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article imageReview: Tovah Feldshuh outstanding in 'Golda's Balcony' at Queens College Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 17, 2015 in Entertainment
Flushing - On May 17, Tony-nominated actress Tovah Feldshuh performed her one-woman show "Golda's Balcony" at the Kupferberg Center for the Performing Arts at Queens College.
The play was written by acclaimed playwright William Gibson, and Feldshuh takes on the role of Golda Meir, the first female Prime Minister of Israel, who led the country during a difficult time in its history. It chronicles her life, up until her death due to lymphoma in 1978. While Golda was born in Russia, she grew up in Milwaukee, and Feldshuh nailed the Milwaukee accent.
One of Golda's greatest achievements as prime minister was raising over $50 million to help enhance Israel's self-defense. Throughout the play, she discusses the melancholic conditions in a concentration camp in Cyprus, where many children died, and takes her audience members on this theatrical journey with her. A major portion of the play dealt with the Yom Kippur War in 1973, as well as her telephone conversations with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (whom she impersonates to the tee) and President Nixon about nuclear weapons. The prosthetic nose and make-up added to the play's appeal, and they help bring her character to life. Feldshuh pulled the deglam card in this play, and it worked for this portrayal. Her hand gestures, mannerisms and Yiddish expressions were exceptional as well.
One of the most clever lines in the script dealt with defense minister Moshe Dayan. "I always wondered. Did he ever take the eye patch off?" Golda asked.
There are archived images on a televised screen in the background, which are incorporated into the performance, which include Kissinger and her husband, Morris Meyerson.
Golda also opened up about her two gardens, where one was a garden of serenity at her home in Tel Aviv, while the other was in the middle of the desert, which she called "Golda's Balcony," and subsequently noted that it had a "view into hell."
One of the most most moving moments in the show was when a theatergoer took flash photography, and Felshuh immediately took prompt action, stopping her performance and noting that the individual was in violation of the venue's rules. She shared her audience is not "invisible" to her; moreover, she explained that she has devoted two-thirds of her life in the acting profession, and added that every audience member is important to her. Her firm stance on this matter resonated well with the theatrical audience, and she continued with her spell-binding performance.
The Verdict
Overall, Tovah Feldshuh was fantastic as Golda Meir. She truly transformed into the character and commanded the stage for the entire duration of her show. Feldshuh was able to build the character from within, and she showcased her wide range as an actress thanks to its well-written script, which was witty and heartbreaking at the same time. It is no wonder that Golda's Balcony was the longest-running one woman show in Broadway history (with a total of 493 performances). It was evident that her Tony nomination and Drama Desk Award win for this role were both based on merit and sheer talent. Feldshuh is worth seeing live whenever she is in the area. Her one-woman show at Queens College was stellar, and it garnered 5 out of 5 stars. The Queens College audience rewarded her with a deserving standing ovation. Mazel tov.
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