Nate Bloom blogs on this week's Jews in the News
Superman, Jewish?, Bear News, Theater Camp
It was announced last week that DAVID CORENSWET, 29, will portray Superman in the next Superman film. Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) will play Lois Lane.
David’s late father, JOHN CORENSWET, was Jewish and grew up in New Orleans. John’s father, a prominent New Orleans businessman, was born in New Orleans, as was John’s Jewish mother.
John moved to Philadelphia, where he was a stage actor for many years, before becoming a Philadelphia attorney. John’s mother, who is a Quaker, also became an attorney. David’s sister, AMY, is an attorney
Sadly, John died in 2019, age 64. His funeral was held at a New Orleans Reform synagogue. The same synagogue his father belonged to.
As I write this, I am trying to get more information about David’s Jewish background. I have strong clues that he identifies as Jewish: Some years back, he posted a photo of himself and his sister in front of a XMAS tree. He tagged the photo, “Jews on Christmas”; the Jewish Federation of New Orleans often invites guest speakers to speak before them. In 2020, David spoke to the Federation; also, in 2020 he spoke to MTV news-- mainly about his star role in the Netflix series “The Politician”. He happened to tell them that he just found out that his aunt’s “famous” matzo ball recipe actually came from the back of a Manischewitz box.
“The Bear”, an FX series that streams on Hulu, premiered a year ago. It got great critical reviews and, pretty soon, the reviews and word-of-mouth made it one of the most popular “scripted” streaming programs-- on any channel.
The first season was just 8 episodes and most of the episodes were only about 30 minutes. The entire, 10-episode 2nd season was “dropped” last week. Most episodes were about 30 minutes, but one was over an hour.
Basic show set-up: Carmine “Carmy” Berzatto (nickname “The Bear”) is a star chef in New York. Then his brother, Michael, who runs a “meat and potatoes” family restaurant in Chicago, commits suicide. Carmy (played by Jeremy Allen White) moves back to Chicago. He tries to make the Berzatto family restaurant profitable and keep its diverse staff employed.
No more spoilers, except to say that at the end of the first season something happens that makes it feasible for Carmey to re-invent the restaurant as a 4-star, gourmet place. The 2nd season follows Carmey as he tries to make this happen.
Jewish angle: EBON MOSS-BACHRACH, 46, plays Richie, Carmey’s best friend. He’s long worked in the restaurant. He is a difficult, unhappy man; JON BERENTHAL, 46, plays Michael. He appeared in brief, flash-back scenes in the first season. Berenthal has a big role in the 6th episode of the 2nd season. This one-hour “flashback” episode takes place five years before Michael’s death. It shows the Berzatto family during Christmas; JAMIE LEE CURTIS, 64, who says she was a big fan of the first season, got her wish and she was cast as Donna, Carmey and Michael’s mother. Donna is “big” in the 6th episode and returns for a brief scene in the 2nd season finale; MOLLY GORDON, 27, first appears in the 2nd season. She has a recurring role as Claire, a doctor. Claire, a childhood friend of Carmey, is now his adult girlfriend.
“Theater Camp” opens in theaters on July 14 and it really a “tribe fest”. Here’s the capsule plot: the director and founder (Amy Sedrais) of a scrappy arts-camp in upstate New York falls into a coma. Her “out to lunch” son takes over as camp director. He joins forces with a band of eccentric camp teachers to put on their big summer show.
The most prominent teachers are played by MOLLY GORDON, BEN PLATT, 29, and NOAH GALVIN, 29. Gordon, Platt, and Galvin wrote “Theater Camp” and Gordon co-directed the film. Galvin’s mother is Jewish and he identifies as Jewish.
Platt and Gordon have known each other since they were children in Los Angeles. Gordon’s parents are successful directors (mostly TV) and Platt’s father is a leading producer. Both had a strong Jewish background growing-up.
Platt is currently starring in the hit Broadway musical “Parade”. It’s about the events that led to the horrible lynching of LEO FRANK in Georgia in 1915. It closes on Aug. 6. The Jewish members of the cast say Kaddish before each performance.
You might know that Galvin plays a gay Jewish doctor on the hit ABC TV series “The Good Doctor”. He and Platt are real-life romantic partners and they are engaged to marry.