Hard Love: Redacted tribute finds alternate outlet

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Photo by TWMeyer.com

Possibly the last place one would ever expect to find controversy is in an actor's short bio in a theatrical program. At Jewish Theatre of the South's Hard Love, however, Chris Kayser, one of Atlanta's most respected actors, used his bio as an expression of support for the theater. As discussed in more detail here, the Marcus Jewish Community Center is eliminating Jewish Theatre of the South at the end of its current season, and long-time artistic director Mira Hirsch, Kayser's co-star in Hard Love, is resigning effective May 31. Kayser gave Hirsch a shout-out in his bio, only to discover that it was rewritten without his permission, as he explains in this letter published in The Jewish Times:

My name is Chris Kayser. I am an actor. I am currently performing with Mira Hirsch in Motti Lerner's Hard Love at the Jewish Theatre of the South.

I submitted a bio for the program, but that bio was pulled without my knowledge, and another one was printed in the program without my permission. As a long-standing member of the Atlanta theater community (I am the current NPR/PBA Lexus Leader of the Arts — an honor Mira Hirsch also has held) and someone who has been involved with the Jewish Theatre of the South, I thought it was imperative to let people know how I felt about the loss of Mira's voice, even temporarily, in the theater world here.

Here's the original bio as submitted:

"Chris Kayser is proud to return to Jewish Theatre of the South for the third time, following The Price and The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. He is an old friend and admirer of Mira Hirsch, and he laments, along with the whole Atlanta theater community, the end of Jewish Theatre of the South and her tenure as artistic director. It's a great loss for all of us, but remember the symbol of the city of Atlanta."

Hard Love (reviewed here) closed on Feb. 24, but I thought Kayser's sentiments were worth sharing. Jewish Theatre of the South's final production will be The Last Schwartz (April 30-May 25), a comedy featuring such hilarious actors as Tess Malis Kincaid, Kathleen Wattis, Jared Simon, Jeffrey Zwartjes, Bethany Anne Lind and Chris Moses.

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