A Priest, a Rabbi and an Imam walk up to the barre

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
PUBLICATION DATE: 12.06.16

12.06.16religious_leaders
L-R: Rabbi Samuel Weinstein, of Temple Shomer Emunim, Father Ron Olszewski, retired president of St. Francis de Sales High School, and Imam Telal Eid, of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, accepted the invitation to play the iconic role of Mother Ginger in the Toledo Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker.’

Toledo Ballet Announces Its 2016 Mother Gingers:

The Toledo Ballet’s announcement of the cast of Mother Gingers for its annual ‘Nutcracker’ production sounds more like the beginning of a humorous story in addition to being an honored casting call. The Toledo Ballet was founded in 1939, and has the longest consecutively running annual production of ‘The Nutcracker’ in the entire country. This year, the Toledo Ballet will host its 76th production of the holiday favorite at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd., Dec. 17-18. Father Ron Olszewski, retired president of St. Francis de Sales High School, will perform the role Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. Imam Telal Eid, of The Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, will perform the role Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., and Rabbi Samuel Weinstein, of Temple Shomer Emunim, will perform the role Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.

Mari Davies, executive director at the Toledo Ballet, believes the inspiration for inviting the three local religious leaders was a result of learning that Bishop Thomas enjoyed the Toledo Ballet’s 75th anniversary performance of the ‘The Nutcracker’ last year. “It was just one of those magical visions that came to me as I imagined the Bishop enjoying himself as an audience member,” explained Davies. “I thought how wonderful it would be to have religious leaders actually part of the production.”

The three religious leaders enthusiastically accepted the invitation-only opportunity to play the iconic role of Mother Ginger. The Toledo Ballet is excited to display and celebrate the acceptance of cultural diversity that is appreciated in Toledo. Upon accepting the invitation to play Mother Ginger, Rabbi Weinstein said, “I look forward to participating in this wonderful communal event, especially knowing that clergy of different faiths have united to make ‘The Nutcracker’ and this season a time of peace and blessing for all people.”

Joe Zerbey starred in the role of Mother Ginger in a past performance of Toledo Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker.’
Joe Zerbey starred in the role of Mother Ginger in a past performance of Toledo Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker.’