Jay Berkow
Director • Choreographer • Playwright • Educator
  WHAT A GLORIOUS FEELING  - A Play with Music and Dance    
    A Play with Music and Dance by Jay Berkow
(3M, 2W; single set)

This musical has received numerous regional productions recently and is sure to please!

Adirondack Theatre Festival/Depot Theatre (NY)
Theatre at the Center at the Center (Chicago)
Bristol Riverside Theatre (PA)
Oregon Cabaret Theatre (OR)

Broadway World (Chicago Production)
PhillyBurds (Philadelphia Production)
Daily Tidings (Oregon Production)

With its critically acclaimed sell-out regional productions, WHAT A GLORIOUS FEELING brings to life the little known behind-the-scenes story of the tempestuous love triangle between Gene Kelley, Co-Director Stanley Donen and their assistant (Donen’s ex-wife and soon to be Kelley’s bride) Jeanne Coyne during the creation of the greatest movie musical of all time “Singing in the Rain.” 

Long time close friends and collaborators, Kelley and Donen ceased to work together and in fact did not speak for over fifty years soon after they completed this picture. WHAT A GLORIOUS FEELING celebrates the genius of this highly charged collaboration while exploring the emotional complexity of their lives behind the camera.  It also features great tunes from the picture and gives the audience an exciting opportunity to experience the choreographic process that created some of Hollywood’s most exiting and enduring dance sequences. 

The play with music features a single set and a cast of five.  Songs licensed through EMI include: “Moses Supposes,” “You Know You Can’t Believe Me When I Say I Love You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life,” “Singing in the Rain,” “You Were Meant for Me,” “The Green Dress Dance,” “Abba Dabba Honeymoon,” and “Good Mornin’.”

  MATA HARI  - A rock opera    
    With music by Dave Ogrin, book by Jay Berkow, and lyrics by Berkow and Ogrin
(3M, 2W; single set)

Learn more about Mata Hari and listen to selected songs from the show at:
Mata Hari at SoundCloud

I have written a number of bio-musicals based on the lives of celebrities such as Al Jolson and Gene Kelly.  And like many people I have always been intrigued by the “legend” of Mata Hari and the films and plays about her helped reinforce her larger-than-life persona as well as an image of the ultimate sexual vixen.  I thought she would be perfect for a sensationalized musical and I too might fictionalize her life to intrigue audiences for a profit.  But when I started my research, I realized what a complex and inspiring woman she had been.  Sexually liberated, dangerous and shocking, the infamous spy and exotic dancer forged her own path in a world where few women could.  In our musical, the story of Mata Hari is revealed in a striking sung-through rock opera, embellished with exotic dance numbers and full of drama, intrigue and passion, and for the first time the almost unbelievable known facts of her life will not only titillate and shock but can inspire a new generation.  MATA HARI tells a tale of self-actualization, shocking theatricality, political intrigue and passionate love.

The musical features a cast of six women and five men and a rock combo and does not require complicated sets as the story is told through flashbacks and is driven quickly through the many locations and events in Mata Hari's life.

A full demo is available upon request.


THE CURE FOR LOVE - A sexy new comedy

    A sexy new farce by Jay Berkow
(3M, 4W)

Premiered as a part of the 2008 main-stage season at the Barter Theatre in Virginia.

Western Michigan University
THE CURE FOR LOVE on the WMU Website

Inspired by the nineteenth century novella “Fernande” by Alexander Dumas (fils).  The sexy comedy features seven characters and requires a simple unit set. 

Baron Maurice Barthele is deathly ill.  His mother the Baroness and his innocent wife Clotilde are at their wits’ end to discover the cause.  With the conniving assistance of Maurice’s friend, Fabien, they discover that Maurice is sick for the love of his former mistress, the courtesan Fernande. Along with the Baroness’ longtime paramour, the Count Mountigiroux who has secrets of his own, they plot to bring an unsuspecting Fernande to the chateau for a weekend of “closure.” When things couldn’t become more entangled, the Baroness’ noxious cousin, Madame de Neuille arrives uninvited to torment everyone with whom she comes in contact.  Fernande turns out to truly be the fallen angel.  She is able to ignite passion between Maurice and his wife, propose marriage for the Baroness and the Count, expose the crafty machinations of Fabien and Madame de Neuille and in the process revive her self-respect and hopes for a better future. 

  PALM BLEACH - A new farce    
    A hair-splitting farce by Jay Berkow
(4M, 4W)

This is a brand spanking new comedy – never produced!

The Real Housewives of New Jersey meets Steel Magnolias in this riotous contemporary farce.  Featuring eight crazed characters and a single set, this non-stop – door slamming comedy takes place on a morning of crisis at the Dubonet Salon in Palm Beach, Florida.  Zola, an uptight Mafia princess, married Paul Dubonet, her hair dresser and has relocated her husband down to Palm Beach and set him up in an upscale hair salon to try to keep him away from the Jersey girls.  It doesn’t take long for Paul to set his sights on the voluptuous Cuban beauty Gloria even though she’s married to a man-mountain cop named Hector Gutierrez.  When Zola’s sloppy drunk ex-friend from Jersey, Vivien wobbles in, Zola hires her to be the salon’s receptionist.  Add a supermodel who doesn’t speak any English on a bad hair day, Eric her erstwhile manager and Aaron, the junior stylist trying to keep everything from spinning out of control and one loose gun and you’ve got a hair splitting farce.

  JOLSON AND COMPANY - A bio musical about the complex life of the world’s greatest entertainer    
    By Jay Berkow and Stephen Mo Hannan
(2M, 1W)

Originally produced by the York Theatre Company off-Broadway, the work moved to an extended commercial run at the Century Theatre.  It is now licensed and published by Samuel French, inc.  Other significant productions include: Michael Harrison’s UK National Tour, The Coconut Grove Playhouse (Miami, FL), The Theatre at the Center (Chicago, IL), The Cleveland Jewish Theatre, MusicalFare (Buffalo, NY) and many others.  The play has a cast of three and features most of Jolson’s most enduring songs (Swanee, Toot Toot Tootsie, California Here I Come, Mammy, and many, many more).

Framed by an actual radio interview that between Jolson and Barry Grove that aired in 1948, JOLSON & CO. brings the world, loves and music of Al Jolson to life as no other musical has ever done.  The flawed performer yearning for love and enduring stardom is seen as both an ego driven star and a very human man.  One actor plays Jolson from his early twenties to the year before his death in his fifties.  Another actor plays all the women in his life including: Ruby Keeler, Earle Galbraith, Mae West and others, and a third plays the numerous men that cross his complex and exciting theatrical world.

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