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July 21, 1994     Beverly Hills Weekly
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July 21, 1994
 

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PAGE 1 8 ....... I BEVERLY HILLS NEWS Bq Coming to grips with Jewish roots in "The Sisters Rosensweig" hen The Sisters Rosensweig have a reunion, it sparks enough electricity to light up Cleveland. The comedy by Wendy Wassersteln ignites in the sitting room of the elegant London horne of Sara (Mariette Hartlay), the most accomplished of the three sisters. She has invited her two sib- lings to London to celebrate her birthday: Pfeni (Joan McMurtrey), a travel writer reek- ing of Bombay, and Gorgeous (Caroline Aaron), a yenta reeking of Brooklyn. It doesn't take long for the pain the these very different women to surface. Cold and aloof Sara has cut herself off emotionally from her Jewish past, working as an executive for a Hong Kong Bank and adopting the trappings of a super-WASP, right down to her English pronunciation of "schedule'. She has raised her daughter Tess (played by Debra Eisen- stadt) without a sense of her Jewish identity. The only man in Sara's life is an anti-Semitic English snob, Nicholas Pym (lan Stuart), inca- pable of offering her real warmth or love. Another of the Rosensweig sisters, Pfeni, who describes herself as "the wandering Jew" travels perpetually to fill an inner void. Always an outsider who never feels like she belongs, Pfeni loves men who can never love her back. Her current case in point is Geeay Duncan (played flamboyantly by Richard Frank), a bisexual stage director. The third and most outrageous sister, Gorgeous Teltelbaurn (played broadly but hilariously by Caroline Aaron) wallows in her Jewishness, harnessing her yenta's talent to give advice by working as a tacky radio shrink. Yet, beneath her borscht-belt repar- tee, lies the sadness of a woman who can no longer afford her shop-till-you-drop life, and whose lawyer husband is both troubled and unemployed. No sooner are the three sisters reunited then a bull shakes up the china shop of Sara's immaculate sitting room. Mervyn Kant (a bravura performance by Charles Cioffi) is a furrier from the States who represents "every- thing Jewish" that Sara has run away to Lon- don to escape. Blunt, earthy, in-your-face, but also warm and honest, he ultimately (and quite predictably) sweeps the brittle Sara off her feet. Faced with the formidable task of making Sara's emotional transformation convincing, Mariette Hartley takes on what is certainly the most difficult role in the play. Unfortunately, she seams somehow unable to project the subtleties and shadings of emotion experi- enced by a woman who is tightly locked with- in herseff. As Tess, Sara's daughter, Debra Eisen- stadt is too low-energy to keep up with the comic timing of Barry McEvoy who plays her English boyfriend Tom. And as travel-writing sister Pfeni, Joan McMurtrey makes her por- trayal of a woman who is supposed to be exotic and eccentric, as insipid as a pastrami sandwich on Wonder Bread. Daniel Sullivan, the director, could have done better. Despite some uneven performances and a second act so overlong it really does feel like a visit with your relatives, this comedy has some sublime moments. Caroline Aaron's yenta, Gorgeous Teitelbaum, dazzles like a zircon the size of your fist And playing the amorous furrier, Charles Cioffi gives a performance of such range, depth and sheer honesty, he is a joy to watch. Wendy Wasserstein has fashioned a play about more than three sisters coming to terms with their Jewish roots. She has written a fable about how it is better for each of us to draw strength from our family's heritage, than to'y to escape  P C.all First Greystone concert on nternationally famed conductor Bogidar Avramov once again will direct the Beverly Hills Symphony Sunday in the first of three summer concerts at Greystone Mansion. The first concert will be at 4:30 p.m. Oter concerts are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Aug. 21, and 3:30 p.m. SepL 18. "it is indeed a privilege to be able to collab- orate for an extended period of time with the same nucleus of fine musidans by serving a common purpose which essentially has to do with the betterment of mankind," said Avrarnov, who hes been with the symphony for the past 25 years. "Artistic activities are not generated in a vacuum, however. They must be nurtured by a suppcxlM environment, and I am grateful to the Bevedy HiES community for its parcipation and assistance." *Marvelous Mozart" will be the program title for the July 24 concert featuring an intimate encounter with the chamber music of Mozart "Shining Sings" is scheduled for the Aug. 21 concert which will be led by renowned Canaan conductor Kerry Stratton featuring the works of Bohemian composers. Awamov will return for the Sept. 18 con- cert, titled "Something for Everybody," in which he wm conduct a vary dass and Tickets for the with set,ors and discounted rate of $10. chased to the Beverly HiEs Beverly HJLs, CA g020. Junior' MAD MAD MARVI00 "REALLY" GO00S Weekend Take-Out Specials, July 22 , ' "Best @%$*^#! Challah in the Whole Regular PriCe I 1/2 lb. "Square" Challah $ 2.50 ca. (egg bread) (Limit :2 "We don't want our competitors to b 2379 Westwood Blvd. (north of Pico) $ htly 21-27, 1994