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Me, Myself and Penny- A note from Marni Schamroth

I’ll start off by introducing myself as Marni Schamroth, a student at Tzvia Omaniyot, majoring in art and completely obsessed with the theater world. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been following all the latest shows and now I am back on the stage for my 4th production as Penny Pingleton, the quirky, out of place, funny girl who is so inspired by new things and adventures that she’s inspired me. Penny understands that there’s nothing better than being a great friend. Also the character is screaming to get out. She’s constantly bossed around by her mother and she is the only character in the show that breaks the boundaries and actually “dates” Seaweed. Together they teach each other different things. Most the times she is scared and nervous but with a happy and good-natured side to back her up. She’s not out there to show-off and boost her ego but to find the truth about her being and help Tracy with her dream along the way. She’s a good listener and she knows how to have fun.
Marni Schamroth
This role is a blast for me and different from other roles I’ve played in the fact that Penny is so bizarre and wacked out. She can’t dance in the beginning and you sort of see this improvement once she learns the moves. She breaks the prejudice barriers to the extreme!!! You can’t find any other sidekick like her. She’s got that spark that makes her more than just a simple sidekick to Tracy. She is what we call in society a “close friend”.

Our director Eli is just chasing this beautiful vision and knows what he wants and he took along this all-star cast and crew to make it a reality. My dancing skills have upgraded with the help of Yaelli the choreographer, and I can hit new notes I never knew I had in me with the help of Jeff the musical director. Everyone in this cast is just so perfectly casted and so talented. Even though I have known some of them from other shows I have never felt so alive than in this shows rehearsals. They still surprise me with their new ideas or wacky shenanigans during the making of this production. I’ve made such great friends here and I am so grateful because even though the show is already amazing each person has taught me and vice-versa a piece of information to take after the show and that makes me feel very special and part of a unique family that all share the same ideas. And THAT is what will make the show 10 times better and bigger than all these blogs make it out to be. There is great chemistry and fantastic connections between the actors and the roles they display that not many other shows have. We have this feeling of belonging and the power to suck in the audience to that world.

I am so excited for this show I have been dreaming of this show and this role ever since I got hooked. Words can barely describe how much I love this cast and what they are helping me overcome it is magical.

I first joined theater thinking this is what is going to break me free from my bubble. Once upon a time I had a simple life that blossomed to my expectations. Forget the sky being the limit, after being involved with this Jerusalem theater community Pluto is the limit. Something inside me was pushing. And every show was a bigger step forward.

People think theater is only for the fun but after growing up and learning more about myself as a person it just isn’t only that. I learned so much for life from even the small stuff it has to offer. I have gained confidence and I am bringing out my old self and showing it in the show, jumping into reality and teaching us all that we can make progress and continue to adapt to ourselves and always advance forward in all that we do.

When you see that special thing on stage, that energy that comes to life, it makes you whole. Both the audience and the team. We worked for this and now its coming together. I put my all in this group and 100% in my work and I can safely say this is one show you don’t want to miss.

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Top Ten Reasons to See Hairspray- A council member shares her excitement

Hi! I’m Hallel, and I play the role of Shelley, one of the council member girls on the Hallel RabinowitzCorny Collins Show. I love theater, I love Hairspray, and you know what else I love? Lists. So I have compiled a list of the top-ten reasons why YOU should come in March to see Hairspray Jerusalem! What’s that you say? You haven’t gotten tickets yet? Well you won’t be able to resist after reading this list.

And away we go…

1- Theater in general is a great way for people of all ages to take a break from their busy schedules, and glide into a different world. Come join us somewhere else for two hours. In this case, it’s Baltimore in the early 60’s, and it’s a great place to be!

2-This show is full of ENERGY. Already in rehearsals you can feel the massive levels of energy bouncing off the walls and just continuing to grow. The whole room is filled with this strange feeling of excitement just ready to burst out on stage once the show gets underway. (Ah! I’m so excited just thinking about it!)

3- Let’s be real- one of the most important things about a show is the audience’s ability to follow the plot and identify with the characters. Hairspray is a classic Disney-like tale of an outcast girl who proves herself by setting out on a journey bigger than herself (no pun intended) and yes, at the end gets her Prince Charming. This all unfolds after meeting some pretty funny characters with some serious funny lines and scenes along the way. So get ready to laugh. A lot. 😀

4- The Hairspray Jerusalem production team has selected a wonderful cast to go on stage this March. This extremely talented group of people (if I may say so myself ;)…) love being with each other, with that love translating into a devotion to put on a great performance for you. Now all you have to do is get a ticket, sit back, and enjoy the show.

5- This specific production of Hairspray is full of surprises and your only way to find out what they are is by coming to see the show. If you have seen Hairspray somewhere else, that is no excuse to not come and see Hairspray Jerusalem. This unique performance is something different, something fresh, something new.

6- There are 15 fantastic dance and song numbers throughout the show that we have been working on for months. Its great music combined with some fabulous and creative choreography. From five-part harmonies to high lifts and leaps, Hairspray Jerusalem is going to make you want to get up on your feet to SING and DANCE!

7- The chorus in Hairspray Jerusalem is made up of a wide variety of characters on stage, each with their own individual personality. Be on the lookout for the council members on the Corny Collins Show and record shop kids, who each have their own funny character traits (such as Tammy- played by Shira Potter, who has a tendency to always lose her balance…).

8- Usually when coming to see a play, you appreciate what you see in front of you (namely the actors on stage), but there are so many other people working on this show that are equally involved in making the production as good as it’s going to turn out. From lighting, to publicity, props, music, and rehearsal scheduling, there are so many quality people in so many different capacities that it just HAS TO BE AWESOME.

9- Hairspray presents many important messages and food for thought on a variety of different topics relevant to Israeli society today. Whether it’s a desire to successfully integrate, dealing with self-image, or maintaining one’s identity, Hairspray has a number of universal issues that will resonate with everyone. Despite the serious undertones, it’s a hilarious family show that will have the audience laughing nonstop.

10- Jerusalem’s community theater is a really great thing. It’s a bunch of incredible people doing what they love to do, learning from one another, and together building a community by forming beautiful friendships between people of all different shapes, sizes, ages, and backgrounds in order to bring a quality show to the Jerusalem stage. Hairspray is your chance to support this amazing community, which has become a home to so many of us.

Can’t wait to see you all at Hairspray Jerusalem!

Ticket purchase: http://www.encore-etc.com/order-tickets/

Singing and Dancing Really Can Bring Us Together- From Our Brenda

Hi! So, where to begin? I guess an introduction is in order. My name is Amanda, and I’ll be playing the “fun loving, free-wheeling” Brenda on the Corny Collins show.Amanda Keehn

I’m sure by now; most of our future audience members are vaguely familiar with the plot of Hairspray. When you think about it, you really can’t dream of a more typical happily-ever-after story: a misfit girl fights racism and inequality by song and dance. The good guys win. The TV station is integrated.

You’ll have to forgive my slight tone of cynicism. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the plot and message of Hairspray (and this is a feel-good story that no one can fathom to dislike!). The thing is though, that while watching a show like Hairspray, one might have the following thought: “The situation in Baltimore of the 60’s was a lot more complicated than what’s shown here. This is all very nice, but it would be a lie to say that singing and dancing can bring an end to prejudice.”

For all the sceptics out there, I used to agree with you. We see racism every day, sadly, and it seems to be one of those problems that may forever plague the human race (and I must sidetrack here. This is a theater blog, so I feel compelled to quote from another show and say that “everyone’s a little bit racist”). In Israeli society today, there is great inequality. I grew up in Beit Shemesh, a town that is comprised mostly of olim, from various different countries. Walking through the town, you can see a distinct difference between the immigrants who were taken care of, and those who were not. There is much tension between the “haves” and the “have-nots”.

However, the process of Hairspray has sort of changed my perspective. This is a truly unique show. I think this may be the first time a Jerusalem community theater company has had a cast made up of Anglo and Ethiopian people, most of us all olim. The process has showed me just how powerful the message of Hairspray really is. At rehearsals, we all come to sing and dance together. If I have difficulty learning a dance move (and I have much difficulty); and another cast member is also struggling, the color of our skin really does not matter. We’re learning together, and we laugh and whine and eventually get it right. So yeah, it sounds corny. That singing and dancing can actually make a difference. But from what I’ve seen thus far, we have a cast that has bonded through singing and dancing, and we are all friends. I hope that all our audience will come out of Hairspray feeling happy and hopeful, and that we all will be able to apply the message of Hairspray into our daily lives!

Our Corny Collins – Daniel Rottner – Gives His Serious Thoughts

Although I’ve only been to a few rehearsals I can already see the energy flowing from this production. From the awesome choreography I saw in the Facebook videos to the incredible musical directing of Jeff and of course what I’ve experienced thus far the directing talent of our director Eli and of course the wonderful cast and crew, I Daniel Rottnercan’t say I’ve ever been more excited about a show as much as this production. Everyone seems so happy and energetic and Its a wonderful thing to watch unfold. I’d like to address to the public that this is one musical you don’t wanna miss.

I grew up in Canada and Miami and in both worlds never explored the wonderful world of theater until my aliyah to Israel 7 years ago where I found the love and attention theater deserves.
I want to say that to me Corny Collins comes in top 3 of the most interesting roles to play and I’m really excited to test the limit and create my own version of the character. All the characters in this show are awesome and have so much meaning and fun connected to them and the play itself is such a head opener showing the world how it was back in the day in a light and also dark manner. With jokes almost every line and jazzy/bluesy songs to accompany I can safely say it is one of the better choices for a show by far. I can’t wait to hear everyone’s input in the show and how it becomes a sensation!

The show is full of references so thanks to the Hairspray script, I got to know who this talented and funny man is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CgNwBh8vOY

Performance Dates Plus A Happy Surprise – From Eli

There are lots of exciting things going on with Hairspray Jerusalem right now.  We are mostly done with staging Act One, though there is still lots of work to do.  I was so happy to see that Good Morning Baltimore turned out to be exactly the type of number that I wanted.  And another of the numbers in Act One is going to be so full of surprises that I can’t wait to hear the audience’s reactions – but telling you which one it is would ruin the surprise.

In any case, you shouldn’t care about how fun our rehearsals are or how much more work we have to do to get Hairspray ready.  The news that you can get excited about is that we are finally able to announce our performance dates.  Even better than that, we are proud to announce that Hairspray was accepted into the Jerusalem Festival Of Arts, so one of our performances will be part of the festival and performed at the beautiful Hirsch Theater at Bet Shmuel.  The other six performances will be at the Masorati High School, where previous Encore Youth Productions have found a great home.  So mark these dates on your calendar, since tickets will be on sale shortly and you don’t want to miss this show.

Tuesday, March 5th – Opening Night
Wednesday, March 6th – Performance
Tuesday, March 12th – Hirsch Theater Performance
Saturday, March 16th – Performance
Sunday, March 17th – Performance
Thursday, March 21st – Matinee and Evening Performances

Check back here soon for more stories from the cast, some great pictures we recently posed for, and to buy tickets.  And till then, make sure you don’t dent your ‘do!

Mama, I’m A Big Girl Now – Hello from Jonny, our Edna Turnblad!

My name is Jonny and I have a secret. Twice to three times a week I triple my size, age 25 years, eat my feelings and go home to a zany husband and a pioneer daughter. I become Edna Turnblad.

I would only don a fat-suit for one woman. Edna is a wonderful character to play, particularly for a guy. She’s a big woman with a massive heart and perfect comic timing. She has her very own poignant path to follow. We can laugh along her journey from a timid, hard working, agoraphobic home-maker Jonny Rosento a blossoming, sexy, vibrant woman. She’s perfectly rounded in every sense and I am delighted to have been given the chance to bring her to life.

Besides maybe a stage production of Pitch Perfect, (note to Broadway producers everywhere- get this created) there is no other musical production I would consider being part of right now. Not only is the musical pretty great in its own right (even the 2007 movie was a total rompy blast) this production is something to be particularly proud of. The sense of community is tremendous and the direction is mighty with a hefty dose of vision all round.

It wasn’t a hard choice to take on this role, particularly for a show that manages to touch on so many themes including tolerance and racial awareness. To be able to put this on in Jerusalem is nothing short of outstanding.

This show will pack a whole load of punches in so many ways- it’s a light hearted, deeply entertaining feel-good musical that you will just want to watch again and again. You definitely will not stop the beat.