Celebrity Jewsby nate bloom
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Born and raised in Amherst, Mass., Chamuel lived until recently in Ann Arbor, Mich., where she was a university student and the powerful lead singer of a popular local band. Chamuel told a lesbian community website in 2011 that she doesn’t define herself only as a “lesbian musician or Jewish artist.” Michelle and her mother attended an Amherst egalitarian synagogue for several years. Her father reportedly is of Egyptian descent.
The Tony Awards, for excellence in Broadway theater, air on CBS at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 9. Once again, Neil Patrick Harris hosts. Presenters will include Jesse Eisenberg, 29, and Scarlett Johansson, 28. Larry Kramer, 77, playwright and AIDS activist, will receive the Isabelle Stevenson humanitarian award for his work as the co-founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
Here are the Jewish nominees in nontechnical categories. In the categories of best play/musical, I’ve listed just the author or composer/lyricist.
Best book of a musical: Harvey Fierstein, 60, “Kinky Boots.” Best original score: “A Christmas Story: The Musical,” music and lyrics by Benj Pasek, 26, and Justin Paul. (These two guys began collaborating in college. Pasek comes from a religious family and Paul’s father is a Protestant minister.) Also “Hands on a Hardbody”: Trey Anastasio of the band Phish (music) and Amanda Green, 48 (music and lyrics). Green is the daughter of the late, great Broadway lyricist/book writer Adolph Green and Tony-winning musical actress Phyllis Newman, 80. Newman was the first winner (2009) of the Isabelle Stevenson Award for her work for women’s health services.
Best (new) play: “The Assembled Parties” by Richard Greenberg, 55, and “Lucky Guy,” the last work by the late Nora Ephron. Best (new) musical: “A Christmas Story,” Pasek and Paul; and “Bring It On”: Tom Kitt, 39 (music) and Amanda Green (lyrics). Best revival (play): “Golden Boy” by the late Clifford Odets and “Orphans” by Lyle Kessler, 69.
Best musical (revival): “Annie”: Charles Strouse, 84 (music) and Martin Charnin (lyrics), 78; “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”: Rupert Holmes, 66 (music/lyrics); “Pippin”: Stephen Schwartz, 65 (music/lyrics); and “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella”: the late Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics).
More on Ephron
Journalist Jacob Bernstein, 35, one of Ephron’s two sons with her ex-husband, journalist Carl Bernstein, 69, is making an HBO documentary about his mother titled “Everything Is Copy.” “Lucky Guy,” Ephron’s Tony-nominated new play, is about newspaperman Mike McAlary, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for his stories about police brutality in New York. He died of cancer a year later at age 41. In April, Jacob recounted for the New York Times magazine how his mother managed to write a great play about McAlary’s courage as she was battling cancer, too, with great courage and unflagging wit.
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