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Puppets of 'Avenue Q' speak Hebrew
The Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q is the next big production to find a home in Israel following MAMMA MIA. Beginning on October 23, the show will be produced locally by Keren Or Productions and performed at Beit Lessin in Tel Aviv.
The musical is largely inspired by Sesame Street, but the characters are in their twenties and thirties, face adult problems, use profanity, and sing about adult themes - most prominently the main character's search for "purpose." There is even "full puppet nudity."
Most of the puppets are operated by actors onstage, who at times address each other directly. The set depicts several tenements on a rundown street in New York, not dissimilar to the original Sesame set.
After a 2003 opening on Broadway, the production garnered several Tony awards, spawned a Las Vegas show, a West End production and several international productions.
The show here will be directed by Moshe Kaftan and will star Roi Bar Natan, Idan Alterman, Tali Oren, Niki Goldstein, Michal Yanai, and Nir Shalmon among others. Miriam A. Shaviv
Yasmeen Godder has a home
To celebrate the opening of her studio, Home Field, at the Mandel Center in Jaffa, dancer choreographer Yasmeen Godder will present five of her works at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv from September 15-20, together with guest shows from Avi Belleli, Alona Rodeh and photographs by Tamar Lamm.
The dances include a revival of Sudden Birds (2002) with cellist Karni Postel; Aleena's Wall, Godder's first work in Israel; i feel funny today that won her New York's prestigious Bessie Award in 2001; Two Playful Pink that has received rave reviews around the world; and her latest piece, I'm Mean I Am, a collaboration with French and German dance companies that premiered in Berlin.
Born in Israel, Godder moved with her family to New York in 1984. There she studied dance and began to work as an independent choreographer in 1997. She moved back to Israel in 1999. She has won many prizes, and in 2004 was named an artist of the Cultural Excellence Foundation.
Ofira Henig finds new artistic outlet
Director Ofira Henig has been named to replace the outgoing artistic director of the Herzliya Theater Ensemble, Gedalia Besser. Henig began her career as in-house director at Habimah in 1989. Since then she has served as artistic director of the Israel Festival, the Jerusalem Khan Theater and the Ma'abada (Laboratory), in addition to freelance work in Israel and abroad.
Hers is a multicultural, multidisciplinary and fiercely honest approach to directing, and in recognition of her work she was awarded the Mifal Hapayis Landau Prize last year. Her most recent production was Black Rain, an apocalyptic meditation on mankind's lemming-like rush to disaster, for the Israel Festival. She will begin her term on September 1.
Children's Theater gets recognition
The second Israel Children's Theater Prize (ICTP) awards ceremony will take place at the Holon Mediatheque on September 6. Prizes will be awarded in 13 categories, chief among them a Best Production award for the very young, for children and for youth. There will also be an as yet unnamed lifetime achievement award winner.
The ICTP was established last year to increase both the prestige and public awareness of children's theater in Israel. ICTP also "turns the spotlight onto the hundreds of creative people working in the field who do not get the recognition they deserve," says Hagit Richbi-Nicolayevski, head of the International Association of Children's Theater in Israel (Assitej), who initiated the idea.
The Orna Porat Children and Youth Theater and the Holon Mediatheque lead the list of 18 nominations, with three each. They are followed by the Kibbutz Theater and the National Youth Theater with two a piece, including Sassgoniya (Variety) and Eight for One. One nomination each goes to other important children's theater companies, such as Dana Dvorin for Tuli Balbuli and the Nephesh Theater for I'll Get There.
As well as a statuette, some prizewinners will get cash prizes of NIS 10,000 and the winning productions will receive grants to help defray running costs. Assitej Israel is sponsoring the event.