Tonight in Manhattan, the most interesting evening of theater will be higher up on Broaway, for the world premiere of Elizabeth Swados’ "Sosua: Dare To Dance Together," 8 p.m. tonight, June 16, in the Rabinowitz auditorium of the YMHA of Washington Heights & Inwood. (To see the UJA-Federation press release and a video trailer of the show, click here.)
Elizabeth Swados is always someone to pay attention to, and even more, to enjoy, as attested to by five Tony nominations and three Obie awards for her theatrical productions both on and off Broadway, including "Runaways." And the Washington Heights-Inwood Y is one of the most terrific Y’s in the area, anchoring Jewish culture and Jewish life on the northern tip of Manhattan, and if you haven’t been up to that part of the city in a while, or only know it for its yeshivas and Frankfurt-On-Hudson history, you’ll find a trip there worth the adventure.
But tonight’s the night to catch Swados and Sosua, an intriguing fusion of local Dominican and Jewish history and theater, and a real coup for the Washington Heights-Inwood Y, brilliant programming to bring the two most significant populations of that neighborhood together.
The play recounts the rarely told story of the Jews saved by the Dominican Republic at the beginning of WW II. Twenty students – 10 Dominican 10 Jewish – were chosen to research the story and twork with Swados, who blended monologues that the teens wrote themselves along with sixteen original songs by Swados.
As Martin Englisher, executive director of the Y, said in a statement, the project, 10 months in the making, "is helping to bring together not only the teens in the play but the entire Jewish and Dominican communities that the Y serves. These teens would never have crossed paths and now they’re all fast friends, but the entire story of this unique link between Jews and Dominicans was something that had been buried. By briging it into the open, new bonds are being forged in all sorts of unexpected ways throughout the community the Y serves, something which has long been our goal."