JCC presents ‘Matzo Ball Diaries’

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The JCC CenterStage will present “The Matzo Ball Diaries” virtually January 16-31.

Ralph Meranto, the JCC CenterStage Artistic Director, discussed the online production Monday during News 8 at Noon.

“So ‘Matzo Ball Diaries,’ I love this piece,” said Meranto. “It’s a piece we’re doing in conjunction with the Women’s Jewish Theatre of Los Angeles and what they do out there is really cool. They come up with a theme and then they solicit writers from around the country to submit essays and stories based on real-life experiences. And then they distill all that down to a piece that’s performed by five actors and has like 12 short stories in it that they present to audiences. There are stories in there like – the first one is called, ‘Eat, Eat!’ which is all about a guy who was fat as a kid and loses weight by avoiding his Jewish guilt foods. There’s the story of the creation of IHOP. There’s a piece called ‘Tomato Omelette’ which is all about finding love in the produce section. There are some more serious stories about eating disorders, and then my favorite is the one where a young granddaughter discovers what’s really the secret to a brisket recipe. So it’s pieces like that, that all kind of connect food and family, that is something that we think everybody will be able to enjoy.”

“The Matzo Ball Diaries” will be presented viz Zoom. “On Opening Night, January 16, there will be a live Zoom feed,” Meranto explained. “People will be able to dial in and be part of the conversation. They’ll be able to hear the stories and then there will be a talkback at the end where they can share their own stories, and talk about, and ask questions of how the piece is created. And then that Opening Night performance will be recorded and be available until the 31st for anybody else to watch at any other time. Now we had this piece in our season. We were going to do it in Rochester on our stage which, of course, we are not doing on our stage. And we realized since we’re going to be able to do it online, instead of casting it locally, we’re actually using the original Los Angeles cast who created the piece and who did the show out there for about a year before we got the rights to it. So they’ll be dialing in to Zoom on Saturday the 16th from their homes in Los Angeles and it’s that piece that we’ll be sharing with everybody in the community.”

To get your tickets to “The Matzo Ball Diaries” call (585) 461-2000 or go at JCCCenterStage.org.

Meranto remains optimistic audiences will be able to attend live theatre in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region sometime in 2021. “We all miss being able to go into a theatre and experience live theatre. We’re planning on — all things going smoothly — by the fall we’ll be able to be back inside the theatre, probably with reduced capacity. But we’re also working on the some contingency plans for the summer that hopefully will allow us to have some outdoor theatre and music programs at the Jewish Community Center. The JCC has been open for fitness at a reduced capacity, but we’re hoping we can get back to those live cultural arts events in the summer and then definitely full force in the fall.”

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