On Sept. 29 Elinor Brecher reported the sad passing of Hank Kaufman who I had the pleasure of helping in my initial season at the Coconut Grove Playhouse by giving him free use of the playhouse to expand and further establish the Miami Film Festival. The classy Mr. Kaufman also gave input to the playhouse’s production of Berlin to Broadway which he previously created in New York.
Our critically acclaimed production was a highlight of that first season and captured in its first act not only the music of Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, but the rise of Nazi Germany, which forced both of these great artists to flee to America.
Theater critic Christine Dolen reported in the same edition the upcoming production of Doug Wright’s Pulitzer-winning Holocaust-related play, I Am My Own Wife, which we produced 21 years later in 2006 at both the Coconut Grove Playhouse and the Broward Arts Center’s Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale.
As founding president of the National Jewish Theater Foundation and director of its Holocaust Theater Archive Initiative, I want to applaud the efforts of the Arsht Center to bring attention to the role of the arts, now and in the future, as a tool for Holocaust remembrance and education.
I am delighted that my board member, Michael Berenbaum, will speak at the center to this and other issues.
This past April, I had the honor of directing in New York City the critically acclaimed production of The Soap Myth by Jeff Cohen. The play, and its film version, deals with our responsibility to survivors and their memories as we reach a time when their in-person accounts will diminish.
Let us all vow to use the arts as a method to ensure that their voices will always be heard.
Arnold Mittelman, president/producing artistic director, National Jewish Theater Foundation, Coral Gables