Modern Orthodox

In order to create a one-person show, a performer must have had either a colorful job, a reversal of fortune (intentional or accidental), or a crazy family. Sandy Wolshin, the author and star of The Rabbi and the Cheerleader, was clearly destined to go solo, having achieved the trifecta. The daughter of an agnostic Jew and a religious Gypsy, Sandy describes the trials, tribulations, and talent shows that made up her childhood. She then moves on to her career as a "Raiderette," and to the emptiness in her life that she gradually defined as a spiritual vacancy. The last part focuses on her transformation from bubbly, unhappy cheerleader to shomer negiah Orthodox Jew, and how even converts can snare a handsome rabbi for a husband.

Wolshin is a singing, dancing, cheering, castanet-playing powerhouse, funneling her energy and need to be liked into every moment of her show. However, this desire to perform overshadowed the story, needlessly stretching out bits and overdecorating a tale that was interesting enough to go without embellishment. Though she is clearly multitalented, she would've been more interesting to watch with less non-integrated song and dance and more connection to her material. For a life that affected her so deeply, Wolshin hasn't yet found the words or the strength to let herself be vulnerable onstage.

The Rabbi and the Cheerleader has a lot of commercial potential; it's a modern-day fairy tale about how fame and good looks aren't anything without family and a faith in G-d. If Wolshin were to explore the piece even further, focusing a little less on entertaining and more on enlightening, she might find that the production could become both catharsis and calling card.

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