Arts

Jerry’s Habima Theatre Stages ‘Shrek: The Musical, JR.’

Now in its 23rd season, Jerry's Habima Theatre is directed and produced by local professionals. The stars of the company's productions are adult actors with special needs.
Now in its 23rd season, Jerry's Habima Theatre is directed and produced by local professionals. The stars of the company's productions are adult actors with special needs.
Credit Jennifer Bienstock / MJCCA
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Once upon a time, at a Jewish Community Center not so far away, a special theater company was born. It was named “Habima Theatre,” from the Hebrew word for “stage.”

Jerry’s Habima Theatre (re-named in honor of its longtime supporter) at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta is Georgia’s only theatrical company featuring a cast of adult actors with special needs. These are adults with developmental disabilities like autism or Down Syndrome — and serious acting chops.

Now in its 23rd year, Jerry’s Habima Theatre stages one full-fledged Broadway musical a year. This year’s production is “Shrek the Musical Jr.,” and Mary Nye Bennett is the program’s new director. Speaking with Lois Reitzes on “City Lights,” Bennett explained that the company’s crew members are true professionals, honoring the efforts and talent they’re supporting on stage.

While their rehearsals are longer than those at other theater companies, Bennett said that the actors  “remind me every day that they can take more than I give them … [that] I need to keep pushing them further.”

“Shrek the Musical, JR.” opens February 25 and runs though March 6 at Dunwoody’s MJCCA.

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