Sunday, February 28, 2016


Director Erik Neilssen has a hit on his hands with the hilarious “Lend Me a Tenor” at Maggie’s Little Theater in Middle Village.
You can certainly count on actors Bernie Bosio and Donald Gormanly to deliver the goods when it comes to comedic timing. Add in singing those high notes and you get an experience of pure entertainment.
Ken Ludwig’s farce opens on the biggest night in the history of the Cleveland Grand Opera Co.
The world-famous tenor, Tito Merelli, “Il Stupendo,” (Bernie Bosio) is to perform his greatest role, “Otello,” at the 10-year anniversary gala. Henry Saunders (Joe Paciullo), the opera’s executive director, has high hopes that Merelli’s performance will make Cleveland famous. However, at the final dress rehearsal, Merelli is nowhere to be found, Saunders is in a panic, and, along with Max Garber (Donald Goramnly), Saunders’s personal assistant, they scramble to figure out what to do.
Meanwhile, Maggie Saunders (Monica Barczak), Henry’s daughter, is preparing for Merelli’s arrival. Max views her as his fiancĂ© but Maggie says that she needs to first have a fling.
Saunders rushes in and presses Max on an alternate plan. Desperately, Saunders turns to Max for an idea. Max, who fancies himself as something of an opera singer, offers a solution: to sing instead. In the middle of the song, Merelli and his volatile wife, Maria (Shana Aborn), enter. After singing, Saunders and Max are told of the Merelli’s arrival and rush to make them welcome.
It soon becomes clear that Merelli is not in shape to sing. Too many people think he needs to rest and dispense tranquilizers as well as share a glass of wine. Merelli passes out, and when Max tries to rouse him, the singer appears to be lifeless. Max comes to the conclusion that Merelli is dead.
Max and Saunders realize the company stands to lose $50,000 in ticket sales unless it can find a way for the “dead” singer to deliver the performance of his life.
From here on, the play unfolds into a riotous and unpredictable explosion of mistaken identities and renewed love.
Finally, at show’s end, everyone is filled with a sense that they just might get the thing each of them desires, and that the Cleveland Grand Opera Company’s future will be a bright one.
For “Lend Me a Tenor “to work, the cast needs to put forth the perfect timing in this farce. Although Paciullo performed well, I found that this comic form of art was missed several times in terms of the delivery.
The first act dragged a bit, although it might have also been due to the script.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jewish Weapons Of Mass Destruction ....


A pancake-like structure, not to be confused with anything a first-class health restaurant would put out. In a latke the oil remains inside the pancake. It is made with potatoes, onions, eggs and matzo meal. Latkes can be eaten with applesauce but COULD also be used to comb your hair, shine your shoes or lubricate your automobile. There is a rumor that in the time of the Maccabees, they lit a latke by mistake and it burned for eight days. What is certain is that you will have heartburn for the same amount of time. It tastes GREAT but will stop your heart if the grease gets cold. 
Israel 's punishment for escaping slavery. It consists of a simple mix of flour and water - no eggs or flavor at all. When made especially well, it could actually taste like a cardboard box recycled from the Tel Aviv city dump. Its redeeming value is that it does fill you up and stays with you for a long time--sometimes far too long--and you are advised to eat lots of prunes with it. If the prunes do not work, try castor oil, or even gun powder as a last resort before a surgeon has to mine it out. 
Kasha Varnishkes
One of the little-known "delicacies" that is even more difficult to pronounce than it is to cook. It has nothing to do with varnish, but is basically a mixture of buckwheat and bowtie noodles (not macaroni). Why bowties? Many sages in the Old Testament discussed this and agreed that an ancient Jewish mother must have decided, 'Son, you can't come to the table without a tie or, G-d forbid, place your elbow on the table." If Mamma said 'bowties,' you better believe that's what the family used, even if they had to invent them on the spot. 
Not to be confused with the German war machine's 'blintzkreig.' Can you imagine the Jerusalem Post in '39 with huge headlines announcing: 'Germans drop tons of cheese and blueberry blintzes on Poland. Shortage of sour cream expected'? Basically, this is the Jewish answer to Crepe Suzettes. They are actually offered on the menu at the local International House of Pancakes, but no one there knows what the hell they are. In ignorant bliss, they often serve them frozen from the blintz factory. No modern woman will take time to make them if she can find a grocery store selling frozen ones (assuming she can find someone in that store who knows where they are kept). 
You know from Scottish Haggis? Well, this it ain't. Remember what I say if you should go to the Highlands . You do not want to eat Haggis, no matter how much Scotch you've downed. In the old days they would take an intestine and stuff it to make kishke. Today we use parchment paper or plastic (made in China). And what do you stuff it with? Carrots, celery, onions, flour and spices. The skill is not to cook it alone, but to add it to the cholent (see below) and let it simmer for 24 hours until there is no chance whatsoever that there is any nutritional value left. The gravy can be purchased in bulk at any southern Bisquitville drive-thru. 
They sound worse than they taste. There is a rabbinical debate on their origins. One Rabbi claims they began when a Chinese fortune cookie fell into the chicken soup. Another claims they started in an Italian restaurant, where the owner yelled at the chef, 'Disa pasta tastes like-a krep!' Either way it can be soft, hard, or soggy, and the amount of meat inside depends on whether it is your mother or your mother-in-law who cooked it. Tastes best if made in a Manhatten deli where they serve the soup by the barrel-load. 
This combination of noxious gases had been the secret weapon of Jews for centuries. The unique combination of beans, barley, potatoes and bones or meat is meant to stick to your ribs and anything else it comes into contact with. Precursor of Superglue . At a fancy Mexican restaurant (kosher, of course) I once heard this comment from a youngster who had just had his first taste of Mexican refried beans: 'What, they serve leftover cholent here too?" A Jewish American Princess once came up with something original for her guests (her first and probably last cooking attempt at the age of 25). She made cholent burgers for Sunday night supper. The guests never came back. The dogs ate the burgers but later threw up and had to be taken by ambulance to the pet emergency room. 
Gefilte Fish
A few years ago, an Israeli politician had problems with the filter in his fish pond and a few of his fish got rather stuck and mangled. His son (5 years old at the time) looked at them and asked, "Is that why we call it 'ge-filtered fish?" Originally it was a carp stuffed with a minced fish and vegetable mixture. Today it usually is comprised of small fish balls eaten with horseradish (pronounced 'chrain' to rhyme with 'insane,' which you have to be to inflict it on your innards) and is judged on its relative strength in bringing tears to your eyes at 100 paces. The VERY NAME OF THIS DISH FRIGHTENS FULLY GROWN AND SOPHISTICATED GENTILES and they actually run when it is merely mentioned.. 
How can we finish without the quintessential Jewish defense weapon, the bagel? Like most foods there are legends surrounding the bagel, although I don't know any other than it was first discovered when unsugared donuts accidentally petrified. There have been persistent rumors that the inventors of the bagel were the Norwegians who couldn't get anyone to buy smoked lox. Think about it: Can you picture yourself eating smoked salmon or trout on white bread? Rye ? A cracker? Naaa! The Israel Defense Forces research lab looked for something hard and almost indigestible which could take the spread of cream cheese and which doesn't take up too much room in desert-maneuvers ration kits. And why the hole? The truth is that many philosophers believe the hole is the essence and the dough is only there to indicate where the hole is placed