In conversation: Rabbi Leivi Sudak

Discover the extraordinary real life story behind the Tony Award-winning musical Come From Away

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From the Canadian Jewish writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away tells the incredible true story of how the residents of Gander, Newfoundland, welcomed the passengers of planes from around the world grounded by the 9/11 attacks, including a stranded rabbi from London. As the show arrives in London via Dublin this January, the real life rabbi – Leivi Sudak of Edgware Lubavitch – tells Judi Herman the full story of the welcome with which he was blessed in Gander, and the support he in turn was able to bring to other passengers and to a Holocaust survivor who had made his home in Gander.

His story is in two parts and both share wonderful instances of the kindness of Gander’s residents. The first ends on a bit of a cliff hanger, while in the second listeners will find out how a fellow passenger, an Israeli Jewish Buddhist, ended up peeling potatoes with Rabbi Sudak to help prepare a Shabbat meal. Discover kosher wine in a Gander supermarket, hear the remarkable story of that Holocaust survivor, and the nail-biting story of how Rabbi Sudak made New York in time for Rosh Hashanah thanks to a 500-mile dash by an extraordinary Gander couple.

Come From Away runs Wednesday 30 January – Saturday 14 September. 7.30pm, 2.30pm (Wed & Sat only). From £19.50. Phoenix Theatre, WC2H 0JP.

Read our review of Come From Away on the JR blog.

In conversation: Richard Kalinoski

The American playwright discusses his play Beast on the Moon

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Speaking from his Milwaukee home, Richard Kalinoski talks to Judi Herman about his play, Beast on the Moon, which comes to London’s Finborough Theatre at the end of January. Set in 1920s Milwaukee, his story follows the fate of an ill-matched couple, Aram and Seta. The immigrant refugees are thrown together in the aftermath of the Armenian massacre, trying to rebuild their lives, which is eventually made possible thanks to a youngster from the Italian community.

Beast on the Moon runs Tuesday 29 January – Saturday 23 February. 7.30pm, 3pm (Sat & Sun only). £18-£20, £16-£18 concs. Finborough Theatre, SW10 9ED. 012 2335 7851.

Read our review of Beast on the Moon on the JR blog.

In conversation: Alexander Bodin Saphir

The writer and filmmaker talks about his debut play Rosenbaum’s Rescue

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The grandparents of Alexander Bodin Saphir were among 7,000 Danish Jews who were saved from the Nazis in October 1943 and this daring episode is the subject of his new play, Rosenbaum’s Rescue. Ahead of its premiere at London’s Park Theatre, and our article about the play and its very personal story in the January issue of JR, Alexander met up with Judi Herman during Chanukah, when he told her more about his own background and how the story of the play – part of which takes place during Chanukah – is relevant to the festival’s message of defiance and freedom.

Rosenbaum’s Rescue runs Wednesday 9 January to Saturday 9 February 7.30pm, 3pm (Thu & Sat only). £18.50-£32.50, £16.50- £23.50 concs. Park Theatre, N4 3JP. 020 7870 6876.

Read our four-star review of Rosenbaum’s Rescue on the JR blog.

In conversation: Jenna Augen

The American star of Bad Jews returns to JR OutLoud to discuss her latest role

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It’s the season for Chanukah fun, and laugh-out-loud slapstick comedy with music doesn’t come any funnier than the smash hit show The Comedy About A Bank Robbery. Producer Kenny Wax and Mischief Theatre have just announced an extension until at least November 2019! And the good news is that Jenna Augen is to continue in the role of resourceful bank receptionist Ruth Monaghan. Judi Herman and Jenna last chatted on JR OutLoud when she was one of the four stars of another smash hit – Bad Jews – so Judi was delighted to meet up again to talk farce, diamond heists, bad puns, accents, Jewish roles and much more.

The Comedy About A Bank Robbery runs until Sunday 3 November 2019. 7.30pm, 2.30pm (Sat only), 3pm (Sun only). £10-£72.50. Criterion Theatre, W1V 9LB. 084 4815 6131.