Yeshiva College Dramatics Society Celebrates 100th Production by Honoring Longtime Member

On December 2, the Yeshiva College Dramatics Society (YCDS) celebrated one of its most beloved members with a reception and special performance of its 100th production, 12 Angry Men.

The play was originally performed by the founding cohort of YCDS in 1965 and is the first to be repeated in the society’s history. Members of that original cast joined other YCDS alumni for the evening honoring Rabbi Dr. John Krug, who first became involved with YCDS 42 years ago as a student actor and has served as lighting director in both a faculty and volunteer capacity ever since.

Lin Snider, who has directed YCDS productions since 2006, praised Krug’s “generosity, creativity and youthful spirit” as she presented him with an award in recognition of his 40 years of service. “Although we know that he has a many-faceted life, when it comes to YCDS he is there for us 24/seven, negotiating with lighting companies, going into his basement to find some crazy instrument that will give us another effect… He’s an incredible model to these young men because he does this out of joy and love, and that is so rare.”

Krug graduated Yeshiva College in 1974 and received his rabbinical ordination from YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). He also holds several degrees from YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and is an adjunct professor at RIETS. Krug serves as the dean of student life and welfare at The Frisch School in Paramus, NJ and served as the longtime lighting director for the Fantasticks, which was the world’s longest running musical before it closed in 2002.

Speaking of his three passions—psychology, rabbinic study and theater—Krug listed his many degrees and said that his time at YU had helped him fuse divergent interests into a united life-view. “There is no other place on earth I could have pursued all of those fields. My hakart hatov [gratitude] to my alma mater will be lifelong—it has shaped me, molded me and whatever I am has been profoundly impacted by this very special place.”

“When we think of the Yeshiva College Dramatics Society, what a wonderful statement it is that in this place, among many other student events, there are a group of young men who want to be creative, who want to entertain others, who want to take roles where they can express all that they are—where they can model fullness and seek to share it,” said Yeshiva University President Richard M. Joel, who had a special cameo in Sunday’s performance.

Tani Isaac, a senior at Yeshiva College who plays Juror Number Three in this semester’s performance, chose to attend YU for exactly those reasons. “When I was looking for a place to go to college, I was looking for a place where I could act and be a religious Jew, and the answer to that question, everywhere I looked, was nowhere but here,” said Isaac. “YCDS has given me a great opportunity to be a shomer shabbat, modern Orthodox Jew and also be an actor, which is a huge passion of mine.”

For Dr. Gary Berger ’88YC, whose own love of theater was cultivated by YCDS and stayed with him throughout his medical training and career, the opportunity to celebrate Krug and YCDS was extremely meaningful. “Returning to the theater at YU reconnects me to a time that was very special in my life and probably was for everyone here,” he said. “This room of YCDS alumni is not just filled with stage managers, directors and actors, but also doctors, lawyers, rabbis, businessmen, teachers and more, who all found the time, in their busy dual-curriculum lives, to experience the magic of theater together.”