Celebrity jews

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Some of you may be planning a trip Back East in the next month or so. Here are some of the Jewish-related theater highlights in New York City that you might be able to attend:

Neil Simon’s 33rd play, “Rose’s Dilemma,” starring Mary Tyler Moore, will open off-Broadway on Monday, Dec. 8. The play, under a different title, got good reviews when it was mounted in Washington, D.C., last year.

The musical “Wicked,” which previewed in San Francisco earlier this year, opened to mixed N.Y. reviews, but is still going strong. Jewish performers in the cast include veterans Joel Grey and Carole Shelley. Jewish actress Idina Menzel, 32, has one of the co-leads as a “wicked witch.” Menzel’s strong singing voice and stage presence has made her a N.Y. stage favorite since she created the role (in 1996) of Maureen in “Rent.”

A new production of the Leonard Bernstein/Adolph Green/Betty Comden musical classic, “A Wonderful Town,” recently opened on Broadway to quite good reviews. Jennifer Westfeldt, 32, received stellar reviews as one of the two leads. Westfeldt was the star of the hit 2002 indie film, “Kissing Jessica Stein,” about a Jewish young woman’s romantic odyssey. David Margulies, a veteran Jewish character actor (the mayor of New York in “Ghostbusters,” etc.), has a large supporting role.

Finally, the Metropolitan Opera has mounted the first production of Jacques Halevy’s “La Juive,” (“The Jewess”) in almost 70 years. This 1835 opera is a melodramatic story of Christian-Jewish relations in 15th-century Switzerland. It stars the great tenor Neil Shicoff, 56, in the lead role. Shicoff, who was instrumental behind the scenes in reviving the opera, is the son of the late Sidney Shicoff, a famous cantor. This production has been hailed by the critics and runs through Friday, Dec. 19. No doubt, a cast CD will be released.

Across the Atlantic

British actor and writer Stephen Fry, 46, is probably best known to American audiences for his roles in the BBC “Black Adder” series. However, his list of important film and stage appearances is actually quite large. He has also written several novels — a couple with Jewish themes. Fry is the son of a non-Jewish English scientist father and an Austrian Jewish immigrant mother. He identifies as Jewish, although he was raised without religion.

Fry also happens to be one of the few openly gay actors. So when rumors that Prince Charles was gay or bisexual popped up a month or so ago, Fry defended the prince, an old friend of his. A couple of weeks ago, Fry told a movie premiere audience, “Believe me, he [Charles] is not. I mean, I’m a gay man and I know a gay man when I see one. I’m not saying I’m 100 percent accurate but I can say he is not. It’s pitiful and nonsensical. It makes me very unhappy for him. It’s cruel. It’s horrible. It’s an awful thing and awful for his sons.”

We can assure you that Prince Charles isn’t Jewish, despite being circumcised as an infant by Rabbi Jacob Snowman, then the official mohel of the London Jewish community. Yes, Charles had a brit of sorts. The tradition of circumcision in the British Royal family stems from the belief that they are somehow descended from King David and that their rule is, thus, divinely approved. Strange, those royals.

To the rescue?

Natalie Portman is being touted as Lois Lane in a new “Superman” movie. Whether the film will get made isn’t clear. Leading actors appear to be shying away from taking the often-jinxed role of the “man of steel.”

Nate Bloom is the Oakland-based editor of www.Jewhoo.com.

Nate Bloom

Nate Bloom writes the "Celebrity Jews" column for J.