By Nate Bloom, Columnist
Sorkin on Broadway
I’m not an unreserved fan of screenwriter/playwright Aaron Sorkin, 57. He certainly has had his hits (A Few Good Men, The Social Network, Moneyball and Molly’s Game). But I didn’t like his movie Steve Jobs or his TV shows Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Newsroom. I thought the always-reliable Jeff Daniels, a famous Michigander, was not well served by Newsroom scripts that often were too preachy and unrealistic. I thought I might be disappointed when I learned, early last year, that Sorkin had written a new version of To Kill a Mockingbird for the Broadway stage. Would Jeff Daniels, who was set to play lawyer Atticus Finch, be let down by Sorkin again? Well, I was wrong. The play opened to stellar reviews last month and is still packing them in. Sorkin deftly re-arranged (but did not alter) the material in the novel/movie and Daniels gives a performance that will almost certainly snare him a Tony. Also singled-out for critical praise were Adam Guettel, 54, and Gideon Glick, 30. Guettel, the grandson of the great Richard Rodgers, wrote the play’s atmospheric score and Glick, who mostly grew up in Israel, co-stars as “Dill,” the young visitor from Georgia (adult actors play the children’s parts).
West Side Story Remake
A new film version of the great musical West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg, 72, is now coming together. Of course, they will use the incredible score by the late Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, now 88. Last year, Tony Kushner, 62, penned a new story for the musical. It’s unclear what changes have been made to the original Arthur Laurents’ script, but Kushner has said the Puerto Rican identity of the Sharks won’t be changed. Casting is mostly done, with Ansel Elgort, who had a Jewish paternal grandfather, playing Tony, the male lead. Just last week, 17-year-old Rachel Zegler, was cast as Maria, the female lead. She was found in a nationwide casting call — and, no, shucks, she isn’t Jewish “at all.”
Logan Lerman, 26, (Perks of Being a Wallflower, Percy Jackson) has been cast to co-star in The Hunt, a 10-episode Amazon original series. Al Pacino will co-star. This is Pacino’s first TV series. The setting is the 1970s. Lerman plays Jonah Heidelbaum. After his grandmother is murdered, Jonah tracks down the killer and finds himself encountering a mysterious organization called the Hunt. It is dedicated to hunting down Nazis living in America. Pacino plays a Nazi hunter who mentors Jonah.
College Jews on Ice
Courtesy of Jewish Sports Review magazine, here are the tribe members from Michigan currently playing for a Division I college ice hockey teams and Jews from elsewhere playing for a Michigan Div. 1 tpeam: Ben Israel, a senior who plays for Colorado College, is a defenseman who hails from Bloomfield Hills; Strauss Mann, a freshman goalkeeper from Greenwich, Ct., plays for the Michigan Wolverines; and sophomore Quinton Hughes is a star defenseman on the Wolverines team. He’s so good he was drafted by the NHL last year but chose to play another college year. Both his parents (his mom is Jewish) were college hockey stars.