Saturday, September 20, 2014 Elul 25, 5774

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
Ron Tobin mixes it up in a mix of different cultures
You have to give a hand to Jews and Italians -- they're so good at using them. Audiences, too, have been using their hands to applaud the success of "My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish & I'm in Therapy," a Prozac-popping production of angst and antics at the Society Hill Playhouse. Ron Tobin totes two types of guilt as a...
Give a holler, and Ami Yares will come runnin'. Well, at least as long as it takes him to fly over from Israel. But he knows the route: The HOLLER! band co-founder hails from South Jersey, but he has traveled far and wide from his adopted home in Jaffa. Last stop: World Cafe Live, in which his American-influenced Holler held...
Mentalist Marc Salem may just have your number
If a mind is a terrible thing to waste, consider Marc Salem the maven of mental waste management. The mentalist with the mostest is setting his mind to his latest task: Wowing, amazing and mystifying those gathered before him for the AMIT Philadelphia Council/Shira Chapter meeting the evening of Nov. 20 at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn...
Marvin Comisky, a pre-eminent icon in the local legal community for some 50 years, died on Nov. 12 at the age of 92. Described by cohorts as a lawyer's lawyer, he was a founding partner and ultimately chairman emeritus of Blank Rome (which he joined in 1959), as well as one-time head of the local and state bar associations. Comisky...
Soviet émigré Sasha Farber's floor-burnin' gig lights up Philly
Yellow waxy buildup never had a chance against the dripping, streaking sensuality of the dancers who torch the tiles of "Burn the Floor." Or is it all a linoleum litmus test? Doesn't matter; when you're hot, you're hot -- and the dancers who sizzle smoke from mopping the floor with their Fahrenheit 500 don't so much answer "So You Think...


Michael Elkin has worked as the Exponent Arts & Entertainment and Features editors for some 40 years.

He has won some 40 national and regional writing awards over his career as well as three fellowships in playwriting and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

His arts articles — including working as a jazz critic for the Evening and Sunday Bulletin; book reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer; and rock reviewer/TV writer for the Camden Courier-Post  — and op-eds have appeared throughout North America; his plays have been staged internationally, including runs in Romania — one play running for  five years —  Israel, Germany, Los Angeles and, locally, the Walnut Street Theatre and People's Light and Theatre Company. He is a  Tony Award voter and is a member of a national new play selection committee handing out an annual award to an  up-and-coming playwright.

He worked as a mentor with the Philadelphia Young Playwrights' outreach program to area high schools and at one point headed up the playwriting program at the Walnut Street Theatre School.  His play "Cries in the Night" was cited in the book "The Best Plays of 1992-93," in the "New Plays From Around the Country" category. His travel articles have appeared nationally and he has worked as a travel editor for Fodor's Travel Guides.

As a screenwriter, he  was asked by filmmaker John Frankenheimer ("Birdman of Alcatraz," "The Manchurian Candidate"), with whom he then worked,  to write a script for Frankenheimer to direct.

He has moderated and taken part in national conferences both here and in New York on topics ranging from hip-hop/rap to theater to comedy and has served as a board member of film and theater arts groups.

Elkin has appeared on area TV and radio shows and served as arts critic for the cable program "Our Town." He has been cited in reference books for his investigative work on TV as an influential social medium. For his expertise in film and theater, Elkin was asked to — and did — serve as on-screen interviewer of actor Richard Dreyfuss in a documentary about the American Music Theater Festival, with which Dreyfuss was involved.

A graduate of Temple University — he also studied screenwriting at New York University and attended the University of Houston Bates School of Law — Elkin was honored to be Temple's commencement speaker in the mid-90s. He also taught journalism at Temple as well as screenwriting at La Salle University.



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