Shared Stages: Ten American Dramas of Blacks and Jews


Ten contemporary plays that dramatize the volatile relationships between Blacks and Jews in American society.
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Ten contemporary plays that dramatize the volatile relationships between Blacks and Jews in American society.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Shared Stages offers a unique perspective on one of the most dramatic relationships in our history. This one-of-a-kind anthology, edited by playwright professors, Sarah Blacher Cohen and Joanne Koch, provides a riveting portrait of the most compelling issues of our time. Shared Stages also delivers the profound excitement and satisfaction that only great theater can. Bravo!” — Steve Stern, author of The Angel of Forgetfulness

“The unique relationship of Blacks and Jews—fighting each other at times, but also marching together, laughing together, and dying together—is vividly depicted in the plays of Shared Stages. This anthology presents an unflinching and inspiring record of the bond between Blacks and Jews.” — Julian Bond, Chairman, NAACP

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Author and playwright Sarah Blacher Cohen is Professor Emerita of English at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Her previous books include Making a Scene: The Contemporary Drama of Jewish-American Women, as well as her plays, Molly Picon’s Return Engagement, The Ladies Locker Room, Schlemiel the First, and The Old System.

Joanne B. Koch is a playwright, author, screenwriter and Professor of English and Director of the Graduate Writing Program at National-Louis University in Chicago. Her previous works include the produced plays Nesting Dolls, Safe Harbor, Teeth, Haymarket, A Leading Woman, and the Bellow adaptation A Silver Dish, as well as an Emmy Award–winning television series, High Top Tower.

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Table of Contents

Introduction. Interwoven Destinies: The Drama of Blacks and Jews

1. No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs
John Henry Redwood

2. Sarah and The Sax
Lewis John Carlino

3. I'm Not Rappaport
Herb Gardner

4. Soul Sisters
Joanne B. Koch & Sarah Blacher Cohen

5. I Am a Man

6. Medal of Honor Rag
Tom Cole

7. The Day the Bronx Died
Michael Henry Brown

8. Driving Miss Daisy
Alfred Uhry

9. The Left Hand Singing
Barbara Lebow

10. Fires in the Mirror
Anna Deavere Smith

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Local Author Joanne Koch's Shared Stages Spotlights The Drama of Blacks And Jews

    Local Author Joanne Koch's Shared Stages Spotlights The Drama Of Blacks And Jews

    Evanston author and playwright Joanne Koch reminds us in her anthology Shared Stages (State University of New York Press, 2007) that the Obama election was not the first time Blacks and Jews worked together for a common goal. The ten dramas in this volume, including "Driving Miss Daisy" and "Fires in the Mirror," depict the conflicts and friendships the two groups have forged in the last fifty years.

    Alfred Uhry who won the Pulitzer Prize for his "Driving Miss Daisy" covered a period of 1948-1973 in his play. The film version starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy won the Academy Award. An evolution in the relationship between Black chauffeur Hoke and the elderly and well-to-do Miss Daisy, a Jew, occurs from simple
    subordinate/employer to a real friendship which bridges race and the period of the civil rights movement. At one point of time Daisy's son, who had hired Hoke, avoided going to a banquet honoring the Reverand Martin Luther King for fear of how it might reflect upon his business relationships in Atlanta, whereas Miss Daisy proudly asked Hoke as a friend to be her guest at the banquet.

    Perhaps likely to be forgotten by many in the wake of Louis Farrakhan's initial anti-semitism and the tragic ongoing battle of emotions and arms at Judaism's core in the Middle East, was the flocking of Jewish activists and lawyers to the South in the teeth of the civil rights movement in the 1960's. This partnership is captured symbolically and in drama in "Soul Sisters" by a Jewish civil rights singer of African-American songs Sandra Langley, who befriends a Black waitress in 1967, Cleo Williams, who eventually supercedes Sandra as a civil rights singer. "Soul Sisters" is a heart-warming musical play about friendship which transcends race, trauma to the friendship, with a reuniting partly around the protests against apartheid in South Africa. After undergoing a period of professional and personal breakdown, Sandra finds her own cultural roots in the rich heritage of Judaism. "Soul Sisters" was written by Dr. Joanne Koch with the recently deceased Sarah Blacher Cohen, also co-editor of Shared Stages.

    Another moving play is "Medal of Honor Rag" by Tom Cole which featured a troubled Black Vietnam veteran and his Jewish psychiatrist. A highlighted social message concerned the grim realities on the battlefield and back home facing ordinary heroes and victims of the Vietnam War. In one intense moment, the psychiatrist revealed that he and his patient had one enormous fact in common, they both suffered from "survivor's guilt" -- the deep questioning of why others had died and they had survived. For the veteran, it was the guilt over his own survival where his whole tank crew had perished. For the Jewish psychiatrist, it was the loss of his entire family to the terrors of the Holocaust where he had survived by the fortunes of a patron who was willing to pay a great sum to have a number of internees released.

    Shared Stages -- Highly recommended
    Review by Mark V. Basile, returning graduate student at National-Louis University in Skokie
    June 17, 2009 (abbreviated review)

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