorial Soloist at Temple Emek Shalom.

Holly Neimark earned her BFA in Theatre from SOU and studied at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She has performed on stages in Oregon and California, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She has played Nora in Ibsen's "A Doll House," Frankie in "Frankie Johnny in the Clair de Lune," and Celia Pope in "A Hatful of Rain."

Lenny Neimark has a bachelor of arts degree in theater and master of fine arts in film from UCLA. He has written, co-produced or directed various works for the stage, including award-winning productions of Ibsen's "A Doll House" and Terrence McNally's "A Perfect Ganesh," both at the former Actors' Theatre.

Young is an Ashland teacher, musician and performer who directs and performs with The Bar Misfits Klezmer Band, The Young Klezmer Trio, The Temple Klezmer Orchestra, Shabbat Shirah Players, and Jerry Attrick The Pacemakers.

Homemade, "old world" refreshments will be sold during intermission.

Tickets are $10 for non-members, $5 for members and are available in advance through the Temple office, or at the door on the day of the event. Call 488-4451.