Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Planet Connections Interview - Michelle Slonim of "Michelle's Jewish Date Party"

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Michelle Slonim
Play: Michelle's Jewish Date Party
Relationship to production: Creator, Actor, Co-writer, Producer

How did you first get involved in theatre?

Growing up I always wanted to be in the school play but my class was never selected. Finally in the 3rd grade my class did the Gift of the Maji and I was cast as Elijah. I was hooked.

Who are your biggest influences?

Carol Burnett & Lily Tomlin

What is your show about?

Michelle's Jewish Date Party is about a nice Jewish girl who wants to meet a nice Jewish guy for herself, but finds herself setting other people up rather than setting herself up!

What inspired you to create it?

I have performed in many Jewish themed plays, and I was ready to create something that had my own voice. I knew it would be Jewish related since its a major part of my identity and dating related since I am chronically single. When I was a student at the University of Michigan in conjunction with Hillel, I threw a speed dating party for all of campus, both undergrad and grad school. The hope was to meet a nice Jewish lawyer, but I was so busy running the event I didn't meet anyone. I wanted to incorporate these life experiences in the play, but I knew I couldn't do it alone. So with the help of the very funny writer Adrienne Sterman and talented directed Michael Schiralli, we are making it happen!

Why was it important to you to be part of an eco-friendly theatre festival?

I go in waves where I am conscientious about the environment and waves where I am not so I am quite pleased to be part of a festival that is reminding us to reuse and recycle!

Planet Connections donates a portion of the box office for each show to a charity. What charity has your production chosen and why?

I was excited about the idea of giving to charity and so we opted for two charities- the Eldridge Street Museum on the Lower East Side which is a great staple for the community. I have family history down on the lower East Side. My grandfather opened up a garment store on Orchard Street called Majestic, my dad is the President emeritus of the Lower East Side BID, and my mom and I helped clean-up the Eldridge Street Synagogue during Mitzvah Day for Central Synagogue. I also chose Fractured Atlas since they have fiscally sponsored us and been quite helpful during the process!

What's next for you after Planet Connections?

There has been buzz for us to perform the show in various venues so we shall see! I'm also performing in a show called Date Me in Chicago created by Jewish Belgium artist Noemi Schlosser!

And finally, if your play was food, what kind of food would it be?

Matzah Ball Soup an Ashkenazi classic!

Michelle's Jewish Date Party
Monday, June 20th @ 4pm
Wednesday, June 22nd @ 6pm
Thursday, June 24rd @ 8:10pm
Saturday, June 25th @ 4pm

The Robert Moss Theatre
440 Lafayette Street

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