Cheers for story of one woman’s complicated life
|BY CHRISTINE DOLEN|
As journeys of self-discovery go, Sandy Wolshin’s is more interesting than many. Unique, perhaps.
After all, how many former NFL cheerleaders become Orthodox Jews and entertainers?
The Rabbi and the Cheerleader is Wolshin’s attempt to stitch together the disparate threads of her life into a compelling solo show. The result is a largely engaging if somewhat odd amalgam of theater, stand-up routine, self-help lecture and slide-show confessional. But the mostly elderly, mostly Jewish Hollywood Playhouse crowds listening to Wolshin’s story seem to find the Orthodox blond bomb-shell quite beguiling.
In truth, there’s not much rabbi (her hero enters late and exits too soon) but plenty of peppy cheerleader in Wolshin’s show.
Boldly portraying everyone from her own parents and siblings to Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, Wolshin paints the picture of a little girl born with a hole in her heart – a fact as well as an intentional metaphor. Wolshin spent her early years in Hialeah, loved her Russian Orthodox gypsy mother but idolized her non-practicing Jewish daddy. Through traumatizing circumstance, she and her three sisters wound up spending time in a South Florida orphanage.
As a teen, she found two sources of solace: cheerleading and eating. The latter nearly kept her from becoming a scantily clad Raiderette, but she got it together in time to drop 50 pounds and embrace her future – which included dancing with Sylvester Stallone at a Super Bowl after-party.
There’s more, of course, including her life-altering embrace of Orthodox Judaism. Wolshin, a slender blond, keeps her skirts below her knees and her arms covered, as an observant woman should. Yet she still has those Raiderette moves (including a cart-wheel) ………