A full roster of musical events has been programmed for this year’s Jewish Music Week, which runs May 19 to 26 at a variety of venues in the Greater Toronto Area.
Highlights include a week of gala evening concerts, including the Swingin’ Sounds of Moe Koffman with Bernie Senensky at the Rex Hotel on opening night, Rocky Mountain Jewgrass at the Pride of Israel Synagogue and “The Great American Jewish Songbook” featuring Simon Spiro along with the Broadway Singers at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.
The edgy all-female powerhouse ensemble Divahn presents an Eastern serenade, infusing traditional and original Middle Eastern Jewish songs with sophisticated harmonies and funky arrangements.
It all winds down with a double-bill concert with the award-winning Jaffa Road and David Buchbinder’s explosive Jewish/Cuban musical mashup Odessa/Havana at the Lula Lounge.
Daytime events are also scheduled, including Cantor Eyal Bitton’s wild look at Jewish rock stars, and jazz player Ron Davis playing selections from his CD The Bestseller. A community melaveh malka takes place at Beth Tzedec synagogue on Saturday, May 25, 10:15 p.m. For full details, visit www.jewishmusicweek.com.
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Stars of David: Angelwalk Theatre and the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company are joining forces on a production of the recent prize-winning musical Stars of David. Based on a book by Abigail Pogrebin and conceived by Aaron Harnick, Stars of David presents a snapshot of Jewish identity told through interviews with a score of well-known American Jews; the list includes Steven Spielberg, Gloria Steinem, Leonard Nimoy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Joan Rivers, Aaron Sorkin, Tony Kushner and Fran Drescher.
The music includes songs culled from a variety of hit shows, including Shrek, Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line, The Way We Were and Miss Saigon.
Stars of David is one of several productions that are part of Angelwalk’s recently announced upcoming 2013-14 season. The company is also mounting Liza & Barbra – Together at Last, a new production featuring Jennifer Walls and Gabi Epstein about… well, you know who. www.angelwalk.ca
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Beth Tikvah Concert: Beth Tikvah Congregation bids farewell to Rabbi Howard Markose with The Reel Jewish Experience, a concert featuring songs from the Jewish cinema performed by Gabi Epstein, Michele Tredger, Mitch Smolkin and Cantor Tibor Kovari with a string orchestra and band. Three choirs (the Beth Tikvah Choir, Kol Rina and the Toronto Jewish Men’s Choir) are also featured. $36. Beth Tikvah Synagogue, 3080 Bayview Ave. Sunday, June 2, 8 p.m. 416-221-3433.
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Literary Levee: Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, ATID chapter presents the Literary Levee 2013, an evening of food, mingling and a literary presentation by Susan Glickman, author of The Tale Teller. Reuben Cipin Healthy Living Community, Main floor Social Hall, 2 Neptune Dr. (south of Wilson, at Bathurst). Thursday, May 30, 6:30 p.m. $36 includes dinner; $100 patron, $150 benefactor; includes signed copy of book. Visit: http://bit.ly/10bJ76e or call 416-630-8373.
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Arts in Brief
• Active Seniors & Boomers presents The Songs of Jewish Jazz. Jordan Klapman demonstrates how Benny Goodman, Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, Xavier Cugat, the Andrews Sisters and others adapted classical Jewish theatre to become great jazz and pop hits. With piano performances. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, Thursday, May 23, 1:30 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.
• Ashkenaz Foundation, Koffler Centre of the Arts and Small World Music present the klezmer-jazz-world music band Zebrina with clarinettist Ben Goldberg. The Music Gallery, 197 John St. $15, $18. Thursday, May 23, 7:30 p.m.
• Standup comics Nile Seguin and Rebecca Kohler will each be recording sets of comedy at the LOT (Lower Ossington Theatre) Stand-Up Comedy Club. Tickets $15. Thursday, May 23, 8 p.m.; doors open 7 p.m. www.rebeccakohler.com, www.nileseguin.com
• Critic Adam Nayman continues his series on Four Controversial Directors with a look at the films of Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Showgirls). $12 drop-in, $6 for students. Miles Nadal JCC, Monday, May 27, 7 to 9 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 606.
• Shaarei Shomayim Congregation presents the first in a series of movie matinees with the screening of The Jazz Singer together with The Al Jolson Story. 470 Glencairn Ave., just east of Bathurst. Members free, guests $3. Tuesday, May 28, 1 p.m. 416-789-3213.
• Adath Israel presents a star-studded Doo Wop Concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, the Diamonds’ David Sommerville, Jay Siegel’s Tokens, the Marcels, Kenny Vance and the Planotones, Kathy Young and Pure Gold. $100, premium $250. 37 Southbourne Ave. Tuesday, May 28; doors open 6 p.m., concert starts 7 p.m. Funds raised will go toward the Ilanot Special Needs School in Jerusalem. 416-638-7200, ext. 130. jnftoronto.ca