Thursday, July 24, 2014 Tammuz 26, 5774

Michael Elkin

Features Editor
A blockbuster with potential for a religious backlash
Just why is Mona Lisa smiling? Probably because she didn't have to stand in line to get good seats at this Friday's opening of "The Da Vinci Code." Or maybe, she's glad she wasn't invited to "The Last Supper." After all, look at the tzuris it meant for Mary Magdalene? Whatever she's smiling about, there are others frowning on this...
The tribe has … schpilkes. In a Jewish "Survivor" battle of the Bar Mitzvahs, "Keeping Up With the Steins" sets the bar high above a Jew's oys. The Bar Mitzvah boy? Bimah him up way beyond celebrations ever experienced by others his age. May the Force be with him; but then it's the bills that belong to his papa and...
Pentateuch Envy, Anyone? Steins? Their cups runneth over - way over, as this at-times very funny film will have viewers not so much beaming from the bimah as bemoaning where all the flour has gone? Why, to build a Bar Mitzvah cake that would sink a Titanic - if that weren't already in play as the theme for the young...
It's a Mother's Day present with a past. Such was the gift lovingly provided by Lee Caplin, whose call to his mother two years ago that they had gotten rights to adapt a book to film provided a social security for Ruth Sacks Caplin that no government check could compete against. How dramatic a real-life script when you're an 85-year-old...
Sylvia Kauders is as comfy with 'The Sopranos' as 'The Goldbergs'
So, tell me, Sylvia, first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning … gotta get a gun? More like a hamantashen, laughs the actress whose face has launched a thousand ship-shape parts. These days, her countenance can be counted on to show up in "The Sopranos," where the Center City resident is a good goomba of a...


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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