Aviella Trapido has come a long way from Oklahoma.
Soprano, who has been performing professionally since age nine, has had the lead
role in several Jerusalem productions, including an acclaimed performance in
, and many other wholesome plays with fairy-talelike happy
In her first undertaking behind the scenes as a director,
Trapido took upon herself a much more intense storyline in Stephen Sondheim’s
. The show debuted last week and has seven more performances at the
Association of Americans and Canadians (AAC I) in Israel’s Max and Gianna
Glassman Center in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood.
The production deals
with relationships from the perspective of a 35-year-old bachelor with many
married friends in New York City. While the show is full of humor, it addresses
serious issues like drugs, divorce, one-night stands and
Normally such issues would be considered risque for
audiences in a city as conservative as Jerusalem. The AAC I, which often caters
to seniors, might be an unlikely host for such controversial
But Trapido and her stellar cast and crew have succeeded in
finding the appropriate balance to make the show appealing, entertaining and
inoffensive to a wide spectrum of Jerusalemites, regardless of age and religious
observance. No audience members have left or complained thus far and responses
from the crowds have exceeded the crew’s expectations.
member will be able to connect to the show,” Trapido said in an interview
following a dress rehearsal. “Anyone – even people in a healthy relationship –
will be able to relate to the characters.”
Trapido, who despite her vast
experience is still in her 20s, said that when Raphi Poch of AACI’s J-Town
Playhouse Theater approached her to direct, she had no idea how much work it
would be. But she said the cast she picked is so professional that they made it
easy on her.
“I’m surprisingly better at being a boss than I thought it
would be,” she said. “It means handling stressful situations and being sensitive
to the cast’s needs and abilities, but it’s so worth it. We have become a
Trapido said that putting on a Sonheim show is a challenge,
because he weaves together strong messages, beautifully executed in such a
humorous way. More than 80 people auditioned for the play, including 14 for the
lead role of Bobby.
Native Israeli Isaac Sutton, who regularly performs
at Tel Aviv’s acclaimed Cameri Theater, was chosen for Bobby. As Trapido puts
it: “When he walked in the door, we just knew.”
Sutton described Bobby as
his “dream role,” and he clearly put his heart and soul into his
The show features 14 actors – Anglos and Israelis, from
Jerusalem to Tel Aviv – ranging in age from 22 to 51, and a professional
six piece band that plays an important role in setting the tone and the pace
throughout the play.
Together, they present Bobby’s world, which he
constantly questions as he attempts to understand what he is looking for in a
woman and in life. While the play debuted in the 1970s, it is as relevant as
ever, exposing relationships for what they really are – imperfect and often
THE PRODUCTION’S memorable songs help tell
the story and give it verve. Its most well known songs include “The Ladies Who
Lunch,” “(Not) Getting Married Today,” and “Being Alive.”
performances are delivered by Rebecca Sykes, who was cast from America before
moving to Israel, as well as Shannon Kisch, Leora Elman, Howie Metz, Shahaf
Ifhar, Noa Lavi-Shoseyov, David Djemal, Avital Sykora, Tom Karni, Ron Orlovsky,
Naomi Winkler, Alina Halpert and Ashley Shapiro.
Crew members include
Poch and three Aryehs: Krasman, Supperstein and Kaufman.
anything away, Trapido describes the show’s conclusion as not the typical happy
ending one would find in a show like Oklahoma
but a hopeful one
“A lot of people like happy endings but it’s not reality,”
she said. “This is reality. It’s not a fluffy show. It addresses serious issues,
but I think Jerusalem audiences are ready.”
Company runs October 17
though 2. Admission: NIS 80. Special discounts for students, soldiers, AACI
members and groups of 10 or more. In English. For more info contact (02)
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