Kvetch 22

Oy vey! So what's with Arizona Jewish Theatre Company's Gentile bent?

Gardner told me, "You'd have to be Jewish to understand that after a while you get desensitized to having your culture ignored. We live with a Christian calendar, a Christian workweek, a Christian ethic. So seeing a couple of Gentiles playing Jews really isn't that big a deal. Anyway, in this case, they're good actors."

Gardner's largess is shared by others. "When we first started the theater, I thought we would pull all kinds of Jewish talent out of the woodwork," Arnold says. "But once we went Equity, we had to go with the best actor. At least now we get Gentiles to audition. Before, they were afraid to." Arnold thinks that working for a Jewish theater is enlightening for non-Jewish people, whether they realize it or not. "Michael and Robyn decided to stage the curtain call as a Jewish wedding," she says. "They came to me to ask for yarmulkes and a prayer shawl, and I told them about breaking the glass at the end of the ceremony. Those are things they were probably glad to learn about."

DeArmond was happy about something altogether different. "I was glad to find out that we didn't have to work on Christmas," she told me.

Arizona Jewish Theatre Company's production of They're Playing Our Song continues through Sunday, January 12, in Stage West at Herberger Theater Center, 222 East Monroe. For more details, see Theater listing in Thrills.

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