The top events in NYC this week, as picked by our arts and culture editors.
Hedy Lamarr, the 1940s screen siren and Austrian-Jewish émigré, once said, “Any girl can be glamorous — all you have to do is stand still and look stupid.” Starring alongside Hollywood giants like Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable, Lamarr was cherished for her looks — “No more beautiful woman has ever stormed the doors of moviedom than Hedy, grey-eyed, raven-haired Viennese,” the film journal Photoplay raved. But the fact that she was the inventor of a groundbreaking communication system, which underlined modern encryption, went largely unrecognized during her lifetime. Following the starlet through a turbulent marriage and career, this documentary gives a sympathetic look into Lamarr’s struggle for recognition for something other than her beauty. — IFC Film Center, 323 Sixth Ave., (212) 924-7771. Through Friday, Dec. 1 at IFC. Through Thursday, Nov. 30 at JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., jccmanhattan.org.
Matkot, the quintessentially Israeli game of beach paddleball, has a particular sound to it, a fast-paced, staccato rhythm reminiscent of bebop or scat singing. The name is a good fit for the Israeli-born, Brooklyn-based jazz ensemble that plays the unique arrangements of Israeli composer Rami Bar-David.
Composed of four female vocalists and a swinging jazz trio, the group (which debuted at a Brooklyn jazz club last May) deconstructs familiar jazz standards and popular classics, reshaping them around lush vocal harmonies and a subdued Mediterranean lilt. — Tuesday, Dec. 5, 9:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com. $10 cover, plus $10 drink minimum.
KLEZBOS IN THE SKY
Though it has moved far beyond its original role as wedding music, klezmer is still best served in heimishe surroundings. Kicking off the Chanukah holiday season, the acclaimed all-female klezmer sextet Isle of Klezbos plays an intimate house concert featuring holiday-themed neo-traditional dance rollicks, mystical melodies, re-grooved standards and genre-defying originals. Latkes, snacks, wine and soft drinks will be served. — Wed, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. concert, Piano on Park, 10 Park Ave., 22nd fl., Apt. 22D. Seating is limited – early RSVP advised at klezbos.com or eventbrite.com.
THE JEW OF MALTA
Baritone David Serero stars as Barabas in a musical staged reading of the Christopher Marlowe classic, adapted by Serero. — Sunday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m., Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., (212) 294-8301, cjh.org.
AWAKE AND SING!
The New Yiddish Rep’s revival of a 1938 Yiddish musical, based on the play by Clifford Odets, follows the Bergers, a financially strapped family of three generations living under one roof. Its themes will likely strike a resonant chord in a 2017 America in which many families are struggling. — Previews begin Saturday, Nov. 25 (opens Dec. 6), Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 E. 14 St., (646) 395-4310, newyiddishrep.org.
DESCRIBE THE NIGHT
In 1920, Jewish-Russian writer Isaac Babel wanders the Russian countryside with the Red Cavalry. Seventy years later, a mysterious KGB agent spies on a woman in Dresden and falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government has a suspicious accident and crashes in the Russian city of Smolensk. Inspired by his love of Babel’s work, playwright and Pulitzer Prize-finalist Rajiv Joseph’s historical thriller follows the interconnected stories of seven Russian men and women over nine decades. — Atlantic Theater Co., 336 W. 20th St., (866) 811-4111, atlantictheater.org.
NEXT STOP: A COMEDY OF MISCONNECTIONS
Fresh off the boat, Hazan (Ben Perry), an Israeli newcomer to New York, is suffering from IPAD — “Israeli Personality Assimilation Disorder.” After a decade in the city, Maya (Noga Milstein), an Israeli-American would-be actress, is just too American for him — though she is still too Israeli for her American prospects. Written by Milstein and produced by Israeli-American movie star Mili Avital, “Next Stop” is a rom-com exploring the hybrid Israeli-American identity. — Through Dec. 12, Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W. 53rd St., (212) 757-2323, nextstoptheshow.com.
This play tells the story of a contemporary Birthright Israel trip to Masada, a Roman-era fortress and tourist attraction in the Israeli desert. While the participants examine their identities and relationships to Israel and Jewishness, they share the stage with actors retelling the infamous events that took place on Masada almost 2,000 years ago. As the two dramas collide, staying on Masada becomes more contentious and dangerous. — Through Dec. 23, The Gym At Judson, 243 Thompson St., (866) 811-4111, thegymatjudson.com.
THE BAND’S VISIT
In the hit Israeli film, the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra travels to Israel from Egypt for a concert, ending up in the wrong place and bonding with local Israelis in the process. David Yazbek’s musical of the same name and based on the film won the 2017 Obie for Best Musical. Now on Broadway after a sold-out Off-Broadway run. —Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., telecharge.com, thebandsvisitmusical.com.
Ayad Akhtar, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Disgraced,” a play about a Muslim and Jewish couple discussing identity over dinner, turns to investment banking in “Junk.” It stars Steven Pasquale as Robert Merkin, a financial kingpin of the ’80s (a la Michael Milken) who attempts to take over an iconic American manufacturing company, changing all the rules in the process. — Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, 150 W. 65th St., lct.org.
“Lili Marlene” was the title of a World War II-era German song that became popular with both the Axis and the Allies. Set in pre-WWII Berlin, this similarly titled Off-Broadway musical (with book and music by Michael Antin) centers on the fictional character of Rosie Pen (Amy Londyn), a Jewish cabaret singer whose rendition of the song makes it famous. With Nazism on the rise, Rosie’s unlikely love affair with a young German count named Willi (Clint Hromsco) drives them both to seek ways out of the country. — Tuesdays through Dec. 19, 7 p.m., St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 W. 46th St., (212) 239-6200, Telecharge.com.
OMER AVITAL QUINTET
Inspired by the great jazz bassist Charles Mingus, who brought together the black church and the jazz avant-garde, Israeli-born bassist Omer Avital brings the musical tradition of his Moroccan-Yemeni heritage into a spirited conversation with mainstream-modern jazz. With a big tone, a gift for melody and hurtling, caravan-in-the-desert rhythms, he is a singular voice on the jazz scene. — Tuesday-Wednesday, Dec. 5-6, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 10 Columbus Circle, (212) 258-9595, jazz.org.
GILAD HEKSELMAN ZUPEROCTAVE
The Israeli-born jazz guitarist has drawn praise for his smooth sound and formidable technique. After establishing his sound in the classic jazz trio and quartet, with ZuperOctave he explores a four-piece bass-less, semi-electronic version of his compositions. — Saturday, Dec. 2, 8:30 and 10 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com. $10 cover plus $10 minimum.
THE 13-PETALED ROSE
Frank London, trumpeter, composer and original member of the Klezmatics, is joined by Klezmatics frontman and vocalist Lorin Sklamberg and the Montreal-based ensemble Constantinople for an evening of klezmer music and sacred Yiddish and Judeo-Persian songs. Led by Iranian emigrant Kiya Tabassian, Constantinople has earned an international reputation for its juxtaposition of early musical sources and the living traditions of the Middle East. — Sunday, Dec. 3, 3-5 p.m., Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge St., (212) 219-0302, eldridgestreet.org.
The young Israeli-born, New York-based Kadawa trio — Tal Yahalom on guitar, Almog Sharvit on bass and Ben Silashi on drums — performs quirky, cross-media compositions drawing from jazz, rock, cinema and literature. — Monday, Dec. 4, 11 p.m., Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St., (212) 477-4155, rockwoodmusichall.com.
ASSAF AMDURSKY ACOUSTIC SHOW
Iconic Israeli singer-songwriter and producer Assaf Amdursky has been shaping the Israeli pop-rock scene for 25 years. This versatile musician will perform acoustic versions of his most popular songs, in Hebrew. — Sunday, Dec. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m., The Green Room 42, 570 10th Ave., (646) 449-7792, eventbrite.com.
ISRAELI JAZZ SPOTLIGHT
Curated by Israeli-American bassist Or Bareket, Cornelia’s monthly “Israeli Jazz Spotlight” features singer-songwriter and pianist Noa Fort, who writes dark, jazz-influenced songs, with touches of rock, punk and ska; also on tap is recent arrival Idan Morim, an up-and-coming guitarist and composer, who leads a quintet. — Sunday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m. Noa Fort, 9 p.m. Idan Morim, Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St., (212) 989-9319, corneliastreetcafe.com. $20, drinks included.
TAL GAMLIELI & CHANGE OF HEART
Jerusalemite double bassist Tal Gamlieli, winner of Downbeat Magazine’s 2016 prize for outstanding performance, joins A-list jazz saxophonist Dayna Stephens to collaborate on a project drawing upon both their musical heritages. — Monday, Dec. 4, 7:30-10p.m., Smalls Jazz Club, 183 W. 10th St., (646) 476-4346, smallslive.com.
With six albums to date, Hadag Nahash is one of Israel’s most recognizable hip hop/funk bands. Combining Middle Eastern music, world music and hip-hop with strong political and cultural messages, some of Hadag Nahash’s songs have become akin to national anthems, while others have become standard soundtracks for peace rallies and protests. Featuring special guest Israeli singer/songwriter and rising pop-star Hanan Ben Ari. — Saturday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m., Gramercy Theatre, 127 E. 23rd St, (212) 614-6932, thegramercytheatre.com.
On a sweltering August day in 1945, Hungarian villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. Meanwhile, two Orthodox Jews arrive at the village train station with mysterious boxes labeled “fragrances.” The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property, lost during the war, be returned. Variety called the film “a fresh, intelligent cinematic approach to a difficult topic that takes on a transitional time in Hungarian history with subtlety and nuance.” — Lincoln Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway, (212) 757-0359, lincolnplazacinema.com.
German-Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt caused an uproar in the 1960s by coining the subversive concept of the “banality of evil” when referring to the trial of Adolph Eichmann, which she covered for The New Yorker magazine. Her private life was no less controversial, thanks to her early love affair with the German philosopher and Nazi supporter Martin Heidegger. This documentary offers an intimate portrait of Arendt’s life and work. — Monday, Dec. 4, 3 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
Filmmaker Alison Chernick offers an intimate portrait of the violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman. Wheelchair-bound from childhood polio, Perlman recounts stories of overcoming obstacles with his talent and humor. The film follows him through eclectic settings, from a performance with Billy Joel to a visit to his native Israel. — Cinepolis Chelsea, 260 W. 23rd St., cinepolisusa.com/chelsea.aspx.
Featuring portraits of the Nazi hunters and the nations and institutions that helped bring war criminals to justice, this documentary presents a rich examination of the global hunt for some of the 20th century’s most infamous war criminals. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition “Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann.” — Wednesday, Dec. 6, 3 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
MUSLIMS AND JEWS IN AMERICA
Join Muslim leaders Umair Khan, from the Office of NYC Public Advocate, Rabia Chaudry, New York Times bestselling author of “Adnan’s Story” and noted journalist Yair Rosenberg for a conversation about the challenges of being a Muslim in America today, and the current moment in Muslim-Jewish relations. — Sunday, Dec. 3, 7-9 p.m., JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave., (646) 505-4444. jccmanhattan.org.
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
Already widely known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (2003),” Samantha Power became the youngest person ever to serve as U.S. ambassador to the U.N.; she served in President Barack Obama’s second term from 2013-2017. Nearly a year after Nikki Haley succeeded her, Power will meet with her friend and former ADL National Director Abe Foxman for a conversation about America’s role in the world today and what she sees as the most urgent human rights issues of our time. — Thursday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
This Jewish Museum exhibit features early drawings by the great Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani, who died in 1920. The drawings, which were acquired directly from the artist by Dr. Paul Alexandre — his close friend and first patron — illuminate how Modigliani’s heritage as an Italian Sephardic Jew is pivotal to understanding his artistic output. Many of these works are being shown for the first time in the U.S. — Through Feb. 4, 2018, The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave., (212) 423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org.
REDISCOVERY, RESTORATION AND RENEWAL
Ten years ago, the restoration of the Eldridge Street Synagogue was completed. After a 20-year, $20 million effort, the building was brought back from the verge of collapse to stand once again as a Jewish landmark. In celebration of this milestone, the Museum at Eldridge Street presents 45 large-scale photographs, dating from the 1970s to the present, of the synagogue in different stages of its transformation. —Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street, eldridgestreet.org. Through March 1, 2018.
Playing out more like a spy novel than a museum show, this multimedia exhibit features recently declassified materials charting the tracking, capture, extradition and trial of Adolf Eichmann. — Through Dec. 22, Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, (646) 437-4202, mjhnyc.org.
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