What could possibly shock Hollywood, California, anymore? Robin Garbose is hoping a dose of modesty will do the trick. She is about to stage what is probably the first-ever Hollywood film premiere for a female-only audience. Garbose, a professional director who became religious at the start of her career in Hollywood (she says it happened between her first time directing an episode of the eighties sitcom “Head of the Class” and the episode’s broadcast), is making her feature-film directorial debut with “A Light For Greytowers,” which has a mostly female cast and is, she claims, “the first-ever ‘for women only’ feature movie musical.”
The film premieres this Saturday night, December 29th, at the Sherry Lansing Theatre at Paramount Studios. The cast, which includes Broadway actress and Orthodox Jew Judy Winegard, is made up of professional actors and well-trained students from Kol Neshama, an Orthodox girls performing arts academy Garbose started a few years ago. The “gala event” is intended to raise funds for scholarships to Kol Neshama’s camp program. Writes Garbose in an email invite to the premiere, “It is my heartfelt belief that this film — which is the collective work of many talented artists — will truly be a dazzling Kiddush HaShem, IY”H.” The Forward has more on Garbose and the film.
On the opposite end of the Jewish-women-performing spectrum, equally as dazzling though in a much dirtier way, is “Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad,” also the subject of a recent Forward article. Rather than talking about “Kiddush Hashem,” the comedians and burlesque-esque performers of “Nice Jewish Girls” deliver quips like “You get dinner on JDate and laid on Craigslist” (that one belongs to the show’s founder Susannah Perlman) and dance around scantily-clad onstage, shimmery and shimmying, and in front of men, too.
It’s safe to say Robin Garbose, who sometimes consults her rabbi when making directorial decisions, would not consider “Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad” in line with the values of her film; yet both projects, in their own distinct ways, celebrate the talent and power of Jewish women. And both would be great fun for an (age-appropriate) “girls’ night out” outing.
Just another reminder of the wonderful diversity amongst Jewish women.
–Rebecca Honig Friedman