Keneseth Israel Presents Cities of Light

Over the past year, Yael Melzer and Myra Goldman, leaders in the Louisville Jewish community and at Keneseth Israel Congregation, have been researching ways to deepen and enhance Jewish experiences in Louisville.

Through these discussions and informal focus groups, Melzer and Goldman identified an important piece they feel is missing from Jewish culture in Louisville. There is no ongoing series of theatre/performance with unambiguous Jewish culture and identity themes.

Therefore K.I. will join together with ShPIeL Productions, based in Chicago, to bring Jewish cultural and identity themes to the Louisville Jewish community in an entertaining and educational manner.

ShPIeL-Performing Identity, a theatre/performance incubator and production compay, is the brainchild of David Y. Chack. (

A past assistant executive director of Louisville’s JCC, he now splits his time between Chicago and Louisville, is president of the international Association for Jewish Theatre, and he has just joined the adjunct faculty at DePaul University Theatre School in Chicago.

K.I. and ShPIeL’s first production, Cities of Light, will be performed on Thursday, September 15, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 17, at 9 p.m.; and Sunday, September 18, at 2 p.m. – with international cabaret and theatre performer Rebecca Joy Fletcher at Keneseth Israel synagogue.

Much is known historically about the Holocaust and the many atrocities committed. But do we know the creativity, the stories, the songs and the performances from Jewish artists in Europe at that time?

Cities of Light, a theatrical cabaret, takes the audience to Europe before and after WWII, through the eyes of great Jewish cabaret artists, all portrayed by Rebecca Joy Fletcher.

Fletcher illuminates the wit, bravado, and optimism of the centers of Jewish cabaret – Weimar era tangos in Berlin, Dada shimmies in Paris, Yiddish licks in Warsaw, and ocean-inspired lullabies in Tel Aviv. She breathes life into long-lost songs, vaudeville sketches and the strains of jazz. Through Cities of Light, the audience is introduced to those who influenced the likes of Danny Kaye, Noel Coward, and Cole Porter as well as theatre artists today such as Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, and Mandy Patinkin.

Fletcher worked with one of the leading experts in Tel Aviv cabaret, Dr. Naama Ramot, to research this show.

She moved to Israel after college, where she studied playwriting and acting, and performed at various cabaret and improv comedy venues. She also completed the rigorous training at Hebrew Union College’s cantorial school.

Tickets are $15 for general seating and $26 for cabaret seating. For more information, or to purchase tickets, come by the KI office Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. or call 459-2780. You can also call the Cities of Light voice mail, 627-0459 or e-mail Tickets will be available at the door an hour before the performance.

If you purchase your tickets by September 10, you can receive $5 off the price of two general seating tickets. To take advantage of the discount, please use the Cities of Light voice mail or e-mail and give the code “KI.”

Support for this program was provided by a Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services Louisville Jewish Community Excellence Grant.

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