Monday, December 5, 2016 Kislev 5, 5777

Michael Elkin

David Brenner starts his 'Leave 'em Laughing' tour in a town he never really left behind
In his newly staged world series of stand-up, David Brenner has opened with a home run. "What more can a Philly guy do than start my tour right here, right at home?" says the comedian/author whose own West Side story recalls his days as a gang member in West Philly and whose South Philly roots had him rooting for rock...
Mirth is Modi's operandi. Israeli-born Modi Rosenfeld -- now known by his first name only -- is on a first-name basis with laughter. The comedian with a cantorial commitment -- serving as chazzan at New York's Community Synagogue -- is no fringe festival funny man. Mainlining mirth? See for yourself: He's on screen on top of his game in "Stand...
Matthew Friedman -- ideally groomed to play the Piano Man, Billy Joel, on Broadway? Just ask the groom himself. "Billy invited me to perform at his wedding," says the uptown guy from Long Island -- just like Joel -- who keyed into the keyboards at the 2004 wedding of Joel and Katie Lee. "I played six hours straight -- I...
Recording star Rami Kleinstein made the move from his native New York at age 8 in 1970 to the desert storm that was the Mideast at a time when things, according to Dylan, were a'changin'. "I grew up influenced by the Beatles, a time of flowers in your hair -- and you take that with you," he says. Kleinstein's take...
Maybe on to a Tony Award sweep -- familiar dance ground for some local academy alums and their top-notch teacher
Set to spring and soar among the Tony Award seraphim after stepping to the forefront of Broadway's best following this past Tuesday's record-tying nominations (15) announcement, "Billy Elliot" is operating on all jetés. And while this movie-based moving musical about an impoverished young lad from an English coal-mining town burnished into a diamond at dance class has raised the barr...


Michael Elkin worked for the Jewish Exponent for over 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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