Friday, December 19, 2014 Kislev 27, 5775

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
Son's film disputes commission's faulting his father in part for Yom Kippur debacle
MOVIE MANIA Father's daze? What better way to define the dizzying dips of befuddlement and undeniable deep sense of frustration that met Yair Elazar on his quest to find out about his mysterious father? Yair yearned for those evasive truths that would define the dad he knew only briefly since he died when Yair was only 10. But the missing...
Wishing "L'chaim" to Anna Deavere Smith is not so much a toast to good health as test of talent. Indeed, raising a glass in hope helps raise the bar of how high she is willing to go to expose the health-care experience that is in extremis in this country. If all the world's a stage, all the health-care industry should...
Who better than a Neshama to sing soul music? It certainly comes naturally to Neshama (Hebrew for "soul") Carlebach, the 36-year-old scion of the sensational spiritual leader/singer/composer Shlomo Carlebach, whose early death at 69 in 1994 left a hole in the soul of world music and spirituality as well. But his daughter has come a-healing and a-helping since, noting that...
This Jewish family has each other's back. Which makes stabbing all the much easier. Take a peep into the "Peep World" of the Meyerwitz clan, whose Patton-like patriarch (Ron Rifkin) acts as Jewish general to his ragtag rejects of an army/ family. Battle lines are drawn over the father's 70th birthday dinner where arguments and acrimony are rationed out to...
How do you spell out what you don't want your child to hear when she just won the 17th annual Scripps Regional Spelling Bee competition? No problem for David Greenberg and Marisol Villamil, who say it loud and say it proud: Their daughter has always been No. 1 in their book. Now they can book a trip to the national...


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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