Theater maven to be JFSA Lions’ guest speaker

Susan Claassen

Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy will present an event for Lion of Judah and Pomegranate members, “Jewish Arts & Culture: From the Historical to the Hysterical with Susan Claassen,” on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 4:30-6:30 p.m. at a private home.

Claassen is celebrating her 43rd year with Invisible Theatre. As managing artistic director, she has produced more than 400 productions and directed more than 90, including “Shear Madness,” which garnered her a MAC award nomination for comedy director, and last season’s “Lebensraum,” in which a new German chancellor invites 6 million Jews from around the world to make Germany their home, with three actors playing more than 40 roles. Claassen was nominated for the 2011 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award and Broadway World LA Award for her portrayal of Edith Head in “A Conversation with Edith Head.” She was selected as one of Arizona’s “48 Most Intriguing Women” and has been a clown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2001.

“Susan has been an icon in the theater world of Tucson for the past 43 years. She has attracted a faithful following of serious theatre-goers who know the quality of her work to be exceptional and original,” says Karen Faitelson, event co-chair. “Susan is a wonderful role model for Jewish women of all ages. This event promises to be fun, creative and hilarious, just like Susan!”

“The name Susan Claassen has been synonymous with Tucson theater for the past four decades,” adds event co-chair Debbie Kay. “Our Jewish community is proud to call her one of our own and we are very excited to have her as the guest speaker at this upcoming event, which is sure to be as entertaining and compelling as Ms. Claassen herself.”

To help survivors of the hurricane in Houston, participants are asked to bring a gift card from Bed Bath & Beyond, Target or Walmart. The cards will be distributed through the Women’s Philanthropy Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.

Faitelson visited family in Houston over the Thanksgiving weekend and toured Meyerland, a suburb with a large Jewish population. “Meyerland is on the banks of Brays Bayou, and was the worst hit in the entire city. Both Beth Yeshurun Synagogue and the JCC were devastated,” she says.

The cost of the event is $28, which includes drinks, appetizers and valet parking. The event is open to women who make a gift of at least $1,800 to the JFSA 2018 Community Campaign. Register online at jfsa.org or contact Jane Scott at jscott@jfsa.org or 647-8471.