Kibbitzing with Caplan

By Lois Caplan

SINCE SUSAN FADEM started in journalism in 1970 at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, I have followed her career. A graduate of the University of Missouri’s journalism school, she had 17 productive years at the Globe before it went out of business in 1986. Susan then became editor at various local publications including Ladue News, St. Louis Lifestyles and St. Louis Woman, among others. 

Susan has been freelancing since 2005, and her work continues to shine. She has written stories in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on interior design, and profile stories that have appeared in the P-D and other periodicals. Now here is the big, significant news: Two of Susan’s stories in the Jewish Light’s quarterly Oy! Magazine recently won first place in the National Federation of Press Women’s annual communications contest in the “writing in a religious publication category.” 

One story was about Courtney Cohen Cerulo and her religious-themed tattoos. The other was about Joyce Kabak, who routinely fulfills requests to pray for good medical outcomes for others.  Am I proud of Susan, now a veteran journalist? You bet, and I am sure that the rest of the Jewish community feels the same pride in her colorful, informative and interesting work.

IMAGINE AN EVENING OR AFTERNOON OF MUSIC from “Mame,” “My Fair Lady,” “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Sweet Charity.”  No, I did not make this up. It’s actually the St. Louis Show Stoppers Musical Revue program presented at Clayton High School Auditorium, 1 Mark Twain Circle, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8 and 15 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9 and 16. Tickets are $18, and to increase your enjoyment, net profits go to Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s Siteman Cancer Center. 

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Show Stoppers has a long and successful history. Organized in 1996 by Babe Rosenberg, she produced and directed the shows until last year when, at age 92, she died. Now Barbara Parker Helmer, who had worked with Babe, serves as director. The cast consists of approximately 40 amateur and professional singers and dancers ranging in age from 20 to 88. 

Whether you love dancing all night to “My Fair Lady” or putting on a happy face to “Bye By Birdie,” I know you will enjoy Show Stoppers’ visit to Broadway theater’s best. For tickets contact Mike Sander at 314-432-5581.   

THE GESHER MUSIC FESTIVAL’S fifth season returns to St. Louis for 10 days starting Aug. 13, with four formal concerts and other events. Here’s a brief preview of its programming, which sounds both very different and fascinating. The overall festival theme this year is an exploration of the artistic creativity that thrived during one of history’s darkest eras — Nazi-controlled Europe. The festival will look at artists and their music that the Nazis deemed “degenerate” and censored. 

On Aug. 16, there will be an opening event featuring international cabaret artist Rebecca Joy Fetcher performing a special cabaret created especially for Gesher, “Grit and Glamour – a Night of European Jewish Kabarett.” The festival continues with a performance in partnership with the Missouri History Museum as part of the museum’s ongoing “State of Deception” exhibit showing how the Nazis used propaganda for nefarious purposes. Other performances will be at Washington University’s 560 Music Center and the Jewish Community Center’s Wool Studio Theatre. As in past years festival musicians will be a part of the Shabbat service at Central Reform Congregation. Watch for more information but in the meanwhile concert details and tickets are available at geshermusicfestival.org or by calling the box office, 314-442-3283.   

“WATCH OUT FOR FLYING KIDS” is an upcoming book about how two circuses and nine children confront conflict and build community.  The book, by Cynthia Levinson, tells the story of the Peace Through Pyramids partnership that St. Louis’ Circus Harmony developed with the Jewish/Arab Galilee Circus in Israel since 2007. You can pre-order the book through Amazon. In fact, if you order it through Amazon Smile and then choose Circus Day Foundation (official name for Circus Harmony) your purchase will help support the work of Circus Harmony. Author Levinson is donating 10 percent of the proceeds of her book to Circus Harmony’s Reggie Moore Scholarship Fund.