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Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

THE MESHUGANUTCRACKER! Comes to Cinemas for One Night Only; Bruce Vilanch to Appear During Screening

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Broadway World
THE MESHUGANUTCRACKER! Comes to Cinemas for One Night Only; Bruce Vilanch to Appear During Screening
by BWW News Desk Oct. 9, 2017

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Presented by Fathom Events, in partnership with Guggenheim Entertainment, “The MeshugaNutcracker!” will be shown in U.S. cinemas for one night on Tuesday, December 19 at 7:00 p.m. local time. During this screening, Emmy Award-winning and Broadway star Bruce Vilanch will appear on screen as a special guest.

Tickets for “The MeshugaNutcracker!” can be purchased online by visiting www.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 350 select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

“It’s a show that’s really never been done before,” says Susan Gundunas, one of the stars of the ensemble cast. “Not just because there’s finally a big, beautiful show about Chanukah in the same way there are big, beautiful shows celebrating Christmas, but also because the cast is singing an amazing challenging score that was originally intended for musical instruments! We get to sing the piccolo line and clarinet line of melodies you’ve had in your head forever but that have been wordless for hundreds of years. It’s a real treat to sing such melodious, grand music.”

“The MeshugaNutcracker!” showcases eight stories that pay tribute to the first celebration of Chanukah in the new state of Israel, as well as Judah Maccabee’s triumphant saga and accounts of perseverance. Written and directed by Scott Evan Guggenheim, Shannon Guggenheim and Stephen Guggenheim, the full-length musical comedy features the wonderfully silly sensibilities of the folklore of Chelm (a fictional town of fools), underscored by an invigorating Klezmer-ized orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” Alongside original lyrics in honor of Chanukah, “The MeshugaNutcracker!” includes dancing dreidels, singing sufganiot and special guest stars bringing audiences delight as they celebrate this holiday season.

“We are always thrilled to embrace the holiday spirit with audiences and celebrate such a special time of year, and this year there’s no better way than watching a fun twist on a beloved classic,” Fathom Events VP of Programming Kymberli Frueh said. “This performance is a fun way for audiences to learn more about the history and traditions of Chanukah in a kitchy spin, using the Nutcracker’s classic music in a way they’ve never experienced it before.”

“No matter what religion you are, no matter what you celebrate this time of year – it’s about finding the light in people, finding light in yourself, letting the holidays truly illuminate everything around you,” Shannon Guggenheim, lyricist and one of the co-producers, said. “And yes, it does sound schmaltzy but that’s why we balance it with a lot of schmaltz in our show! That really is what we’re trying to do: give families something bright and fun but also poignant and meaningful to celebrate this time of year.”

About Fathom Events

Fathom Events is recognized as the leading domestic distributor of event cinema with participating affiliate theaters in all 100 of the top Designated Market Areas, and ranks as one of the largest overall distributors of content to movie theaters. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) (known collectively as AC JV, LLC), Fathom Events offers a variety of one-of-a-kind entertainment events such as live, high-definition performances of the Metropolitan Opera, dance and theatre productions like the Bolshoi Ballet and National Theatre Live, sporting events like “Canelo Álvarez vs. Julio César Chávez, Jr.,” concerts with artists like Michael Bublé, Rush and Mötley Crüe, the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classics film series, inspirational events such as To Joey With Love and Facing Darkness, and anime titles such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Fathom Events takes audiences behind the scenes and offers unique extras including audience Q&As, backstage footage and interviews with cast and crew, creating the ultimate VIP experience. Fathom Events’ live digital broadcast network (“DBN”) is the largest cinema broadcast network in North America, bringing live and pre-recorded events to 897 locations and 1,387 screens in 181 DMAs. For more information, visit www.fathomevents.com.

About Guggenheim Entertainment

Guggenheim Entertainment, Inc. is a theatrical Production Company based in California’s San Francisco Bay Area celebrating 30 years of producing musical theatre, events, and serving the needs of clients throughout the West Coast. The team at the helm of Guggenheim Entertainment is composed of directors, producers, writers, performers, and designers who produce and present full length and one-act musicals; design and teach classes for students of all ages; provide custom event design for a variety of clients; and originate educational arts programming. Since 1986, the Guggenheims have been at the forefront of Theatre In Education, having won an Antoinette Perry Award (giver of the coveted Tony Award) for Excellence in Theatre in Education. They’ve made “The MeshugaNutcracker!” available to non-profit organization as a fundraiser helping raise over $250,000 for West Coast non-profit organizations. In 2009, Guggenheim Entertainment opened The Retro Dome and premiered their original musical, “Thanks For Playing…The Game Show Show!” The team will open a venue in Downtown San Jose on New Year’s Eve 2017: 3Below Theaters & Lounge will offer the Bay Area another opportunity to enjoy live theater, interactive movie experiences, theatre conservatory for aspiring young actors, intimate operas, and film festivals. Visit 3belowtheaters.com for more information.


‘The Outrageous Sophie Tucker': New York Jewish Film Festival Review

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

‘The Outrageous Sophie Tucker’: New York Jewish Film

Festival Review


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William Gazecki’s documentary recounts the life and career of the famed performer known as the “Last of the Red Hot Mamas


She was one of the most celebrated and successful performers of the 20th century, but few people are aware of Sophie Tucker today. Despite the loving tributes performed by Bette Midler in her concert appearances over the years, the “Last of the Red Hot Mamas” has lapsed into showbiz obscurity, something that William Gazecki’s loving documentary clearly hopes to correct. Recently showcased at the New York Jewish Film Festival, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker should have a long life in ancillary markets after its theatrical release later this year.


The film’s true auteurs are producers Susan and Lloyd Ecker, who became fascinated with the singer after seeing Midler delivering Sophie Tuckers jokes in her act in 1973. The film, part of the couple’s burgeoning cottage industry about the performer—they’re written a book and plan to create stage, film and television shows about her—features them prominently as talking heads alongside such figures as Barbara Walters, Tony Bennett, Bruce Vilanch, Carol Channing, Michael Feinstein and many others.

Read More Bette Midler Announces First Tour in More Than a Decade

There was no shortage of raw material from which to work, as the detail-obsessed Tucker compiled over 400 scrapbooks from 1906 to 1966 chronicling her life and career.

Tucker began her show business career singing at her Russian immigrant parents’ kosher restaurant in Hartford, Connecticut. She appeared on the vaudeville circuit, often performing in blackface, before eventually moving to New York and getting her big break with the Ziegfeld Follies. Ironically, she was soon let go when the other female performers refused to go on with her for fear of being eclipsed.

By 1929 she was arguably the biggest female star in the world, and she continued to be a major concert draw until not long before her death in 1966. She was never quite able to cross over to Hollywood stardom, although the documentary includes clips of her memorable appearance in MGM’s BroadwayMelody of 1938 opposite Judy Garland, to whom she became a mentor.

Her larger than life personality, bawdiness, uninhibited sexuality and willingness to celebrate her ample girth made her a unique performer, but it was her genius for self-promotion that truly served her well. Barbara Walters, whose father’s Latin Quarter nightclubs in Miami and New York regularly featured Tucker, amusingly describes how the performer would sign copies of her memoir after her shows, refusing to autograph anything else or even to make change (all the money was going to Israel, she would assure her customers). She also had a huge number of product endorsements, including her own line of soap.

Read More ‘The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer: New York Jewish Film Festival Review

Her friends were legion, including everyone from Al Capone, with whom she played cards, and J. Edgar Hoover who, the film purports, once asked to borrow one of her dresses. It wouldn’t fit, she assured him.

The film has its share of missteps, such as the awkward animating of old still photographs and the excessive commentary from the producers, with Lloyd Ecker even tearing up while describing Tucker’s death at age 79 nearly a half century ago. And some of the anecdotes related, including a second-hand account of U.S. soldiers blasting her recording of “My Yiddishe Mama” on the streets of Berlin after Germany surrendered as a tribute to a fallen comrade, seem more than a little apocryphal.

But for a younger generation who think that Madonna and Lady Gaga represent the heights of outrageousness, The Outrageous Sophie Tucker stands as a much needed reminder that they have a very large debt to pay.

Production: Innovative Films
Director/director of photography/editor: Wiliam Gazecki
Producers: Lloyd Ecker, Susan Ecker
Executive producers: Phil Ramone, Gene Schwam