Most Israelis probably don’t know about a unique theater troupe that tours the country with performances of some of the most iconic productions, usually shown on Broadway or London’s West End. Furthermore, they do it for free and in their native English language.
LOGON, The Light Opera Group of the Negev, is made up of veteran immigrants from English-speaking countries who work full time day-jobs as accountants, engineers and teachers, and in their free time follow their passion in tireless rehearsals.
The troupe was founded in 1981 in Omer, an upscale town in southern Israel near the city of Be’er Sheva, by a group of enthusiasts who had always dreamed of performing on stage but never got a chance to fulfill their ambitions.
Today, LOGON produces a one full-scale Broadway musical every year and in 2020 for the first time in the troupe’s history, they are producing one of the world’s most beloved musicals “The Sound of Music.”
“I joined LOGON on a friend's recommendation in 1987, and I'm still here after 33 years,” says Alan Cohen, a retired banker . “I've always loved music and I’ve played the guitar since I was 13 and used to sing in a band with friends.”
“I am originally from Birmingham U.K. and made aliyah in 1973 at the age of 19.”
Michael Herman, who works in Israel’s booming hi-tech industry, is originally from New York but has lived in Israel for the past 10 years.
“We made aliyah back in 2010 to the center of the country and lived there for four years, until moving down south to Meitar [a small upscale local council north-east of Be’er Sheva],” he says.
“I've always had the ‘acting-bug’ since I was very young but it wasn't until we moved down south that I heard about LOGON and it's history of decades of English musical theatre productions, and it's unique style of touring around Israel.”
Michael says that joining LOGON was akin to becoming a member of a new family. “The prospect of being a part of LOGON rekindled my yearning for the stage, and has consumed me ever since,” he says. “It’s a family of like-minded people who give so much of their time and energy in pursuit of their passion.”
The troupe has been performing the Rogers and Hammerstein’s show all across Israel, with at least six more shows planned throughout the month of March.
The show is directed by Yaacov Amsellem and choreographed by Keshet Margolis-Stein with David Waldmann as musical director.
The troupe has been performing across Israel since late February, and will be in Netanya on March 12, Modi'in on March 17, Nes Ziona on March 19, Jerusalem on March 22, Raanana on March 24 and Be'er Sheva on March 26.
Although performances are in English, they have Hebrew subtitles and last on average two and a half hours. Ticket prices range from NIS 65 ($19) to NIS 120 ($35).
For tickets visit the LOGON website or call 08-6414081.