That’s all folks, another year of theater wrapped! Unfortunately, as we all know, Covid-19 is still with us and has caused some performances to be canceled or postponed in 2021-2022, along with one major theatrical space going out of commission. Fortunately theater is still with us, and many of the postponed productions still had live performances. Companies were resilient with keeping their hopes alive to see their productions happen. There have been many innovative ways to keep our community going and there are plenty more productions on the way this coming year in 2022.
First we had the wonderful Shakespeare Monologue Presentations which were done outdoors near the beautiful Tayelet by Theater In the Rough in February 2021 after having to figure out maneuvering within the lockdowns. A dozen performers acted out monologues from Shakespeare’s plays in front of some 30 audience members . It was so successful that Theater in the Rough is planning another round in 2022.
Although Beit Hillel Theater Workshop had to postpone their usual Chanukah performance, they were able to perform Aida this past May! Six months’ wait didn’t stop them, and performers were welcomed by a very appreciative audience just starting to come see the theater again.
As things started to open up, Raise Your Spirits put on the original show Rebecca! Mother of Two Dynasties over the summer. They even had an encore performance later in the year.
One way we saw innovation was Beit Hillel Theater Workshop’s Disney Live in Concert. This company decided to do something completely new this past summer and performed a compilation of fun Disney songs for audiences in the Hebrew University Rachel Simon Theater with many children enjoying their favorite sing-alongs.
Back from being postponed in 2020, Theater in the Rough put together a raving performance of Henry IV: In Motion in their usual spot at the Bloomfield Gardens (with masks of course).
Crossroads Theater Shed, a new company for youth that started right before the Covid lockdowns put up a Young Playwrights and Performers Theater Festival live in the Khan Theatre at the end of August. After doing virtual theater festivals, the young people were ready to get back on stage with their own original works. They had been mentored by playwrights from the USA, finding hybrid virtual opportunities to help them learn. We can expect a second festival for Winter 2022!
Then another show which was postponed for a whole year but recently went up during Chanukah was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Israel Musicals, performed in a new theater space in Pisgat Ze’ev.
Chanukah was a lively time for theater as not only did Israel Musicals perform but Beit Hillel Theater Workshop put on a wonderful performance of The Little Mermaid in their usual Chanukah slot, another Disney classic brought to the Jerusalem stage.
Ben Bard Players also had their rendition of The Consul, The Tramp and America’s Sweetheart postponed by many months but was able to bring it to a live stage at the Khan Theatre around Chanukah time with a great audience.
And to finish off the year 2021, Encore! Educational Theatre Company brought the classic, Annie, back to the stage. They cast two Annies for the show to make sure “the show would go on” in case of a Covid-19 issue. Maybe the community will start using more understudies in roles? Another innovation?
Before all the live theater started happening again, virtual productions still took place throughout the year. Crossroads Theater Shed’s 2nd Virtual Theater Festival taking place in February, Encore! and WPC releasing their previous works of Ruddigore, Hidden, Count the Stars, and more online for audiences to see while still at home.
We had our 2nd JET Community Picnic in the summer after our last one before Covid-19 in 2019 introducing new production companies and other news for our community with a gathered group of community members old and new.
We also launched a JET Community survey to share ideas for the future and see what our community needs and wants are. The survey is still open for a few more weeks.
And after all this we already have a great lineup for this coming year! The Blessing of a Broken Heart by Theater and Theology, which just was postponed due to Covid-19 will have dates in the future for live performances, After Rome by CBDB Productions opens in February at the Khan Theatre, Heathers by Starcatcher opens in March at Beit Mazia and Whisper Freedom by WPC opens at the end of February at IASA Theater, a production by Theatre Zion is coming, and more.
Theatre is still alive and even podcasts have been started to promote shows, specifically by Starcatcher.
We hope that live theater keeps coming back this year in our community and as we can see there is plenty to look forward to including the new and innovative.
Here’s to another great year of theater and a healthy year to all!