Thanks to all our Playwrights and Solo Performers who brought their talents to our Showcase, Tuesday, October 24, at the beautiful Central Square Theatre!
VISIONS OF RIGHT by Marcia Cebulska
Photographer Christina Romanek is a survivor of a shooting in New York City perpetrated by a man wearing a tattoo of a swastika. Wanting to avoid urban violence, she moves to safe, Midwestern Topeka, Kansas with her husband, a research scientist trying to develop “rose-colored glasses,” a kind of Prozac for the eyes. But there, they and a gay friend are targeted by a hate-mongering preacher who pickets and rails against them. Escaping to Europe, the couple visits Auschwitz where Christina sees a photograph of a Holocaust victim with her own name. She feels called to action. Christina goes to the church, planning to confront the preacher, carrying in her handbag a camera, the rose-colored glasses, and a gun.
Christina Romanek–35, a photographer, former New Yorker
Oscar “Oz” Singer–40, Christina’s Jewish husband; a Menninger Clinic researcher
Larry Uffizi–35, a gay friend of Christina, owner of a Soho gallery
Rev. Noah Jones–60, a fundamentalist preacher
Abstract unit set with a large screen for projecting slides.
New York; Topeka; Auschwitz
Spring and Summer, 1999
VISIONS OF RIGHT was written in response to the hate ministry of the Westboro Baptist Church (godhatesfags.com), known for its national picketing of gays, Jews, artists and at the funerals of soldiers. As part of the research for this play, the author went underground to attend Westboro Baptist Church and also visited Auschwitz.
217 SW Woodlawn Avenue
Topeka KS 66606
CUTTING IT CLOSE by Kitty Dubin
CUTTING IT CLOSE was an excerpt from RIGHTS OF PASSAGE, a full length play, which had its very successful world premiere at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in West Bloomfield, Michigan last year.
Synopsis: Equal parts comedy and drama, RIGHTS OF PASSAGE is a grouping of five short plays that explore the defining moments in the journey of life from bris to shiva. The play runs approximately 85 minutes with no intermission. 6 actors (4 women, 2 men) play multiple roles.
Synopses of each play:
CUTTING IT CLOSE: After the birth of a baby boy, a young Jewish husband finds himself in the middle of his mother, who insists upon a bris and his gentile wife who considers a bris barbaric.
IT’S MY PARTY: Dedicated parents of a son with special needs disagree strongly when their son wants to cancel his bar mitzvah party.
PREMARITAL COUNSELING: A young woman wants the rabbi with whom she grew up to marry her and her fiance but their premarital counseling session seriously threatens that goal.
SPLIT DECISION: a combative couple in their sixties seeks to get a divorce from a divorce mediator who may be in over his head.
CONDOLENCES: At the shiva for her deceased husband, a grief-stricken woman receives a series of well-intentioned but unhelpful condolence calls.
Reviews of this production from the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News and the Detroit Jewish News are available upon request.
Kitty is an award winning playwright whose work has appeared in theaters across the country. She has also been a Lecturer in Playwriting at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan for the past 21 years. In addition, she is Playwright in Residence at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre where she has had 7 plays produced.
home: 248 642-5636
cell: 248 672-6975
address: 6111 Thorncrest Drive, Bloomfield Hills, MI. 48301
THE ACTUAL DANCE by Sam Simon
The Actual Dance is a love story that will have you laugh, cry and then cheer as a Jewish man discovers the transformative power of love as he faces the loss of “the person (he) love(s) most in the world” to breast cancer. Inherent Jewish content and story includes moments from a BBYO convention, a chanting of the Misheberach during Kabbalat Shabbat services, and a counseling session with a Rabbi. With original musical (as well licensed music) the show takes the audience through the sometimes-painful search for “how do I do this” to that moment of transformative insight that “The Actual Dance will be the ultimate consummation of our love.”
WHAT IS JEWISH AND TRANSFORMATIONAL ABOUT THE ACTUAL DANCE:
The Actual Dance is a universal story told from a Jewish perspective. As indicated in the Pitch, it is filled with Jewish content because the character is Jewish. Meeting your life’s mate at a BBYO convention, experiencing the existential “moment” of a grave cancer diagnosis and looking to Jewish tradition for “how” we are going to do this. The work is used now annually at Hebrew Union College as part of their pastoral counseling class because it provides a unique point-of-view. (See below for endorsement)
The climax of the plot is a transformational moment for the often-over-looked voice in the medical journey. “The other person” at the table, so to speak. Rabbi Wiener refers to it below. And I include a quote from an audience member that gives voice to that change. After almost every performance we have a discussion with the audience and what I have learned is that those who see the show are themselves changed. I am humbled by the power that this show has had to transform so many people and how they relate the story to their own experiences.
Playwright: Samuel A. Simon, Dramaturg Gabrielle Maisels
Performer: Samuel A. Simon
View the trailer: https://vimeo.com/album/3139285/
CLOSING TIME AT THE BAKERY
by Hank Kimmel, 1769 North Akin Dr., Atlanta, GA 30345 — email@example.com,
SALLY SONENSHINE: 21 Store help at Sonenshine Bakery, a kosher bakery owned by her father. Wants to be on her own, but isn’t sure if and how she should do this. Willing to consider leaving her future up to fate.
SAMUEL J. ROTHENSTEIN: 22. A salesman of copy machines (not Xerox). Wants to close the deal, but isn’t sure if and how he should do this. Willing to consider leaving his future up to fate.
Closing Time at the Bakery is the first part of a trilogy of plays depicting a Jewish couple’s experience with marriage, life and death in America from 1975-2015. It is Good Friday, 1975, and when Sally and Sam meet by chance at a kosher bakery, they must decide if their secular and orthodox spirits can mix today and forever. In this particular play, divine fate leads to human choice.
Closing Time at the Bakery was recently produced by Atlanta Theatre-To-Go, a traveling troupe which brings live theatre to communities that normally would not have access to live theatre.
THE SAM PLAY by Victoria Z. Daly
Synopsis: After serving on the front lines of World War II, Sam, a Jewish surgeon, returns to New York. He discovers the wife he left behind is as changed by the war as he is. Now more determined to rise in the world, he meets a secretary from Wall Street’s most prestigious Jewish investment banking firm. Can a Jew with parents from the shtetl succeed in the world of America’s great German Jewish banking families? Sam struggles to penetrate the borders around class that jeopardize his career, his family, and his sense of self.
Time : 1944 to 1975
Place: 3 residencies in Westchester, NY, and one in France (one exterior, 3 interiors.)
Minimal set pieces.
GUTLESS AND GRATEFUL by Amy Oestricher
Gutless and Grateful is my one-woman musical comedy – I’ll be performing it next on November 21st at Guild Hall in East Hampton – admission is absolutely free.
Here’s a little description:
After appearing on NBC’s Today Show, I created an uplifting one-woman autobiographical musical, Gutless & Grateful – www.amyoes.com/gutless – which I’ve toured to over 200 international venues since its BroadwayWorld-nominated “Best Theatre” Debut in 2012. The show also features an original song written for me by Kathie Lee Gifford and David Friedman
and celebrates the resilience of the human spirit with positivity, poignancy, and humor. You can also read the BroadwayWorld four-part exclusive on the play’s development. As a teaching artist, I offer several educational outreach programs, that I’d be happy to offer in addition to the performance, in addition to an artist talkback or Q & A, or partner with your children’s theatre to lead theatre workshops. I also can expand the show into a three-component arts/wellness program for students and adults, Mental Health Mindset, and have customized performances for underserved communities. I also have another work more focused on Jewish themes, which I had also mentioned at the conference, FIBERS. You can see an excerpt of the performance here: https://youtu.be/Vo76VvOQZDo (starting at the 8 minute mark) as well as a trailer for the play at www.amyoes.com/fibers – it’s a mix of magical realism, verbatim theatre, and oral histories chronicling my grandmother’s survival through Auschwitz, immigration to New York, and establishing a successful sewing corporation on the Lower East Side. This article for Times of Israel explores the themes as well as the process of putting the show together: Is history more important than memory? Questioning meaning, Holocaust legacies, and “questions” through theatre http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/?p=547638
Môj Gidget by Julie Hammond
Julie, a California-born Jew travels to a landlocked country to learn to surf and to reconcile seemingly conflicting sides of her family history: surf bums and Holocaust survivors. Shimmering between here/now, then/there, this place/another place, Môj Gidget traces the Jewish roots of surf culture from Europe to California and back again, undermining expectations of identity while de- and re-stabilizing notions of place, presence, fact, and fiction. Pop music meditations, inflatable palm trees, slow dances, and untold family stories mix with playful humour, seagulls, dentistry, and the one and only Gidget. Môj Gidget was originally developed as a 20 minute performance performed by Julie Hammond, a live musician, and two actors at On the Boards’ NW New Works Festival in Seattle, WA. The piece has since been developed into a full length show, Other Inland Empires, performed by four actors and a musician, to be presented in Vancouver, BC October 5-7, 2017 at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Môj Gidget video (20 minute performance), On the Boards, Seattle, WA, USA https://vimeo.com/229341047
THE KITCHEN GIRL by Stephen Fife
A suspenseful comedy about an older Jewish couple who may have had a son, and the man who comes to interview them about their neighborhood.
4 actors required: WOMAN, 70s; WOMAN, 30; MAN 70s; MAN 40s. Time: 2000. Place: The Living Room of a tenement apartment on the lower East Side.
An earlier version with a different title received an Equity Showcase (12 performances) at Theater for the New City, NYC in 1997. The play has been extensively rewritten since then, including the addition of a 4th character (WOMAN, 30).
The 1997 production received several excellent reviews, including:
“An enigmatic little play of secrets, guilt and roiled psyches…[it] raises the ghosts buried in horrible memories of the Holocaust, murder, and abandonment, and makes of its characters both haunts and the haunted.” (Van Gelder, Friday New York Times)
“Fascinating and disturbing…If you’re looking for theater that will leave you thinking about the complexities seeded by the experiences of Jews in the 20th century, make sure to catch this.” (Curtain Up Reviews)
By Wendy Kout
Synopsis: Survivors, an hour docu-drama, tells the story of the Holocaust through eye-witness testimony of eleven Holocaust survivors. A young cast, the approximate age of the survivors during the Holocaust, serve as our guides on this perilous journey. Through oration and enactment, the survivors convey how they each overcame impossible obstacles and went on to lead full and contributing lives. Suitable for young adult and adult audiences, Survivors honors the fortunate few, the helpers who saved them, and the victims whose voices were silenced. This remembrance of the past also confronts us with the content of our own character in our challenging present.
Inspiration for Survivors:
In June 2017, Ralph Meranto, Artistic Director of the JCC CenterStage theatre in Rochester, NY, commissioned playwright, Wendy Kout to write an easily producible, no-tech, hour play which would honor Holocaust survivors and serve as an outreach program for middle schools. The play is inspired by the eleven remarkable souls depicted and all victims and survivors of genocide and hatred. The play will launch spring 2018 in Rochester. But our hope is Survivors will be published and produced in any venue in any community to encourage tolerance, inclusiveness and social justice. Hatred cannot be normalized.
Ralph Meranto – RMeranto@jccrochester.org
Wendy Kout – firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday night showcase performers:
Jeannine Frank’s Performers— Contact email@example.com
Robin Hirsch – MOSAIC: Fragments of a Jewish Life
Daniel Cainer – Stories in Song from a Master Songwriter
Jack Fry – Einstein! Humor, History and Dazzling Equations Collide
Aaron Weinstein – Violinspiration! Think Woody Allen Meets Stephan Grapelli