Friday, April 18, 2014 Nisan 18, 5774

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
Inevitably, it is the ineffable, unutterable urgency of 9/11 that calls out for conversation now. From the battle cry of "Let's roll" to the fatigued tears of "Let's talk," "United 93" director Paul Greengrass has his ear to the ground and his audience in the air as he's about to pry open the blighted black box of the unspeakable on...
"Out of Sight" - out of … mensch? It's the complete opposite as Sara Felder proves on stage where her one-woman show of a thousand feminine angles angles for the truth. Being a woman, after all, is a juggling act, so is it really any surprise that "Out of Sight" is out of the ordinary as she juggles God, Israel...
Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, the protean and ready for prime-time player Robert Smigel ponders which is harder - Eastertime for the Jews or "Christmastime for the Jews"? Well, he says, kibitzing that he may be too crabby - in a non- treif manner of speaking - to comment comically having been matzahed-out of his...
What happens when the disruptive sounds a mentally disabled artist hears in his own head find their way out onto the street? When the brain serves as a cacophonic symphony space for neurons and abnormalcy clashing against each other? In the case of Daniel Johnston, what happens is an arcane career and notoriety among the rock 'n' roiled crowd who...
When you're a JAP, you're a JAP all the way … "West Side Story"? Upper East Side Story! But wait - before the p.c. police are called out, Isabel Rose rises to its defense. "It's okay," says the singer/actress/writer of the tasteless tag given Jewish women who consider "charge!" cards a call to the mall. "This is about dashing stereotypes,"...


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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