Tuesday, October 21, 2014 Tishri 27, 5775

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
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With all her bigtime Broadway credits as producer, who knew that Ruth Hendel was also involved in an off-Broadway fringe festival? "I've been making tallitsim for almost 20 years," she reveals, recalling her start a few years before her son -- now 29 -- had his Bar Mitzvah. Over the years, she has made more than a triple-chai's worth for...
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'Fela!' follows a Nigerian music legend on a relatable path
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Commended commodities broker Stephen Hendel probably wouldn't trade the hot product he has now for anything. But he will talk about it: "Fela!," says the producer of the multi-award-winning musical that has broken barriers and hearts, and also snare-drummed three Tony Awards in June, has changed his life. The musical's done quite a number on Broadway as well. Based on...
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The heartfelt hurt that infuses Fela Anikulapo-Kuti's keen cry of power to the people can not be more powerfully felt than the jeremiad that jets from the mouth of Sahr Ngaujah, the Tony Award-nominated actor/artist who portrays "Fela!" on stage. If his let-my-people-go wail wallops the core of the soul, chills with the power of ice applied to the spine,...
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Call him what you will, but don't call him late for 'Dinner'
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"Dinner for Schmucks"? "Oh, a film about the family hour," reacts a Jewish captain of industry who gets stripped of his stripes and decommissioned/degraded to private parts as soon as he steps over the threshold of his home. There's nothing Jewish about "Dinner for Schmucks," opening July 30, except the title -- but it is a title that has produced...
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"Scene" found a surreal sense of relief in listening to the "Mad Mel Tapes." Blacks, women, gays ... Thank God. And here, "Scene" thought it was just Jews. Misery loves company and now, it seems, Jews have plenty of it when it comes to the Road Warrior's war against humanity. Who knew that Braveheart was really Chicken Little? That Mel's...
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Profile

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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