The Jewish Nomad: Four live theatre shows to look for on Canadian stages this spring

Wowza. Live theatre is coming out of hibernation—for real this time—after more than two years of too many cancelled or postponed shows.

In addition to Infinithéâtre’s upcoming Mazel Tov (which I’ll be performing in!) there are a whole bunch of new Jewish and Israeli plays opening in Canada over the next month or two.

As a professional thespian, I feel it’s my duty to share some of them. Arts organizations have suffered greatly due to the pandemic, so I implore you to spend your dollars on supporting the folks who work to keep you entertained.

April Fools (Segal Centre, Montreal)

An adult rock cabaret written by Israeli singer Keren Peles. Need I say more? (I will anyway.)

With the direction of Moshe Kepten—who currently holds the position of artistic director at the National Theatre of Israel—and choreography from So You Think You Can Dance Canada judge Sean Cheesman, this steamy musical is having its North American premiere in May.

April Fools tells the story of a woman who begins to have a scandalous affair with a soon-to-be married man. Her struggles are embodied by the performers who represent her conflicting urges: Confidence, Doubt, Morality and Libido. 

With the leading roles played by Eva Foote and Daniel Murphy—both of whom have performed at the prestigious Stratford Festival in Ontario—I’m very intrigued to see how it all turns out.

April Fools runs from May 1-22, with admission off-limits to anyone under 18. Visit the Segal Centre website for more information.

Boy Falls from the Sky (Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto)

After initial recognition for for his teen TV role on Degrassi, taking the Broadway stage in Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark wasn’t as shiny as Jake Epstein expected. Nine years later, he’s back home to share the ups and downs of his personal and professional experiences through song and story in this solo show.

My podcasting co-host, David Sklar, recently interviewed Jake at the 45-minute mark of a recent episode of Bonjour Chai.

Boy Falls from the Sky runs from April 19-May 29 with more information available via Mirvish.

The Great Divide (Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, Toronto)

The company’s first live show since the pandemic was inspired by a historical event: the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, which killed 146 garment workers—mostly immigrant women—within 10 minutes. 

Alix Sobler’s script highlights the struggles of that era. The winner of the 2015 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, director Avery Saltzman is ushering it to a stage in this country for the first time.

More about The Great Divide’s run from April 30-May 15, at the Meridian Arts Centre at 5040 Yonge St., can be found at the website of the Harold Green.

Mazel Tov (Infinithéâtre, Montreal)

Written by French-Canadian playwright Marc-André Thibault, the show I’m starring in this season originally premiered five years ago in French, at Théâtre Prospero.

My director, Ellen David, is also an actor you may recognize from many plays, TV shows and films—including Barney’s Version, alongside Dustin Hoffman. 

She saw the French version of Mazel Tov, and reached out to Marc-André about adapting his dark comedy for an English audience.

I play Isabelle, a Jewish bride who gets married to a non-Jew. (You can imagine how her parents feel.) When the best man, a friend of the groom’s, makes a seemingly antisemitic gesture at the wedding, everything falls apart at the seams. 

The show also stars Howard Rosenstein, Jahlani Knorren and Kevin Black.

Mazel Tov will be presented at Kin Experience from April 29-May 8. (The preview on April 28 has tickets available for 50% off.) Click here for more information.

Ilana Zackon can be reached at ilanawritesthings[@] and found on Facebook and Instagram.

HEAR what else she has to say every week on Bonjour Chai