Thursday, August 21, 2014 Av 25, 5774

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
Come Thanksgiving, no one will beat Shayna Rose to the drumsticks. How could they? She's been twirling and handling them spectacularly already as Marina, the dreamboat/drummer/ heartbeat of "The Fresh Beat Band," the rockin' role she has on Nickelodeon's niche program for musical newbies. A series that attracts minions from the mini-crowd ... the "Band" plays to the preschool set;...
Yisrael Campbell talks of cutting-edge movie, play -- and his Catholic background in Philly
They say the man works for tips. Dunno. Seems "Circumcise Me" comic Yisrael Campbell has his future pretty much sewn up. The unorthodox Orthodox star of the documentary -- opening the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival on Saturday night, Oct. 24 -- and his off-Broadway play of the same name could have been as easily called "Yisrael Scissorhands." Three times? Really?...
Hear about the guy who had one circumcision after another? Finally, he caved, knock-kneed; they got it ... rite! Joel Shoulson understands his pain; the Main Line resident is, after all, one of the premier and in-demand mohels in the region, has been for decades. But that titillating title of "Circumcise Me" -- starring Yisrael Campbell with the director's cut...
Coen duo writes of Jewish rites of passage -- Midwest-style
No country for old men? It's not looking so hot for younger ones either. Welcome to Coen Country: Sibs Ethan and Joel -- blood-soakers both from their previous effort -- sluice and juice their Jewish background in "A Sensitive Man," opening Oct. 16. Old men, sensitive men ... maybe it's Alan Alda country instead. But, no, they've taken the Marlboro...
Reel drama -- that was the cinematic split up between the two factions running what had been the Philadelphia Film Festival. Now the TLA and the Philadelphia Film Society have gone their separate but equal ways, but there's no less pop in the popcorn to tell the difference. Pfft for the PFF? Hardly: The TLA has come up with its...


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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