Feldshuh's portrayal of Meir comes to Vegas
Good as Golda? That's an understatement for actress Tovah Feldshuh .
She earned a Tony nomination -- and set a Broadway record -- portraying Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in "Golda's Balcony," which plays The Smith Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday afternoon.
Scripted by "Miracle Worker" playwright William Gibson, "Golda's Balcony" -- the longest-running one-woman show in Broadway history -- follows Meir's journey from her native Russia, where her family fled anti-Semitic pogroms, to Milwaukee and ultimately to Israel.
Much of the action takes place during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria attacked Israel -- and Prime Minister Meir drew criticism for her handling of the crisis, setting the stage for her 1974 resignation as prime minister.
Feldshuh describes "Golda's Balcony" as very American in its focus on "one person's worthy and idealistic dream: the creation of a Jewish state to have as a haven for the Jewish people," she says in a telephone interview from her New York home. "And the irony is, it's the least secure place for a Jewish person to live."
Meir is hardly the first real-life character the veteran actress has portrayed; her previous roles include such acting legends as Katharine Hepburn (twice), Tallulah Bankhead and Sarah Bernhardt.
But while it takes considerable study to capture "the accent, the walk, the body postures," even figuring out how to play "a chain smoker ... when you don't smoke," Feldshuh says, "you don't want to be an impersonator -- unless you want to play different venues in Vegas." (Sunday's performance, coincidentally, marks Feldshuh's Vegas debut.)
After all, "it's not just getting inside her head," she says of playing Meir. "It's getting inside her heart, her gut," all the while pursuing "the ultimate effortlessness of the performance."
Feldshuh performs "Golda's Balcony" at 5 p.m. Sunday in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Ave. Tickets -- $43-$139 for the general public and $39.40-$124.40 for students and seniors 60 and over -- are available by phone at 749-2000 or online at www.TheSmithCenter.com.
Cabaret jazz welcomes Branford Marsalis
He's played alongside everybody from Sting to Miles Davis, served as "Tonight Show" bandleader, appeared in movies (from "Throw Momma from the Train" to "Eve's Bayou") and won three Grammy Awards.
He's even been nominated for a Tony Award, for his score for the revival of August Wilson's acclaimed "Fences."
These days, however, saxophonist Branford Marsalis is most at home playing himself -- which he'll do Saturday night when he and the rest of his quartet visit Cabaret Jazz, the intimate club at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
In contrast to his early showbiz success, which found Marsalis bouncing from R&B to rock to funk, Marsalis has dedicated himself to jazz for more than a decade.
Reflecting on his past successes, "There's an argument to be made that when I was a more enthusiastic musician and far less skilled, people liked the music more," Marsalis told the Nashville Music Industry Examiner in January. "And now, although it's refined, I'm just as enthusiastic now when I play, except it's not that 27-year-old exuberance. It's not, 'Isn't it amazing that I'm doing this for a living? Oh my God!' Now it's, 'Yeah, I'm good at this. I belong here. And I'm getting better.' "
You can catch Marsalis and bandmates Joey Calderazzo (piano), Justin Faulkner (drums) and Eric Revis (bass) at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday in Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center, 361 Symphony Park Ave. Tickets are $56-$164 and are available by phone at 749-2000 or online at www.TheSmithCenter.com.
-- By CAROL CLING