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12.26.14 Issue

by Ozzie Nogg

The JCC was the place to be this past Nov. 14, when Noah’s Ark: An Original Mini-Musical (complete with Noah’s family and singing animals) landed on the Theater stage. The performance, written and produced by Deborah Greenblatt and David Seay, featured Rose Blumkin Jewish Home Residents and students from the Friedel Jewish Academy singing selections in a variety of styles, inducing blues, Cajun, calypso and Klezmer. The animals on the Ark were played by Friedel students Noah Blair, Jack Cohen, Oliver Lucoff, Sophia Mavropoulos, Doniven Polivka, Noah Shrago, Aviva Chana Shyken, Batsheva Shyken, Julian Witkowski and Maayan Zinman. Blumkin Home Residents participating in the production included Steve Abrahamson, Annette Fettman, Art Jacobsen, Mitzie Monovitz, Betty Muskin and Marvin Parilman who played Noah’s family; Jane Cohen, narrator; Candy Bold, Bernice Green, Joan Raduziner and Joie Simon, chorus; Danny Goodman, percussion; and Louise Abrahamson, program attendant.

Friedel 4th-grader Noah Schrago, left, and Blumkin Home Resident Mitzie Monovitz.

Friedel 4th-grader Noah Schrago, left, and Blumkin Home Resident Mitzie Monovitz.

“The show was very warmly received,” said Maggie Conti, Blumkin Home Director of Activities and Outreach Programs. “The Blumkin Home staff is so proud of the Residents for learning their parts and embracing the whole experience. And the Residents enjoyed working towards their goal of creating something marvelous. We only had four working days to pull the show off, and Deborah and David did a great job leading us through the process. They are very calming, so the performers felt very little pressure.” Conti admitted that the music from Noah’s Ark is still in her head. “The songs grew on me. I went to bed singing the songs and still wake up singing the songs. Noah’s Ark was extraordinary.”

According to Conti, “Collaborating on this mini-musical helped unify the diverse Jewish age groups who share the Jewish Federation of Omaha campus. Residents and students benefited from their interactions with each other and the professional artists. Intergenerational programs like Noah’s Ark serve as a gateway for more projects in the future that will allow the Jewish youth and elderly in our community to interact.”

The performance of Noah’s Ark was made possible with support of the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and the Esther K. Newman Memorial Fund of the Jewish Federation of Omaha Foundation. Conti praised Activities Director Karen Menagh for securing the needed funds. “This was Karen’s first attempt at writing a grant, and she did a fabulous job. Because of her efforts, Noah’s Ark came to fruition, and the entire community was able to enjoy it.”