Theater star, Israeli visitors and politics

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Illana Stein returns


Recently, Jerry Stein submitted my favorite kind of Around the Town item — a newsy tidbit about a member or former member of the Fort Worth Jewish community.
NYC-based Director Illana Stein (daughter of ourtowners Robin and Jerry Stein) returns to Fort Worth to direct a staged reading of Daedalus by David Davalos at Amphibian Stage Productions.
She is thrilled to be back working with Amphibian, having last directed for them a staged reading of Two Rooms. Ms. Stein is originally from Fort Worth, having grown up in the theater scene performing with Kids Who Care and at Casa Mañana. Illana attended Hebrew school at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, was very active in BBYO and attended North Crowley High School. She graduated from University of Oklahoma with a BFA in drama.
Illana has been actively involved in the off-Broadway theater scene since moving to New York. Most recently she was associate director on (New York Times Critic’s Pick, Drama Desk nominee for Best Revival) Tamburlaine the Great at Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA), directed by 4-time Olivier winner, Michael Boyd.
Upcoming she is assistant director on Night is a Room, world premiere, by Naomi Wallace, at Signature Theatre Company directed by Bill Rauch.
This January she returns to TFANA as associate director on Pericles, directed by Trevor Nunn. Illana has worked regionally all over the country with assisting credits including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Hangar Theatre, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. She is currently a member of New York Madness, a theater company that produces monthly readings and whose recent featured guest playwright was Neil LaBute.
Daedalus, written by David Davalos, will have readings for the public at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, and 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7.
Davalos is most known for his play Wittenberg that played to rave reviews at Amphibian Stage Productions and has been performed off-Broadway, regionally all over the country as well as internationally in England, Canada, Australia, and Germany.
The cast for Amphibian’s upcoming reading is made up of local favorite talents and New York actors, including Matt Amendt, Patrick Bynane, Jay Duffer, Lauren Hayden, Merritt Janson, and Scott Zenreich.
Tickets are available at or by calling 817-923-3012.
In addition, this holiday season Amphibian Stage Productions is offering a family-friendly holiday treat, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, adapted and directed by Scott Zenreich, which will run from Friday, Dec. 11 through Sunday, Dec. 20.

Roll out the welcome mat

A delegation of dynamic young adult volunteers from the Western Galilee in Israel and Budapest, Hungary will travel to Fort Worth and Tarrant County for a short visit Dec. 7-10.
Bob Goldberg, director of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, wants to extend a special invitation to our community to take part in their visit. This group is part of the Partnership2Gether platform, promoting and empowering cohesion between our community and our partnership communities in Akko in the Western Galilee, and Budapest. These young adults come from Israel where Judaism is culturally ingrained and from Hungary, where there is a resurgence of Judaism.
During their visit, they’ll experience how Texans live Jewishly and how volunteerism inspires great deeds. They will meet with multiple groups across the Fort Worth and Tarrant County Jewish community who’ve been part of creating volunteer-driven programs to build connections, share with us the scope of their work in their home communities, and find ways in which we can work together.
Our visitors Yaniv, Noa, Ory, Aniko, and Tania will be hosted in community members’ homes during their stay. For more information, contact Bob Goldberg at the Federation at 817-569-0892.

Daytimers get political

Politics was the topic of discussion at the Nov. 12 Daytimers get-together and TCU Professor Jim Riddlesperger was the speaker. Atenddes were eager to pepper Riddlesperger with questions while they learned who was likely to survive to the two party conventions and make the cut for final selection.
“We also learned that only 49 percent of the population of United States is eligible to vote — not a surprise once you eliminate those too young along with the non-citizens,” said Larry Steckler. Riddlesperger pointed out that thanks to automatic voter registration when one gets their driver’s license, the percentage of qualified registered voters is rising.
For the next two Daytimers gatherings, special programs are scheduled. On Dec. 16, the late Theodore Bikel, on videotape, hosts A Taste of Chanukah, a celebration of the joys and music of the holiday. Admission will be free, but you must have a reservation as the number of attendees is limited.
On Jan. 20, 2016, Daytimers will start off the new year by “flying in” Celine Dion, with the show she presented for more than three years at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Again, space is limited, so you must make you reservations ASAP.
To make a reservation call Daytimers Coordinator Larry Steckler. You can reach him at 817-927-2736. If he does not answer the phone, leave a message.

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