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2014-08-15 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


August 15, 2014  RSS feed

Text: T T T

JCC & Federation and Straz theater group partner to present Jewish-themed ‘Last Night of Ballyhoo’

The Tampa JCC & Federation is partnering with the Jobsite theater company to bring the Jewish themed comedy, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, to the Straz Center’s Shimberg Playhouse next month.

The Last Night of Ballyhoo was commissioned for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, and was subsequently produced on Broadway, where it won the 1997 Tony Award for Best Play. Its author, Alfred Uhry, previously won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Driving Miss Daisy, as well as an Academy Award for the screenplay – the only playwright ever to win all three awards.

The play takes place in Atlanta during December 1939. Gone with the Wind is about to premiere on the big screen and Hitler is marching on Poland. The Freitag family – Jews so highly assimilated they have a Christmas tree in the front parlor – are obsessed with preparing for Ballyhoo, a lavish cotillion ball sponsored by their elite country club.

Thrown in the mix is an eligible bachelor who is an Eastern European Jew down from Brooklyn, familiar with prejudice but unable to fathom its existence within his own religious community. His presence prompts an examination of intra-ethnic bias, Jewish identity (or lack thereof) and beliefs. The family gets pulled apart and mended back together with plenty of comedy, romance, and unexpected revelations along the way.

The show is directed by Gavin Hawk, an acclaimed Tampa Bay area performer, professor and artistic director of A Simple Theater.

This is the second collaboration between the JCC and Jobsite, the resident theater company of the Straz Center. The two organizations previously partnered on the spring 2013 performance of Wendy Graf’s Behind the Gates.

As part of this partnership, a series of public forums will be held to discuss themes within and inspired by the play, not limited to Tampa’s Jewish community but inclusive of the greater community at large. Information on those forums as well as the private grand opening night performance hosted by the JCC will be made available soon.

The Last Night of Ballyhoo opens to the general public on Sept. 5 and runs through Sept. 28. Thursday, Sept. 4, is a special private grand opening night hosted by the JCC & Federation.

All tickets to public performances are $28. Rush tickets, subject to availability, for students, seniors, military and Theatre Tampa Bay members are $14 and are available as of 30 minutes prior to curtain with cash and valid ID.

A preview performance will be held on Sept. 3, with all tickets available in advance for $14.

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