‘Esther and the Secrets in the King’s Court’
Alon Shvut Community Center
December 9


The revival of Esther and the Secrets in the King’s Court made a very welcome return to the stage in Gush Etzion. Playing to a packed theater of women only, the thoroughly entertaining English-language musical, performed by the Raise Your Spirits Theater, sparkled with witty lyrics, dazzling costumes and upbeat music that rocked the house.

The classic story of Queen Esther, set to original music and wonderful choreography, with an all-female cast outfitted in 1920s garb, was riveting from start to finish. Under the able direction of Toby Klein Greenwald, the amateur cast – ranging in age from eight to 70 – sang and danced their hearts out as the Purim story unfolded in an array of brilliant song and dialogue.

To ensure that the audience wouldn’t miss a word of the cleverly crafted text, subtitles in English and Hebrew were projected on a background screen throughout the play.

Looking like the crew from Guys and Dolls, the large cast was flawless in their performance – from the regal Queen Esther (Avital Macales), the foolish King Ahashverosh (Elana Kronenberg), the dastardly Haman (Sharon Katz) and the wise Mordechai (Deena Lawi) to the ebullient townsfolk of Shushan and the chorus of delightful little children.

Songs like “Eunuchs in Tunics” and details like the town shoemaker wearing a black apron that read “Shushan shoeshine” affirmed the fact that the play was penned by people who really knew what they were doing.

Written in 2001 by Klein Greenwald, Arlene Chartoff and Sharon Katz in the throes of the intifada to give women some comic relief from the surrounding horrors of the time, the play was indeed a joy to experience.

The singing was superb, the dancing was divine, and the humor was hilarious. Not only did the play raise the spirits of the audience, but it impelled them to rise to their feet after the finale in a sustained and well-deserved standing ovation.

The performance schedule for January will be available at www.raiseyourspirits.org. All Raise Your Spirits productions are performed for audiences of females only.

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