Monday, December 22, 2014 Kislev 30, 5775

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
Will the Yiddish police raid the Wilma?
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Wait, a minute, who you calling ... "Schmucks"? Nothing personal, just playful, muses Roy Smiles. He should know: Reviews have smiled down on the playwright's "Schmucks" since its debut in 1992 in London; it is about to receive a sweet 16 of an anniversary with a premiere staging here, at the Wilma Theater, opening this coming Wednesday after a series...
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Musicals like "Legally Blonde" don't just need lawyers to show all the right moves on putting together a success. They need a dance captain. Enter, stage right, Spencer Howard, J.D. -- Jewish dancer -- to show them the steps. Howard has his own Riff on success: After graduating from New York University just two years ago, the theater newbie found...
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Got (malted) milk? Now you do. But you don't need a milk moustache to milk the celebrity that comes with it. Among the many memories reminted by the JExpo Collection (jexposhop.com) , "an exclusive shop filled with uniquely Jewish themes," is a retro shirt that fills memories to a T: Do Dewey's Malted Milk Stores make you thirsty for the...
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On screen, spunky and spitting fire ... off, really just 'The Sweetest Thing'
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Pyrotechnic and pretty, Selma Blair sets "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" aflame. And now the acclaimed actress lights up the small screen with her turn as a vacuous vamp with mother issues that would have Oedipus putting his eyes out all over again in "Kath & Kim," a new Thursday-night NBC comedy just given an extra order of episodes. Extraordinary...
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Israeli dog as underdog? Could be its birthright. "I'd be surprised," says David Frei, "The National Dog Show" co-host/analyst for the past 49 years (that's seven in human years), about the Israeli breed to be shown in the best of shows of its kind airing Thanksgiving Day, noon to 2 p.m., on NBC. The can-do Canaan ... can't? "Hard to...
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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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