Wednesday, July 30, 2014 Av 3, 5774

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
Three holiday films face off with Hitler and the Holocaust
Are the studios of Hollywood about to drop the dreidel on us? No spin zone, here. Latkes and lollapaloozas are in store for moviegoers at menorah time with three big features featured as Jewish gelt -- a guilt-load of riches -- at year's end and at next year's beginning. Paging "The Reader," a chilling chapter-and-verse adaptation of the best-selling Bernhard...
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, they made it out of ... rock? Roll with it, muses Erran Baron Cohen, keying in on some new sound advice for those who want mischievous music with their matzah balls. It's all in his latest, the lyrical "Songs in the Key of Hanukkah." "Ocho Kandalikas," with Yasmin Levy adding her voice to the mix? Rapper Y-Love...
A mother's kibitz -- kisses on the chic that smack of good intentions and, invariably, of good humor. Judy Gold's mother is the mother of all smotherers, and she tells you why in "25 Questions for a Jewish Mother," an off-Broadway hit off to Philadelphia, where it opens a limited run Dec. 11 at Philadelphia Theatre Company's Suzanne Roberts Theatre...
Housewives and husbands -- put the Hoover away: "Dust" is not "Schmutz" for the cleaning crowd. The real dirt on "Dust" is that it's destined to provide a spine-tingling time for those who think life is just a measure of inches and seconds, as fate sucks away rhyme and reason as a daily determinant. The power of the play is...
Will the Yiddish police raid the Wilma?
Wait, a minute, who you calling ... "Schmucks"? Nothing personal, just playful, muses Roy Smiles. He should know: Reviews have smiled down on the playwright's "Schmucks" since its debut in 1992 in London; it is about to receive a sweet 16 of an anniversary with a premiere staging here, at the Wilma Theater, opening this coming Wednesday after a series...


Michael Elkin has worked as the Exponent Arts & Entertainment and Features editors for some 40 years.

He has won some 40 national and regional writing awards over his career as well as three fellowships in playwriting and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

His arts articles — including working as a jazz critic for the Evening and Sunday Bulletin; book reviewer for the Philadelphia Inquirer; and rock reviewer/TV writer for the Camden Courier-Post  — and op-eds have appeared throughout North America; his plays have been staged internationally, including runs in Romania — one play running for  five years —  Israel, Germany, Los Angeles and, locally, the Walnut Street Theatre and People's Light and Theatre Company. He is a  Tony Award voter and is a member of a national new play selection committee handing out an annual award to an  up-and-coming playwright.

He worked as a mentor with the Philadelphia Young Playwrights' outreach program to area high schools and at one point headed up the playwriting program at the Walnut Street Theatre School.  His play "Cries in the Night" was cited in the book "The Best Plays of 1992-93," in the "New Plays From Around the Country" category. His travel articles have appeared nationally and he has worked as a travel editor for Fodor's Travel Guides.

As a screenwriter, he  was asked by filmmaker John Frankenheimer ("Birdman of Alcatraz," "The Manchurian Candidate"), with whom he then worked,  to write a script for Frankenheimer to direct.

He has moderated and taken part in national conferences both here and in New York on topics ranging from hip-hop/rap to theater to comedy and has served as a board member of film and theater arts groups.

Elkin has appeared on area TV and radio shows and served as arts critic for the cable program "Our Town." He has been cited in reference books for his investigative work on TV as an influential social medium. For his expertise in film and theater, Elkin was asked to — and did — serve as on-screen interviewer of actor Richard Dreyfuss in a documentary about the American Music Theater Festival, with which Dreyfuss was involved.

A graduate of Temple University — he also studied screenwriting at New York University and attended the University of Houston Bates School of Law — Elkin was honored to be Temple's commencement speaker in the mid-90s. He also taught journalism at Temple as well as screenwriting at La Salle University.



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