According to Tablet, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus staged a special performance in Brooklyn for Orthodox Jews featuring “clowns, animals, dancers, Uncle Moishy, and the Yeshiva Boys Choir,” but with one notable change: every female performer was removed from the show, “with the exception of the lady elephants.”
“Ringling asked us what must be done, and we went over the entire script together so the show would be nice for the whole community,” said Rabbi Raphael Wallerstein, the principal at the Yeshiva Birchas Shmuel. “Today’s entertainment is not clean, so we wanted to have some clean entertainment for our children.”
What you may not know is that a lot of other impresarios are staging versions of their shows for the observant community by removing all the female performers. In fact, the Jewish Press regularly runs reviews of such productions. Below is a sample.
“A Streetcar Named Tznius”
In this apparently famous play, a shtarker goy named Stanley Kowalski (a Pole, yet) comes home with a package of meat, kosher I can’t tell. That night, he hosts a poker game with a bunch of male shikkers at his apartment. His friend Mitch (Jewish?) leaves the table, and then comes back after a few minutes. Stanley has conniptions, storms into the bedroom, and throws the radio out of the window. The poker game breaks up. A little later, Stanley returns to his apartment. The next day, a teenage boy comes by to collect money for the newspaper. That’s it? Running time: 22 minutes
“How I Met Your Mameh”
Twenty years in the future, Ted Mosby is telling his son how he met his kalleh. In flashbacks, a 27-year-old Ted spends a lot of time at a bar with his friends Marshall and Barney. Barney’s brother James sometimes shows up. Also someone named Kevin. Presumably, Ted meets his wife in a hotel lobby or at a Shabbes table. We’ll have to wait years and years to find out which. Running time: Seven minutes
Don Draper writes advertisements for razor blades, pantyhose, and other goyishe naches. In this episode, he and Roger Sterling are having dinner at someplace fancy like the Empire Grill. Don avoids talking about his childhood. Meanwhile, a blonde shaygetz named Ken Cosgrove and his chevreh are trying to write an advertisement for something called deodorant. Don says one of them should test the “deodorant.” Bert Cooper enters the room to find three of his employees spraying deodorant in Ken’s armpits. Bert tells Don he wants him to “work up something” for Nixon (a goniff, but he did send arms to Israel in ’73). Don goes home and eats dinner by himself. The next day he calls in sick. Not much happens in this popular series, but the men wear modest suits and I liked the hats. Running time: 18 minutes
Episode opens and closes with a shot of an empty condominium in Miami, Florida. What is this, some kind of an art film? Running time: 12 seconds
Yeshiva Birchas Shmuel Auditorium
Apparently, Shakespeare is a big deal, and if you like a lot of fancy talk and rough-housing, this is a play for you. Set in Italy, the play begins with a big fight between vilde chayes named the Montagues and the Capulets – not clear what the tsimmes is, but maybe they follow different rebbes. The Prince tells them to knock it off or else. Romeo, a Montague, is depressed about something, so his boy cousins talk him into going to a tisch, where a lot of men are tantsn. Tybalt, a Capulet, challenges Romeo to a fight. Romeo refuses to fight. Mercutio fights instead, and gives Tybalt such a bukh that he drops dead. So Romeo kills Tybalt. Romeo drinks poison and dies. Much ado about nothing, if ask me. Running time: 40 minutes.