ONCE WERE BROTHERS
The Band’s lead guitarist Robbie Robertson wrote biblical parables (“The Weight”), Civil War elegies (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”) and down-home love songs (“Up on Cripple Creek”). At the height of the psychedelic era, where did these rootsy, story-rich songs come from? Jewish-Canadian filmmaker Daniel Roher’s documentary about the pioneering ’60s rock group suggests an answer. Robertson’s mother was a Canadian Mohawk, his biological father a Jewish gambler named Alexander Klegerman. When his father’s brothers, Natie and Morrie Klegerman, learned that the teenager wanted to be a rock musician, they said, “You don’t want to be in furs and diamonds?” But that side of the family, Robertson said, “understand vision. They understand ambition.” Through them, he says, “I’m understanding what’s been stirring inside of me. They said, ‘Oh, you mean show business!’” The music that Robertson and Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson made is nothing if not visionary — a soulful, mystical ride through America. — Through Thursday, March 12, IFC Film Center, 323 Sixth Ave., ifccenter.com; Nighthawk Cinema Prospect Park West, 188 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, nitehawkcinema.com; and The Landmark at 57 West, 657 W. 57th St., landmarktheatres.com.
CORNELIA PURIM FEST
Boy, do we miss the Cornelia Street Café: the signature red-and-white-striped awning, the dangerously steep staircase to the basement, the Mediterranean-style white-brick archway near the front and the impossibly narrow room where strangers became intimates before the first round of drinks arrived. It offered a home base to countless Israeli jazz musicians trying to make it here, even featuring a monthly Israeli Jazz Spotlight. And it offered so much more (Eve Ensler read “The Vagina Monologues” there for the first time in the mid-1990s). When the club closed its doors in January 2019, after more than 40 years, a chunk of the West Village went with it. Now the old place is in exile, but this Purim show features some CSC regulars. There’s Paul Shapiro and the swinging Ribs & Brisket Revue, tap dancer Jane Goldberg, art song specialist Ellen Mandel, magician Mark Mitton and actor/comic Hilary Chaplain. Hey, it’s Purim: Knock one back and get lost in a masquerade! — Tuesday, March 10, 6 p.m., The Bitter End, 147 Bleecker St., purimfest.brownpapertickets.com. $15-$35.
MORE PURIM REVELRY
Several high-profile venues are taking off the gloves (gender-wise) against the male of the species this Purim season. Check out the titles of these Purim bashes: “From Esther, to Haman: A Roast of Cancelled Men” (hosted by the 92nd Street Y) and “PPPPPPurim 2020: Prophetic Post-Patriarchy Purim Performance Party” (a Lab/Shul and Reboot show). Comics Kelly Bachman, Orli Matlow, Jess Salomon and Josh Gondelman will be landing the haymakers against toxic masculinity at the Y event. And Esther, “the bad-ass Hebrew-Pagan Queen,” is the center of attention at Lab/Shul’s “renegade ritual performance festival,” where a post-patriarchy world comes into view (there’ll be drag and a make-over beauty parlor). This is Purim with a righteous political edge, and the Harvey Weinstein verdict is giving these events some added punch. — Roast (Monday, March 9, 7 p.m., Housing Works Bookstore Café & Bar, 126 Crosby St., 92y.org, $20); PPPPPPurim 2020 (Monday, March 9, 6:30 p.m., House of Yes, 2 Wyckoff Ave., Brooklyn, labshul.org, $15-$40).
THE LEHMAN TRILOGY
Capitalism giveth and capitalism taketh away: That may be the takeaway from the much-heralded “The Lehman Trilogy.” The play, directed by Sam Mendes (it played to raves last year at the Park Avenue Armory), is a rise-and-fall morality tale on an epic scale; it traces three generations of the Jewish émigré Lehman family as it moves from fabric shop and cotton brokerage in Montgomery, Ala., to Wall Street, where investments in coal, oil and arms give way to subprime mortgages, which bankrupted the once-powerful bank. Starring the great British actors Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godfrey from the Armory run. — Opens Saturday, March 7 (through June 28), Nederlander Theater, 208 W. 41st St., thelehmantrilogy.com.
At the crossroads of musical theater, opera and oratorio, this Off-Broadway production returns following its sold out premiere run last September. It tells the story of Anne Frank’s life through the lyrics and music of Sephardi composer Jean Pierre-Hadida. — Friday, March 13-May 7, The Actors’ Temple, 339 W. 47th St., telecharge.com. $32-$38.
Cleaning out her grandmother’s home, Ellen Rabinowitz discovers a mysterious photograph of an anonymous soldier. And so begins a sweeping, elegiac new musical by Daniel Goldstein and Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”) about a woman’s journey to unearth the secrets buried in her family’s past. — Through March 29, Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St., playwrightshorizons.org. $44-$99.
NANCY DREWINSKY … AND THE SEARCH FOR THE MISSING LETTER
Last chance: In 1953, 41 Jewish scientists were named as Communist spies by Senator Joe McCarthy. Robin Bady’s father was one of them. In this intensely personal and timely show, Bady puts on her detective hat to investigate what happened back then, and how this long-ago event still reverberates today. — Through Sunday, March 8, Kraine Theater, 85 E. Fourth St., frigid.nyc. $15.
Manhattan Theatre Club presents the world premiere of Tony-winner Richard Greenberg’s (“Take Me Out”) biting and witty new play whose title carries a whiff of Maimonides. Two families, the Resnicks and the Stahls, whose lives have been tumultuously intertwined for decades, gather in the massive library of a Fifth Avenue apartment to celebrate the nuptials of their children. — In previews. Through March 29, March 3, New York City Center, Stage 1, 131 W. 55th St., nycitycenter.org. $99-$109.
THE SABBATH GIRL
Last chance: The new romantic comedy by Cary Gitter, a Jewish Plays Project finalist, features goyishe hipster Angie and her Upper West Side neighbor Seth, an Orthodox Jew with a knish store on the Lower East Side. — Through Sunday, March 8 at 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., 59e59.org. $38.50.
IN TIMES LIKE THESE: AMOS AND EFRATIA GITAI
Celebrating the English-language publication of “Efratia Gitai: Correspondence 1929-1994” (2020), MoMA presents a staged reading with the actors Marthe Keller and Ronald Guttman, pianist Edna Stern and an introduction by Efratia Gitai’s son, the Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai (March 5 at 7 p.m.) as well as fiction features by Amos Gitai — including “Carmel” (March 5, 4 p.m., March 8, 4:45 p.m.), “Kedma” (March 7, 6:30 p.m., March 8, 2 p.m.) and new digital restorations of “Esther” (March 6, 4 p.m., March 7, 1:30 p.m.) and “Berlin-Jerusalem” (March 6, 7 p.m., March 7, 4 p.m.). — Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., moma.org.
#ANNE FRANK: PARALLEL STORIES
Academy Award-winning actress Helen Mirren guides the documentary film through a retelling of the lives of Anne Frank, using her extraordinary diary, and five other girls who survived Nazi death camps and lived to tell their stories. — Sunday, March 8, 1 p.m., Kew Gardens Cinemas, 81-05 Lefferts Blvd., Kew Gardens, kewgardens.wwmm.mobi/.
SPECIAL PREVIEW: THOSE WHO REMAINED
Shortlisted for the Best International Feature Academy Award, the Hungarian film by director Barnabás Tóth is a lyrical story of the healing power of love through the eyes of a young girl in post-World War II, post-Holocaust Hungary. — Tuesday, March 10, 7 p.m., Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave. @ 76th St., jccmanhattan.org. $15, $12 member.
HEIMAT IS A SPACE IN TIME
German filmmaker Thomas Heise shares the stories of three generations of his family, in their own words. One sequence involves his grandparents, a “mixed” Jewish-gentile couple living in Vienna during the Nazi era. Their letters capture the increasing measures taken against Jews: finding themselves banished from buses, losing access to coal ration cards, and ultimately undergoing forced removal to a concentration camp in Poland. As Heise recites their letters, documents listing the names of Jews slated for deportation scroll by on the screen for nearly half an hour. “Overarching insights into a German century and what it portends for the future” (Variety). — March 13-19, Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Ave., anthologyfilmarchives.org.
ESTER LIBERATRICE DEL POPOLO EBREO
The 1673 oratorio by Alessandro Stardella, “The Caravaggio of Music,” about the biblical Queen Esther will be presented by Salon Sanctuary Concerts in the historic Brotherhood Synagogue, a stop on the Underground Railroad. The large cast, including Jessica Gould as Ester, will be joined by baroque harp, orbo, violone, lirone, baroque cello, harpsichord and organ. — Thursday, March 5, 8 p.m., The Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South, salonsanctuary.org. $35-$100; $25 Student/Senior.
A founding member of the Yiddish psychedelic rock band Forshpil, the accordionist and multi-instrumentalist plays contemporary Jewish music, from klezmer and Yiddish folk song to fusion and experimental projects. He’ll appear with the New York Klezmer Series for an 8 p.m. concert, 6:30 p.m. klezmer workshop and post-concert jam session. — Thursday, March 5, Town & Village Synagogue, 344 E. 14th St., nyklezmer.com. $25 for the workshop, $15 for the concert, $35 full-night pass.
SQUIRREL NUT ZIPPERS & DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND
An adrenaline-filled double-bill evening of music from two upbeat, celebratory bands — the sounds of hot jazz, Delta blues, klezmer and 1930s era swing of the Squirrel Nut Zippers and the classic New Orleans sound of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. — Friday, March 6, 8 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St., symphonyspace.org. $38-$65 (30 and under $30-$65).
Iranian-American singer Galeet Dardashti leads the all-female power-house Middle Eastern Jewish ensemble in an album release concert. Expect fiery renditions of traditional and original Sephardi/Mizrahi Jewish songs with strings, percussion and vocals spanning Hebrew, Judeo-Spanish, Persian, Arabic and Aramaic. — Saturday, March 7, 7 p.m., Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. at Astor Place, publictheater.org. $20 + $12 minimum.
Israeli star Ravid Kahalani and Yemen Blues perform Yemenite chants with swirls of jazz and rock grooves at a special late-night performance. — Saturday, March 7, 11:30 p.m., Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. at Astor Place, publictheater.org. $30 + $12 minimum.
ALICIA SVIGALS & PATRICK FARRELL PLAY KOSTAKOWSKY
Wolff “Nat” Kostakowsy’s “International Hebrew Wedding Music,” published in New York in 1916, was an attempt to create a klezmer “fake book” — an on-the-job reference for professional musicians. It remains an invaluable record of American-influenced klezmer, reflecting the evolving tastes and various origins of the Ashkenazic Jewish communities of the New World. The New York Klezmer Series presents acclaimed violinist Alicia Svigals and accordionist Patrick Farrell in an evening uncovering the multifaceted treasures of the Kostakowsky collection. — Thursday, March 12, 8 p.m., Town & Village Synagogue, 334 E. 14th St., nyklezmer.com. $15. The 6:30 p.m. workshop with Patrick Farrell is $25. A full-night pass, including a post-concert jam session, is $35.
NESHAMA CARLEBACH IN CONCERT
A superstar of major Jewish music festivals and one world’s of the best-selling Jewish recording artists, the singer-songwriter performs here with her pianist. As the first then-Orthodox woman of her generation to perform for a mixed-gender audience, Carlebach’s work sparks public conversations about the place of women in Judaism and today’s world. Her music incorporates classic Hebrew folk songs, contemporary pop music, jazz and gospel. — Sunday, March 15, 8 p.m., Art House Astoria Conservatory for Music and Art @ Astoria First Presbyterian Church, 23-35 Broadway, Astoria, Queens, arthouseastoria.org. Free.
THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA
Sixteen years ago, Philip Roth stared into a blank page — and saw Donald Trump. With the president’s isolationist and authoritarian tendencies on full display these days, Roth’s “The Plot Against America,” from 2004, is a counterfactual history (Charles Lindbergh beats FDR; Jews beware!) that seems to have come true. David Simon (“The Wire”) has adapted the novel for an HBO miniseries that premieres March 16. Simon, who spoke with Roth about the project before the novelist died in 2018, said that in “Plot,” Roth “delivered an emotionally moving political tract about our country taking a dry run at totalitarianism and intolerance.” Simon is joined next week by actors Zoe Kazan, Morgan Spector and John Turturro for a sneak-preview screening and a discussion. Presented by the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center. — Friday, March 6, 8 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92y.org.
ISRAELI LEADERSHIP THEN AND NOW
Veteran Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiators Ambassador Dennis Ross and David Makovsky will join Rabbi Peter J. Rubenstein, 92Y’s Director of Jewish Community, to talk about the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan and the upcoming Israeli election. In their book “Be Strong and of Good Courage,” Ross and Makovsky examine Israeli leaders who faced hard choices, and how those choices continue to resonate today — Thursday, March 12, 7 p.m., 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 92Y.org. $35.
Through original songs and stand-up, Cohen explores life as an immortal millennial. Winner of the Best Newcomer Award at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Cohen has “Carol Kane-level charisma and enough between-song banter to make Carol Burnett blush,” says Time Out New York. — Friday, March 6, 9:30 p.m., Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. at Astor Place, publictheater.org.
CITY/GAME: BASKETBALL IN NEW YORK
Like bagels and yellow cabs, basketball is woven tightly into the city’s fabric. This show traces the game’s impact on the city — from the early days (when the “city game” was Jewish) to Kareem and Clyde Frazier and beyond. — Through Jan. 3, 2021, Museum of the City of New York, Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, mcny.org.
ABOUT AN ARABESQUE
Last chance: The first New York solo exhibition by visual artist and choreographer Jonah Bokaer, whose acclaimed 2014 multimedia exhibit “October 7, 1944” took on an inmate rebellion at Auschwitz. Here, Bokaer’s work explores individuals, particularly men in the Middle East, who are often depicted as ruthless, tough and belligerent. — Through Sunday, March 8, Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Signs and Symbols, 102 Forsyth St., signsandsymbols.art.
BILL GRAHAM AND THE ROCK & ROLL REVOLUTION
The life and times of Bill Graham, who came to America as a German-Jewish refugee at the age of 11 and as an adult transformed the American rock scene, opening the Fillmore East in 1968 and working with the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and many others. — Through Aug. 23, New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, 170 Central Park West at 77th St., nyhistory.org.
Dora Kallmus (1881-1963), better known as Madame d’Ora, was one of the leading photographic portraitists of the early 20th century. Her subjects included cultural figures like Colette, Josephine Baker, Gustav Klimt, Tamara de Lempicka and Pablo Picasso as well as German and Viennese aristocrats, the Rothschild family, prominent politicians and post-War displaced persons. The largest U.S. museum retrospective of her work to date will present the different periods of d’Ora’s life, from her upbringing as the daughter of Jewish intellectuals in Vienna to her days as a premier society photographer, her survival of the Holocaust and her work in newly liberated Europe. — Through June 8, Neue Galerie New York, 1048 Fifth Ave. at 86th St., neuegalerie.org.
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