Theodore Bikel, starring as Rabbi Moses ben Nachman in the Coconut Grove Playhouse's production of The Disputation, opens the play on the Miami mainstage March 26. Previews began March 23 for a run through April 18.
Written by theological scholar Dr. Hyam Maccoby as a courtroom drama, The Disputation is set in 1263 in Barcelona where King James I of Aragon decides to put Christianity and Judaism on trial by pitting a rabbi against a Jewish convert to Christianity. The outcome of the debate may well decide the fate of the Jews in Spain.
A co-founder of the Israeli Chamber Theatre and the Newport Folk Festival, Bikel's theatrical credits include Sir Laurence Olivier's A Streetcar Named Desire with Vivien Leigh, Tonight in Samarkand, The Lark, the original Broadway production of The Sound of Music and tours of Zorba and Fiddler on the Roof. He was nominated for an Oscar for "The Defiant Ones." Bikel received an Emmy in 1988, authored two books, recorded 16 albums and has a syndicated radio program "At Home With Theodore Bikel."
Joining Bikel are Jacob Witkin (King James I of Aragon), Richard B. Watkins (Pablo Christiani), Barbara Sloan (Queen Yolanda), Irene Adjan (Judith), Denise Sanchez (Consuelo), Louis Silvers (Don Alconstantini) and Steve Wise (Raymond de Penaforte). NY's Chelsea Theatre Center founder Bob Kalfin directs.
Designing the show are Steve Lambert (set), Eliis Tillman (costumes), Thomas M. Salzman (lighting) and Steve Shapiro (sound). On Mar. 28, a cross-section of religious leaders in South Florida will hold a discussion with playwright Maccoby at a special reception after the Sunday show.
Tickets to The Disputation are $40-$30 and available through the box office at (305) 442-4000.
-- By Christine Ehren