SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 – There are seasons when there are plays with Jewish themes by Jewish writers. This is one of them. Sept. 24 will feature a staged reading of “Bereaved,” a timely recent play by prolific Israeli dramatist Joshua Sobol.
“Bereaved” focuses on two grieving couples – one Israeli, one Palestinian – each of whom has lost a child in the longstanding conflict. Israeli Stage founder Guy Ben-Aharon, who is directing the Boston Seaport reading at District Hall (79 Northern Ave., israelstage.com, 617-913-9396) has high praise for Sobol and his effort to find a “third option” to reach dialogue between the couples.
“Joshua Sobol reveals a common humanity on both sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” Ben-Aharon said.
The cast for this Sophocles-recalling tragedy will include Israeli Stage regulars Will Lyman and Maureen Keiller as well as Lonnie Farmer and Celeste Oliva.
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Getting a jump on the current season is the Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s revival of the 1993 Tony Award-winning musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” which runs through Oct. 5 (140 Clarendon St., lyricstage.com, 617-585-5678). Jewish collaborators John Kandor and Fred Ebb, both gay, probably identified in part with the show’s emotionally conflicted protagonist Molina, here played by Eddy Cavazos with a striking combination of spirit and uncertainty about his future.
Taavon Gamble effectively moves from homophobia to understanding as Molina’s new cellmate Valentin, arrested for working against Argentina’s fascist regime.
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The Watertown-based New Repertory Theatre will present a very different scenario in the New England premiere of the David Meyer play “We Will Not Be Silent” on the mainstage of the Mosesian Center for the Arts from Oct. 13 through Nov. 4 (321 Arsenal St., newrep.org, 617-923-8487). This historical drama centers on the strength and cost of defiance in Nazi Germany.
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Zeitgeist Stage Company – an award-winning company based at the Boston Center for the Arts – opens its regrettably last and 10th season with a timely contemporary play, ”Vicuña” by Jon Robin Baitz. The Jewish dramatist employs the title image of a political candidate’s handmade suit as an iconic metaphor. The tailor in question wonders to what extent his work has contributed to the nomination of a real estate tycoon and reality television star that will call to mind Donald Trump in an America dominated by fear and rage. The show runs through Oct. 6 (539 Tremont St., zeitgeiststage.com, 617-759-8836)
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Last but not least is the Broadway in Boston extended tour of “Hamilton” through Nov. 15 at the Opera House (539 Washington St., bostonoperahouse.com, 800-982-2787). Fascinating fact: Alexander Hamilton studied the Ten Commandments – in Hebrew, no less – from a Jewish teacher on the Caribbean island of Nevis. In the brilliant Lin Manuel Miranda musical, there is a curious “Ten Commandments of Dueling” number. A 2019 Harvard University press study will suggest that Hamilton may have actually been Jewish.