On April 30, Jewish Theatre of the South opens its final production, the comedy The Last Schwartz (pictured). Harry Stern served as executive director of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta for 12 of JTS' 13 seasons and nurtured the partnership of the two groups. Stern picks his five favorite shows from the theater's history.
- Beau Jest (1995): "[JTS artistic director] Mira Hirsch starred in it, and it was the first time that I saw her act. Loved it. Much controversy with some rabbis, who called me to say 'How could you produce a play that "promotes" intermarriage?' I had to have a Q&A session led by our Jewish educator after the show. I remember asking myself, 'Do I need this?' and concluding, 'Absolutely!'"
- Born Guilty (1997): "At the 14th Street Playhouse. Young Germans discover that their homes in Germany were stolen from dispossessed Jews by their parents. Very powerful."
- Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh! The Allan Sherman Musical (1998): "Wasn't sure that we could pull off comedy. This show convinced me that we could."
- The Chosen by Chaim Potok (2001): "Powerful drama about intergenerational tensions and uncertainties about Jewish continuity. Showed me that we could effectively mount productions of intense and subtle conflict and dialogue that was popular."
- Hard Love (2008): "Again, the tortured conflict that so many Jews experience about intramarriage – between one orthodox, one secular – and the deep suspicion with which it is regarded by so many Jews. It was a real tour de force for Mira and Chris Kayser. So, unfortunately for our community – Jewish and non-Jewish – it appears that we approach the end of an era of meaningful, daring theater that explores and, in many ways, represents our conflicted and complicated Jewish souls. It will be missed – at least for now."
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