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Preview Review: Next Year In Jerusalem

by Diánna Martin on October 30, 2009

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Next Year In Jerusalem - Elyse Mirto and Jake Robards

Next Year In Jerusalem - Elyse Mirto and Jake Robards

Halloween is a fun time to dress up and party, but this year I am doing something WAY cooler: I’m doing what I adore, which is seeing theatre. And what makes this so special is that I am catching the final performance of Next Year In Jersusalem by award-winning playwright Dana Leslie Goldstein.

One of the things that makes me super happy about it? It’s starring Elyse Mirto, who won the award for 2009 Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards this year for her role in Any Day Now (and it was one of my favorite shows of the year – I loved her performance), and deals with how a family’s heritage and one man’s life’s struggles for a better future for his daughters can sometimes be so difficult emotionally for everyone.

Elyse Mirto and Jake Robards as Abraham and Anna Mendel

Elyse Mirto and Jake Robards as Abraham and Anna Mendel

From the description:

As a young man, Abraham Mendel escaped Nazi occupied Poland and fled to Palestine, where he fought for Israeli independence, before immigrating to America to appease his pregnant wife. Now approaching retirement, Abraham wishes to leave his legacy to his two grown daughters. He offers security to his eldest, Rachel, by bestowing his successful contracting business on the loyal husband he chose for her. He also has a suitor in mind for his youngest, Faustine, an East Village bohemian with whom he is in constant conflict. As neither understands the sacrifices he has made for them, the tight grip Abraham has always exerted is shaken over Passover dinner, when his secrets and regrets become family knowledge.

I think about my father, whose family is descended from Puerto Rico and Spain, and the sacrifices they made for him…and the stories he tells me. This is about a Jewish family and life choices they make – but I think any well-told story about family sacrifices and if those sacrifices:

  1. Are necessary – and if so, to whom?
  2. Are appreciated
  3. Make a difference

It can make for some interesting theatre.

Although it’s nearing the end of its run, I am thrilled to be seeing it – I have a feeling that I will walk out of there having learned something … and with a cast like this, I’m like a kid two days before Christmas waiting for Santa.

Oh, wait; it’s October. Okay – the Great Pumpkin, then!

- – -

by award winning playwrite Dana Leslie Goldstein
Closing week
Wednesday Oct 28- Saturday 31st 8pm
The WorkShop Theater Co
312 W 36th St 4th floor.
212 695-4173 x5 or
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Antonio MiniñoNo Gravatar October 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Elyse Mirto gave one of the best acceptance speeches at the NY IT Awards this year, it had something to do with her dress and keeping her twins from popping out.

DiannaNo Gravatar November 3, 2009 at 10:58 am

Hahaha – that sounds like something she would say! I remember her talking about her dress still as I was moving her around afterwards to get her picture taken.

She’s very kind and funny. She is one of the most humble actresses I know who is quickly gathering work, notice, and acclaim. I expect to see her accepting a Tony or an Emmy at some point in the not too-distant future, yet, she is as down to earth as they get.

Those are the people that I cheer for – the GOOD actors who are Good People, too. The play was fantastic (review soon to come) but I felt she added a wonderful element to it that would have made the play lacking without her.

SandraNo Gravatar February 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I saw this play and loved the story- I really didn’t think Elyse Mirto’s performance in Next Year in Jerusalem was at all what a better actress could have done with such an important role– disappointed. didn’t hear the speech- sounds sophomoric- though liked the Any Day Now performance.

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