Early in 2013, Margo and Barry Zusman met with Rabbi Clopper and Cantor Zeitlen to ask whether they had any specific plans to augment reading the Megillah on Erev Purim. They did not. At that point, the Zusmans sang two parody lyrics that might be incorporated into the evening’s festivities. The rabbi’s response: “Can you give us 40 minutes?” Thus, the Purim Players were formed, featuring Rabbi, Cantor, Diane Berg and the Zusmans singing with Steve Widerman on piano.
The cast has changed over the years. The 4th and most recent performance was on March 16th, again featuring song parodies using Broadway and Beatles tunes. Two original members sang – Rabbi and Barry – and were joined by Cantor Alison and choir members Scott Blond, Linda Braun and Ilene Davis. Rob Seiler was at the keyboard. As always, Barry wrote the parody lyrics, and Margo prepared the piano accompaniments and conducted.
Five Stephen Sondheim songs were performed to honor the memory of the musical-theater giant who passed away last November. For example, West Side Story’s “Jet Song” lyrics were changed from “When you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet all the way,” to “When you’re in Beth El, you pay and you pay.”
Lisa Bennett was graphic designer for the promotional materials and the accompanying “Purimbill” cover art. Because of COVID-19, about 75 people attended in person. Another 69 computers were logged on for remote livestream viewing. TBE’s tech team was represented by Evan Schneider on video and Jason Gillet on the sound board.