Saturday, December 27, 2014 Tevet 5, 5775

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
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The state and stature of American Jewish museums was "Exhibit A" last week at the annual conference of the institutions' directors and programmers, held at the spanking new National Museum of American Jewish History. Gathered at the museum on Independence Mall -- with tours and side trips to such nearby sites as the Constitution Center and Temple Judea Museum at...
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Four questions? More like a score. That's what playwright Matthew Lopez has raised in "The Whipping Man," his Civil War drama of uncivil behavior between peoples, now playing off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Club at New York City Center. Of all those raised, possibly the key question is: Why is this play different from all others? Because this one brings...
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Short and sweet -- and powerful. Oscar-nominated in the short documentary category, the 39-minute "Strangers No More" is a golden rule about a school that does the strangest thing of all -- it works miracles where the magic of life otherwise seems to have been stripped of all its abracadabra. Set in Tel Aviv's Bialik-Rogozin, a magnet school for impoverished,...
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As members of "A Chorus Line" understand, everything is beautiful at the ballet. Obviously, they haven't seen "Black Swan." Multinominated for Academy Awards-- with leading lady Natalie Portman poised to make her pas de deux with Oscar this Sunday -- "Black Swan" offers a portal into ballet at its blackest. It is "The Red Shoes" at its bloodiest, dripping crimson...
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Does "The King's Speech" have a Jewish accent? The odds-on favorite to snare the Oscar for best picture at the awards ceremonies on Feb. 27, is this sentimental sensation about English King George VI's stammer more Hollywood than history? Without doubt, as George VI, Colin Firth is first of firsts in portrayals this year; indeed, the golden statuette has started...
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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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