JEWISH VAUDEVILLE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN LA
A good example of this can be found in the current production BELZ! at the White Fire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. If there ever was a prime example of a labor of love it is this work by Pavel Cerny, the author and director of this ode to all the humor and heart felt emotions of the Jewish people.
Belz refers to the locality where this chronicle of Jewish life begins and ends. We are taken on a journey as this spirited cast weaves us through all their trials and tribulations as they continue on their way by way of humor and songs.
It’s an infectious experience that Cerny has put together judging by the response of those who were the lucky participants of this show. And it is very clear that Pavel Cerny has lived through it all. When you read the biography of this guy it is nothing short of astounding what he has gone through and we are all lucky that he has been able to present this to us by way of this production.
Cerny had the beginning of his odyssey at his birth place in Czechoslovakia but it wasn’t long before he emerged as a theatrical talent in the United States when he opened the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles on the Sunset Strip. I have had an intimate connection with LA since the late fifties but have to admit I had never heard of this theater and its ground breaking activities while this was going on.
At any rate, seeing this current production at the White Fire one gets a good idea of the debt we owe to the heritage of Jewish humor in all its ramifications. We get glimpses what it must have been like being part of the famous Borscht Belt in the Catskills in its heyday and where virtually all of America’s humorists got their start. Jewish vaudeville as shown in this show reawakens us all to the richness of how this must have been and how important it is to keep this guiding light still with us.
It would be a mistake for anyone to miss this show as well as what Cerny has promised us to be his next production, soon to be a reality.
www.whitefiretheatre.com…….818.990.2324…….13500 Ventura Bl, Sherman Oaks