Producer preps Purim party for NYC theater


Staff Writer

Scott Kluge Scott Kluge Break out the Hamantashen and the costumes, it’s time to celebrate Purim.

Although Purim is not the most commonly celebrated Jewish holiday, Marlboro native Scott Kluge believes it is one of the most spirited and festive holidays in the Jewish religion.

That is why Kluge, 30, of New York, produced and directed the first annual Broadway Purim Shpiel last year and is continuing the tradition again on March 13.

The second annual Broadway Purim Shpiel, hosted by award-winning stand-up comic Seth Rudetsky, is billed as the hilarious retelling of the epic story of Purim and its heroine Queen Esther. The event will take place at the Hudson Theater, West 44th Street, New York.

In 2002, Kluge, who began his career in independent films, organized a foundation that raises money for various Jewish charities by creating and producing original entertainment.

The mission of the National Entertainment Fund for the Cultural Arts (NEFCA) is to foster and maintain an appreciation for Jewish culture through the arts and to innovatively promote the strengthening of Jewish identity.

Kluge said that since the charity’s inception, NEFCA has been filling the void of Jewish culture in the arts, which he believes has been lacking.

The second annual Broadway Purim Shpiel, one of the fundraising events, consists of actors from several different Broadway shows including “Avenue Q,” “Rent,” “Jewtopia,” “Mama Mia,” “Light in the Piazza,” “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Taboo.”

Comediennes Jackie Hoffman and Judy Gold will also be performing in the show.

When asked why he organized a show for Purim instead of other more popular Jewish holidays, Kluge said it is precisely that reason that he would like to generate more awareness of Purim.

“Purim in Israel is like Christmas here. It’s traditional to get drunk, be merry and give gifts,” Kluge said of the holiday.

He hopes the show will create and spread awareness and excitement of Purim.

Proceeds from the show will benefit Taglit-birthright israel. Taglit provides 10-day educational trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18-26.

According to its Web site, Taglit offers the trips in order to diminish the growing division between Israel and Jewish communities around the world, to strengthen the sense of solidarity among world Jewry, and to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people.

Kluge said he believes Taglit is one of the most effective organizations and the money raised will allow more individuals to experience what Taglit has to offer.

Tickets for the March 13 show are $100 and can be purchased by calling SmartTix at (212) 868-4444. The event will take place at the Hudson Theater, West 44th Street, New York. Doors will open at 7 p.m. for a Megillah reading (the book of Esther); an open bar and light food will also be served. The show will begin at 8 p.m. followed by a cocktail hour at 10 p.m.