By Sharon Wisch-Ray
I owe my happy almost 21-year marriage to a JCC singles party. That’s right, it was the Summer Luau of 1988 where I first met Alex, and he captured my heart. Our first date was shortly after and the rest as they say is history. I don’t think that the luau is still a summer staple, however, the annual Dec. 24 singles party, the Matzoh Ball, has grown to epic proportions. This year’s venue, the House of Blues (2200 North Lamar) will set the stage for all singles 21 and over to mix and mingle. There will be hundreds of Jewish singles, a cash bar, drink specials, music, photo booth, self parking for a fee and kosher snacks from Aderet. The dress for the evening is Rock Star Casual! The cost for admission is $25 for JCC Members (membership card required) and $30 for non-members. You may pay at the door (exact change preferred) or to avoid the lines, pre-register at www.jccdallas.org. Premium Bottle Service Rock Star Packages are available this year which include a bottle of liquor, all the kosher mixers, reserved seating for the night and six admission tickets. These must be purchased in advance by going to www.jccdallas.org. The Matzoh Ball is in its 32nd year and is presented by the JCC and The Network. Co-chairs are Jody Martin and Robert Solimani. For more information, contact the JCC at 214-739-2737 or go to www.jccdallas.org.
Shalom Singles to mingle on Dec. 24.
Jan Naxon tells us that Shalom Singles will also be getting together on Dec. 24 for a potluck Chanukah party. At 6:30 p.m., the 40-60 age crowd will gather for their own version of a holiday party, in a warm and inviting atmosphere of a North Dallas private clubhouse. The evening will include fun, friendship, food, latkes, wine, mixers, games, music by a DJ and lots of schmoozing.
The gathering will be held at the Pagewood Clubhouse, 7515 Highmont Street in Dallas. Attire is party casual. There is a $10 cover charge per person, plus a food item or bottle of wine.
Shalom Singles is sponsored by Temple Shalom of Dallas. It is in its fifth year of providing activities including happy hours, brunches, pool parties, sports bars at game time and more for singles from 40-60. Events are open to the community.
For more information or to RSVP, contact hosts Jan Naxon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 214-662-3455 or Roger Zelinsky, air
JWV members join Veterans Recovery Center Basement Band
The Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary #256 joined forces with the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post #256 of the Jewish War Veterans as they participated in the annual Thanksgiving dinner that they host at the Veterans Administration hospital in Dallas.
The JWV and the Auxiliary, in addition to supplying and serving the thanksgiving dinner to the homeless veterans each year, made this year extra special. Auxiliary President LuAnn Bergman was the main vocalist along with the VA’s newly formed Veterans’ Recovery Center Basement Band that entertained the homeless veterans at this annual dinner.
As a part of the Auxiliary’s ongoing deeds of loving kindness to the veterans at the VA hospital on Lancaster Road in South Dallas, musical instruments were donated by the Auxiliary. LuAnn and her husband, Doug, assisted in making these instruments a part of this newly formed Veterans Recovery Center Basement Band.
LuAnn’s volunteer work and the enjoyment she has had in weekly practice sessions with these veterans, has launched her own, heretofore latent joy in singing to the extent that she is now a permanent ‘recruit’ as the lead vocalist with the Veterans Recovery Center Basement Band. Doug has been volunteering on this project as well, and has become a guitarist with the band.
The veterans love having them participate. Recently, the band was invited to perform at Temple Emanu-El’s weekly Tuesday luncheons. Auxiliary member Diane Benjamin sat at the luncheon with one of the mothers of the performing veterans who remarked to Diane: “My son hadn’t spoken or smiled since he returned home from his service, and now that he is a part of this band, he has come out of his depression and smiles all the time and can’t wait to attend the practice with the band!”
The Auxiliary is proud of this effort in not only donating the musical instruments, but is even more proud of LuAnn for making these donations a valuable assist to enabling our returning veterans an opportunity to heal while they have helped to heal the world with their own service. For more information on how you can also make a difference as a member of the Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary, contact LuAnn at 214-320-3712.
Modi to appear at the JCC
After just wrapping up two successful performances of “Annie Jr.,” the JCC will host Israeli-born comedian Modi on Jan. 8 in the Zale Auditorium. Modi has been hailed as one of the Top 10 comics of New York City. There will be a special appearance by ventriloquist Martin Golman and his “dummy” Todd Chanon.
The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be ordered online at jccdallas.org or by calling 214-739-2737. For more information, contact Judy Cohn at 214-239-7115 or Bev Broman at 214-239-7112.
Dallas native makes Broadway producing debut
By age 9, Staci Levine was producing musical and dance revues with neighborhood kids in her Oak Cliff backyard. November 21st, 2011 marked a major venue and cast upgrade as Staci made her Broadway debut as producer for “An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin” at the Barrymore Theatre in New York City.
Staci launched the touring production of the Patti-Mandy concert in 1997 and the show has since toured to 30 U.S. cities as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The critically acclaimed concert finishes the nine-week Broadway run on Jan. 13.
Staci attended Sunset High School in Oak Cliff and The University of Texas in Austin, where she studied political science with hopes to work on Capitol Hill (influenced by years of working on Democratic campaigns with her dad Steve Levine).
While in Austin, she was sidetracked by her love of dance and began managing the semi-professional dance company, Third Coast Jazz. Performing as a kid (Stubblefield School of Dance, Sunset Bisonettes and school musicals), Staci never imagined a career on the other side of the curtain, but through the dance company, she realized she could make a living doing what she loved most.
Staci then became the program director for Believe In Me, the Austin branch of the National Dance Institute created by Jacques d’Amboise.
Moving to New York City in 1997, Staci worked for the Broadway production company, Dodger Theatricals. There she worked on numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions including “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Titanic,” “The King & I,” “Footloose,” “High Society, Blast!,” “The Music Man,” “42nd Street,” “1776,” “Wrong Mountain,” “Into the Woods,” “Barbra’s Wedding,” “Bare,” “Urinetown,” “Dracula” and “Good Vibrations,” as a member of the general management team.
It was at the Dodgers that Staci met Mandy Patinkin and began managing his one-man show, “Mandy Patinkin in Concert,” which she still oversees today as producer.
With her own production company, Groundswell Theatricals, and in addition to the Patti-Mandy concert and Mandy’s solo concerts, Staci produces John Lithgow’s one-man show “Stories By Heart,” which recently made three tour stops in Texas, performing in Tyler, Galveston and Austin.
Staci has produced works by the playwright David Simpatico including the play “Mary” and the musical drama “The Screams of Kitty Genovese,” which recently played theater festivals in London and Edinburgh. As general manager, Staci oversaw the Off-Broadway play “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” by Fassbinder and was the general manager for dre.dance, a contemporary dance company created by Taye Diggs and Andrew Palermo.
Living full-time in Manhattan, Staci visits Texas quite often. Her parents, Linda and Steve Levine, still reside in Kessler Park and her brother and sister in-law reside in Austin with the newest addition to the family, Stella Jordan Levine.