Thursday, December 18, 2014 Kislev 26, 5775

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
Class act: 'Best and Brightest' takes on kindergarten and those pushy parents
I have a 2-year-old, and damned if I'm going to let Neil Patrick Harris and Bonnie Somerville snap up the last space in preschool for their kid. Oh. Wait. I have to tell myself: It's only a movie. It's only a movie. But "The Best and the Brightest" may be the funniest in quite some time, with its focus on...
"Greenwich Village Hooligans"? Gee, why didn't he think of that, chuckles director/writer (with Michael Jaeger) Josh Shelov of what he could have called "The Best and the Brightest." Because, probably, the writer of "Green Street Hooligans" -- Shelov's acclaimed other major credit -- would have been repeating himself. And, one thing's for sure: Shelov is an original. It shines through...
Prodigy-cum-applauded Philly flutist strikes notes for history
How sweet the sound of the Dolce Suono Ensemble. And how sweet the sincerity of Mimi Stillman, the Philly flutist with a filigree of fame spread worldwide since founding the ensemble five years ago. For a flutist who flaunts an impressive bio that includes being the youngest wind player ever admitted to the Curtis Institute of Music -- she was...
Israelis trumpet their own jazz-jive in a major Philly festival
And all that -- Israeli jazz? Forget that bowler hat, Bob Fosse -- make it a kipah! The land of milk and honey and, as it turns out, trumpets and horns is about to blow any blowhards out of the sand dunes who think that the trill of it all has nothing to do with the Holy Land: Indeed, any...
Marc Erlbaum keeps Tinseltown attuned to tikkun olam
Marc Erlbaum seems just the kind of guy you'd want to hang out with over a cup of coffee -- which makes the premiere of "Cafe," set in the caffeinated grounds of West Philadelphia, an appropriate choice to perk up a conversation on the eve of its premiere at the Philadelphia Film Festival on Oct. 16.


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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