Dallas Doings: Book club anniversary, Seussical Jr.

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Tiferet Israel Congregation’s Book Club celebrates 10th anniversary April 12

Tiferet Israel Congregation’s Book Club celebrates its 10th anniversary on April 12. Sonia Meltzer, the founder and facilitator of the book club’s meetings will lead a discussion about the book Between Gods: A Memoir by Alison Pick, best-selling novelist and Canadian Jewish Book Award winner.
Meetings are held at 7 p.m. at Tiferet Israel (10909 Hillcrest Road, Dallas) and everyone is welcome to attend. Anniversary cake will be served.
Sonia organized the book club in the spring of 2006 and the group has met every other month since its founding. All of the 60 books discussed have some type of Jewish theme.
Sonia moved from South Africa to the United States in 1977 and finally found Texas and Tiferet Israel in 1978. She graduated from UTD with a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with coursework in Holocaust studies; literature; history; and history of criticism, taste and aesthetics. Her knowledge in these areas helps her bring insightful revelations to the variety of books being discussed at the book club.
She currently teaches historical fiction and Holocaust studies in the SAIL (Seniors Active In Learning) program at Collin College and she has served as the vice president of programming for Tiferet Israel since 2008.
In addition to the meeting April 12, Sonia is organizing a group to attend the presentation by Alison Pick at the Dallas Jewish Bookfest being held at the JCC on April 14 at 7 p.m.
Tiferet Israel, founded in 1890, is celebrating its 126th anniversary as a leading religious organization in the Dallas Jewish community. Over the last 23 years, Tiferet has become known locally, nationally and internationally as the home of the largest and longest-running Kosher Chili Cook-off.
For more information on the Tiferet Israel Book Club, please contact Jennifer Williams at 214-691-3611 or jwilliams@tiferetdallas.org.

— Submitted by Jennifer Williams

3 performances remain for Seussical Jr.

Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and even the Grinch are coming to town.
The Jewish Community Center of Dallas’ Performing Arts Program presents the pop musical Seussical Jr., comprising two casts with actors ages 6-18. The junior cast performed Thursday, March 31 and the senior cast performs at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 10. All performances will take place in The J’s Zale Auditorium at 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for children and seniors in advance. Tickets can be purchased online.
Seussical Jr. is inspired by the musical Seussical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, which is based on the books of Dr. Seuss. It debuted on Broadway in 2000. The J’s production of Seussical Jr. will feature a more contemporary setting in an urban jungle and interactive opportunities for the audience (including a prop bag). The artistic staff for both productions includes many North Texas stage veterans. The senior cast is directed and choreographed by Linda Leonard. Byron Holder is the music director and Stephanie Goudy is the stage manager. The junior cast is directed by Ryan Matthieu Smith. Erich de la Torre is the assistant director. Pam Holcomb McLain is the music director, Michael Albee is choreographer and Hillary Nichols is stage manager.
“It’s been wonderful watching the kids come alive through the power of performance during rehearsal,” said Alise Robinson, manager of The J Performing Arts Program. “We wanted to create a whimsical, magical, musical extravaganza, and I think it’s something that adults and children can enjoy together.”
To help keep young theatergoers engaged with the beloved characters created by Dr. Seuss after the show, Half Price Books will be on-site to sell Seuss and other related books in the lobby during the matinee show April 10.
“Seussical Jr. is the perfect way to get kids excited about reading,” said Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Half Price Books. “We are thrilled to partner with The J’s Performing Arts Program for the mutually beneficial goal of sparking a passion for literature among children that will follow them through life.”
Additionally, as part of its mission to expose children to more live theater, The J donated 100 tickets (50 per cast) to North Texas nonprofit organization Educational First Steps. The organization will distribute these tickets to families within its affiliated daycare and preschool partners.

Senior Cast

The senior cast comprises 35 actors including: Miles Alexander, Jessica Aftergut, Kathryn Baxter, Ayla Blumberg, Nola Carroll, Ellie Carter, Haley Coleman, Erin Edwards, Lindsey Fetter, Max Fetter, Hannah Gershenson, Rivers Glover, Olivia Goin, Izzie Haymann, Annie Hurley, Sarina Israel, Carlie Jones, Bradley Jones, Jacob Kaplan, Alex Karpeles, Celia Leonard, Sammy Levinson, Lyla Lively, Sadie Manaster, Hayden McClard, Amanda Park, Victoria Pereira, Gracie Phillips, Alexandra Rosenblatt, Mara Sandberg, Jacob Sanders, Aubrey Schedler, Sarah Schussler, Nate Stitt and Jessica Strauss.

Junior Cast

The junior cast comprises 38 actors including: Alex Ackerman, Shauna Berstein, Claire Blacker, Brody Bundis, Mercer Bundis, Ryland Bundis, Kevin Carter, Milena Charron, Jordan Clark, Aubrey Fomin, Nadia Fox, Cooper Frank, Autumn Glover, John Glover, Paige Glowacki, Lena Golden, Lainey Gutow, Ellie Hurley, Maggie Hurley, Meghan Jackson, Sara Lipszyc, Ethan Margolies, Elliot McEeachern, Sarah Moskowitz, Avery Murphy, Alexis Muturi, Cassie Rhyne-Malone, Isa Rhyne-Malone, Michelle Rhyne-Malone, Natalie Rubin, Sam Rubin, Max Rudelman, Ava Stern, Eres Stone, Jordan Velevis, Sydney Walters, Hayden Watros and Bella Zilbermann.

— Submitted by Jef Tingley on behalf of the J

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