Arts in Brief: Theater Prize nominees announced

Also, Verdi's 'Nabucco' comes to Masada; 'Alice in Wonderland' sets records.

masada stage 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
masada stage 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Theater Prize nominees announced
Nominations for the 2009 Israel Theater Prize were announced Monday with the Cameri Theater in the lead (15 nominations), followed by Bet Lessin and the Jerusalem Khan (10 each). Rather than the 120-member Academy, a committee of nine, headed by retired Judge Shelly Timmen, has chosen the 39 finalists competing in 15 categories. To choose the winners in each, the nine will be joined by eight representatives from the various performing arts associations.
Best Play honors are divided among original and translated. They include Savyon Librecht’s The Banality of Love, a sensitive foray into the 50-year romance between Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger, Ido Riklin’s masterly adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo and another delicious adaptation, Gogol’s The Nose, directed by Shay Fituvski. Best Play presumably incorporates Best Director and Best Playwright since both are among the categories dropped.
The ceremony is May 14 at the Gesher Theater in Jaffa.
    • Helen Kaye
Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’ comes to Masada
Israel Discount Bank, which is subsidizing the larger-than-life production of Verdi’s opera ‘Nabucco’ at the foothills of Masada in May and June, has reserved the two premiere performances of the opera (on May 31 and June 2) for its clients only.
The bank has invested about NIS 3 million in the show and a special party, which will take place at the site. An advertisement campaign, starring TV presenter and stand-up comedian Israel Katorza, will be aired Channels 2 and 10, as well as on Internet sites, starting today.
According to Israeli Opera Director General Hanna Munitz, the production will allows a major exposure of Israeli culture to both tourists from abroad and the local public. “This production gives start to the new Open Air Opera Festival, which will take place every summer at the foothills of Masada, with major international stars participating in the most popular operas,” she said. 
Tickets for two other performances of ‘Nabucco’ are already sold out. About 3.000 tourists from abroad are expected to arrive in Israel especially for the occasion.
Daniel Oren, an Israeli maestro with a globe-trotting career, will conduct the huge production, which includes the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion and the Tel Aviv Philharmonic Choir, as well as international soloists Paata Burchuladze, Sergey Murzaev and Dimitra Theodossiou.    
• Maxim Reider
‘Alice in Wonderland’ setting records
Alice in Wonderland, the classic Lewis Carroll tale re-imagined in 3-D by director Tim Burton, made $116.3 million in US and Canadian ticket sales for Walt Disney Co. last weekend, the sixth-biggest opening ever.
The movie also set records for the best March debut and the largest opening weekend of the year, according to Alice is the first film ever to cross the $100 million mark in the January-to-March period.
Alice, which stars Johnny Deppas the Mad Hatter, opened in 3,728 US theaters with 2,063 3-D screensand on an additional 188 in Imax 3-D, according to Moviestudios are turning to 3-D films to bolster attendance and ticket salesfollowing the record box-office success of Avatar, James Cameron’s 3-D epic. Cinemas on average charge about $3 more per ticket for a 3-D film. said Alice also is the biggest 3-D film opening ever, as well as the largest in Imax history ($11.9 million).
Worldwide, the movie made $210.3 million, the box-officer tracker said.
     • Bloomberg