Family Ties

Mark Shpizner

Mark ShpiznerThe Daily Northwestern

Northwestern, bring your glow sticks and bobby socks – it’s time for the Jewish Theatre Ensemble Storytellers’ spring mainstage, My Super Sweet 13. JTE has transformed Shanley Pavilion, christening it (pun intended?) the Temple Beth Shanley Pavilion, into NU’s biggest theatrical Bar Mitzvah experience.

The show proceeds as a series of scenes which feature different protagonists – mixing music, comedy and storytelling in an interactive satire of extravagant Bar Mitzvahs. Depictions of a synagogue service, candle lighting ceremony and awkward dance party mayhem are sure to draw laughs from Jews and Gentiles alike.

“Even if you’re not Jewish, you’ll get 90 percent of the jokes,” says director and Communication junior Annie Levine. “The humor is very secular.”

JTE Storytellers has cultivated a strong group dynamic that might as well be characterized as a big Jewish family. “The cast is really close and know each other really well,” Levine says. “This is much more of an ensemble piece than most main stage shows.”

But JTE is going the extra mile, encouraging its audience members to join their family. “We’re encouraging people to dress up in their finest Bar/Bat Mitzvah attire,” says producer and Communication junior Lila Miller.

Shanley’s Jewification features sign-in boards for each of the cast members and “audience participation,” Miller says. Each character’s celebration is distinguished with its own unique theme, but the disco ball twirling above all the scenes lets you know something can be shared between all the show’s interwoven stories.

My Super Sweet 13 goes up Friday April 27 and Saturday April 28 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Student tickets cost $5 and can be purchased online at or at the door.

– mark shpizner