“Susan Cherin Gundersheim is talented, patient, creative, did I mention talented?” said Tina Rogovin, Levine Jewish Community Center volunteer drama committee member and cast member for the center’s December production of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”Providence Plantation resident Gundersheim, 44, has helped produce, choreograph and direct musical productions, revues, summer camps and drama classes at the Levine Jewish Community Center since 2007.“Over the years Susan has helped me to dig within myself to bring out a better actor and singer,” said Marc Lewin, who has starred in many of the musicals. “She is a great teacher and I’ve seen her bring out the best in people of all ages time and again.” In August, Gundersheim assumed the newly created role of director of visual and performing arts.With the dramatic and fine arts programs flourishing the past few years with Gundersheim working part-time and Gwen Orland’s coordination of the visual arts, the Levine JCC decided to create a unified Visual and Performing Arts Department.“We wanted to invite the whole community to be together to help relieve stress, boost self-confidence, create memories and friendships in a safe and nurturing environment,” said Anna Gunsher, division director, Family Life Services.With over 25 years of experience as a performer in theater and film in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Charlotte, as well as experience directing, teaching and choreographing, Gundersheim is qualified to lead this new department.One of Gundersheim’s goals is to “continue to grow and develop (the department) into a premiere arts program that would serve not only the Jewish Community but the greater Charlotte arts community as well,” she said. Gundersheim created new programs to help people of all ages pursue their artistic goals. These programs include: the “Middle School Arts Jam,” the “Performing Arts after High School” seminar, and the “Spring Teen Show,” which will feature seventh- to 12th-grade actors. The Levine JCC OASIS senior group is getting into the act with drama classes.The Levine JCC recently hosted the first “Middle School Arts Jam” where middle school performers shared their singing, dancing and musical talents in a coffee house environment. “The LJCC School of Rock” band of nine- to 12 year-olds (and one adult bass player) opened the show.“Performing Arts after High School” is a college and career-counseling seminar that includes audition workshops that are geared to high school juniors and seniors who are considering a career in the performing arts.Gundersheim is adding two two-week production summer camps to Camp Mindy, “Jungle Book Kids” and “Roundin’ Up the Starts,” an original musical revue written by the campers.Gundersheim plans to add to the Levine JCC’s existing list of private music and voice teachers, offer more types of dance classes, and look into more grant funding for the arts.The next big program Gundersheim has planned is the musical “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” which run the first two weekends in December. Gundersheim’s husband, Stephen, is the director and co-choreographer, and their children Hannah, 14, Rebecca, 11, and Doron, 7, are performing in the musical along with second-graders through adults. “Our show will be colorful, high energy and fun for people of all ages,” said Gundersheim. “The chorus of 46 Oompa Loompas will be quite a sight.”
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
Artist’s full-time role expands arts programs
Gundersheim brings ‘Willy Wonka,’ much more to JCC
Susan Cherin Gundersheim From left, front, are Rebecca, Hannah, and Doron Gundersheim, with Stephe and Susan. The Gundersheims are a theater family and can next be found producing, directing and performing together in the Levine JCC's upcoming production of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." COURTESY OF MELISSA LEFTWICH
Susan Cherin Gundersheim is the director of the new Visual and Performing Arts department at the Levine Jewish Community Center. Her programs are open to members and nonmembers. PHOTO BY LAURA LEWIN
Want to go? “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” will be at The Levine Jewish Community Center, 5007 Providence Road, Charlotte, 7 p.m. Dec. 1, 2 and 8; 2 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9. $10 in advance, $12 at the door; for tickets call 704-366-5007 or visit www.charlottejcc.org/wonkatx. Learn more: For information on the Levine Jewish Community Center, Visual & Performing Arts Department, contact Susan Cherin Gundersheim 704-366-5007 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.charlottejcc.org. Programs are open to members and nonmembers.