FJA student cast at practice, including sophomores Genny and Rozie Aronov, senior Rebecca Chynoweth, sophomores Eliyah Fradkin, Gabriel Cozzetto and Maya Upfall, and juniors Celia Levy and Katelyn Winkelman.
FJA student cast at practice, including sophomores Genny and Rozie Aronov, senior Rebecca Chynoweth, sophomores Eliyah Fradkin, Gabriel Cozzetto and Maya Upfall, and juniors Celia Levy and Katelyn Winkelman.

There are three performances, all taking place at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts.

Frankel Jewish Academy’s Performing Arts Department is returning to live theater this week after a long 18 months off, presenting “The Odd Couple, Female Version,” the late, great Neil Simon’s revision of his hugely successful play, “The Odd Couple.”

The FJA student cast and crew are excited to be back in action.

The show is under the guidance of Mitch Master, Director of the Performing and Visual Arts Department, who has been with FJA since the school was founded in 2000. 

“I looked for something with some levity because we’re in a serious situation most of the time in reality, so I tend to lean towards comedies these days,” Master said. 

The cast includes eight FJA students who have been rehearsing the show for about two months. 

The two leads are twin sisters, Eugenia and Rozalia Aronov, playing Olive Madison and Florence Unger, respectively. Both sisters have close to 400 lines to memorize. 

Sophomores Rozie and Genny Aronov, the leads of the play, at practice.

“They pretty much had to learn almost 100 lines a week,” Master said. “It was a huge commitment and I was just really grateful these students were willing to make that commitment and keep the bar high at FJA every time we do a performance.”

Students Celia Levy (Mickey); Katelyn Winkelman (Vera); Maya Upfall (Renee); Rebecca Chynoweth (Sylvie); Eliyah Fradkin (Manolo Costazuela) and Gabriel Cozzetto (Jesus Costazuela) round out the cast. 

Being a part of this production after being on a Covid-induced theater hiatus for about 18 months truly means the world to me,” Rozie Aronov said. “I’m so honored that I’ve been given the opportunity to play Florence Unger in the Odd Couple alongside my twin sister and friends because besides the joy that comes from funny line deliveries and interacting with fun props and set pieces, being among such talented and like-minded people is what makes this experience a truly joyful and unforgettable one. I cannot wait for everyone in our community to come and see this amazing show we’ve been working on.”

There are three performances, all taking place at the Berman Center for the Performing Arts: Thursday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m.  

Master says to look forward to more productions down the road, including a spring show yet to be determined. More than anything, Master and his crew are just happy to be back.

“The biggest word that comes to mind is grateful, being grateful to have students excited about performing in the arts and being grateful to have a live audience and hearing laughter,” he said. “These students are very bright and they’re determined to put on a great show as we reintroduce live theatre to our community here at FJA.”

General admission tickets are $15 each. The Berman will apply a $3 service fee per ticket. Visit The Berman’s Virtual Box Office: theberman.org or call/text 248-406-6677.  

Masks are required for attendees, along with actors and crew. Social distancing between groups have been arranged by the box office. No eating or drinking is allowed inside the theater. 

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