Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company Announces 2017 / 2018 SEASON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 18, 2017

MJTC ANNOUNCES 2017 / 2018 SEASON

New season features a diverse lineup of five bold productions, including Raye Birk in his Twin-Cities directorial debut, and the world premiere, Natasha and the Coat, by Deborah Stein.

St. Paul, MN--Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to announce its 23rd season of staging stories about Jewish history and culture with themes universal to people of all backgrounds. MJTC is led by producing artistic director Barbara Brooks.

 Via Dolorosa by David Hare. Robert Dorfman stars in this solo performance about the famous playwright’s trip to the Middle East. Raye Birk in his Twin-Cities directorial debut! 

Church and State by Jason Odell Williams. A Republican Senator up for re-election has a change of thoughts concerning God and the second amendment.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Shari Aronson. Family-friendly and festive tale on how Hershel saves the town from Hanukkah-hating Goblins.

Collected Stories by Donald Margulies. A drama with a young writer and her mentor that explores the question: can someone of one culture tell the story of another?

Natasha and the Coat by Deborah Stein. A NYC fashion intern meets a 20-something Hasidic Jew, and their intersecting lives make an impact on each other.  

MORE DETAILS:

Via Dolorosa by David Hare, August 19th - August 27th, 2017

At the age of 50, playwright, screenwriter and director David Hare decided to travel to Israel to explore the 50 year old state and write about it. His conversations with politicians, artists, settlers and historians in Israel and Palestine provocatively reveals the ideas, hopes and dreams of those living amidst the Israeli-Arab conflict. To be directed by Raye Birk in his Twin-Cities directorial debut.

 

Church & State by Jason Odell Williams, October 21st - November 12th, 2017

Good-natured and popular Republican Senator Charlie Whitmore is up for re-election in North Carolina. Just three days before voting is to take place, he lets slip to a blogger his new and not-so-popular thoughts on God and the second amendment.  As his bible-thumping wife, Sara, works to retain religion in their marriage, Alex, his New York Jewish liberal staffer, fights to keep the campaign from spinning out of control. Hailed as “gripping entertainment” (LA Times), this new comedy looks at America’s political system today. To be directed by Michael Kissin.

 

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Shari Aronson. Dec. 7th-Dec. 21st, 2017 This play is adapted from the book by Eric Kimmel. 

Hershel of Ostropol has been walking long and hard with growing anticipation for the Hanukkah holiday. Tired and hungry, he imagines the smell of latkes and the bright lights of the menorah. But when Hershel arrives in Helmsbergville, the village is silent. Goblins have been preventing Hanukkah in Helmsbergville for years. Can this visitor help bring Hanukkah back? Enlisted by the townspeople, Hershel agrees to spend eight nights in the old synagogue to try to defeat the goblins. To be directed by Shelli Place.

 

Collected Stories by Donald Margulies, February 24th - March 18th, 2018

Ruth Steiner is a respected author in the autumn of her career when she hires Lisa, a graduate student, to be her assistant. Under Ruth’s mentorship, Lisa’s talent is unleashed, but when Lisa writes a novel based upon her teacher’s past, their friendship explodes with questions about intellectual property and the ownership of experiences.  This gem of a play, by one of today’s most admired playwrights, displays “tangled connections between creativity and ideology…thick with ideas like a stockpot of good stew.” (Village Voice) Director to be announced.

 

Natasha and the Coat by Deborah Stein, APRIL 21st - MAY 13th, 2018                                      

Natasha has just begun a fashion internship in an atelier in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. When she clumsily spills coffee on a vintage fur coat, she takes it to a dry cleaner where the work of Yossi, an Hasidic Jew, results in beautiful restoration. As Natasha, eager to please her unknowing boss, brings more and more items for cleaning, the very different lives of these two 20-somethings intersect, opening up possibilities for what their futures may hold. Join MJTC for the world premiere of a poignant play about independence, self-exploration, and defining your dreams. Director to be announced.

Ms. Stein was a two-time Jerome Fellow (2006-07 and 2007-08), and then a McKnight Advancement Grant recipient (2010-2011). Natasha and the Coat had readings at Geva, New Dramatists, and Bay Area Playwrights Festival, both at the Magic Theatre and Berkeley Rep, and will be receiving its world premiere at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company.

All performances are held in the theater of Highland Park Community Center at 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116. Season subscriptions are now available.  To order, call (651)647-4315 or visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org.

This 2017-2018 season is made possible by the ongoing generous support of Target®, Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, Minnesota State Arts Board, RBC Wealth Management, and Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. 

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization currently celebrating its 23rd season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For more information about MJTC and its 23rd season, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651)647-4315.

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company Announces Doorways Programs for The Whipping Man

Contact: Tessa Wegenke, Communications Manager
                 communications@mnjewishtheatre.org

Join MJTC For These Unique Opportunities

(St. Paul, MN) -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to announce our upcoming Doorways Programs for The Whipping Man.  Doorways Programs foster further enjoyment of our productions by providing an opportunity to gain deeper insights into the subjects and issues that they address. These programs are free and open to the community.  The Whipping Man runs from February 4 – 26, 2017 at the Highland Park Community Center Theater, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116.

MEET THE ARTISTS OF THE WHIPPING MAN
Date:
Sunday, February 5 | after matinee performance

Join us for a look into the production process with Lou Bellamy, director of The Whipping Man at Penumbra Theatre (2009), Sally Wingert, director, and MJTC actors in a conversation moderated by MJTC Artistic Producing Director, Barbara Brooks.

20s & 30s NIGHT
Date
: Thursday, February 9 | post-performance
Cost: $15

This is an exclusive event for 20s & 30s somethings that are passionate about theater.  Each ticket includes the show followed by drinks & apps at the Highland Grill. 

COLORISM AND JUDAISM
Date:
Saturday, February 11 | post-performance

Jessica Kingston, Director of the St. Paul Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity, will moderate a panel with April ­­­Baskin, Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, and actor Warren C. Bowles. Presented after the performance in partnership with Temple Israel.

MILITARY MATTERS: RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS RITES AND RIGHTS—CLE
Date:
Sunday, February 12 | post-performance

Join Daniel Pierce Bergin, documentary filmmaker, and attorneys Ellen Sampson and Peter Nickitas for a panel presentation moderated by attorney Marshall Tanick.  Sponsored by Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. after the performance.  1.0 Elimination of Bias Credit Applied For

RACE, CLASS, AND POLITICAL STRUGGLE IN POST-WAR RICHMOND
Date:
Thursday, February 23 | post-performance

Peter Rachleff, noted labor historian, and Neal Gosman, a descendant of Confederate Jews, will give an analysis of the aftermath of emancipation, and the challenges white and black workers faced -- and surmounted -- in their efforts to make their lives better.

Performances will take place Wednesdays at 7:30, Thursdays at 7:30, Saturdays at 8:00, and Sundays at 1:00. There will be one Sunday evening performance on February 5th at 7:00. Individual tickets are now on sale and range $20-34. Student and group discounts are available. To order, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org or call (651) 647-4315. Press passes are available for performances on February 4th and 5th.

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 22nd season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company and its 22nd season, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

Individual Producers: Steve & Gail Machov and Larry & Honey Zelle
Producer’s Circle: Martha Hauser Baxter, Jim & Nancy Proman and Ann Wynia

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

This project is made possible in part with the support of Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

 

Contact:    Tessa Wegenke
                  Communications Manager
                  communications@mnjewishtheatre.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2016

SALLY WINGERT, NOTED TWIN CITIES ACTRESS, TO MAKE HER DIRECTORIAL DEBUT

The Whipping Man to run February 4 - 26, 2017

(St. Paul, MN) -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to welcome Sally Wingert in her directorial debut for The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez.  This production runs from February 4 – 26, 2017 at the Highland Park Community Center Theater, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116. 

Sally Wingert is known locally and nationally for her exquisite work.  She previously appeared at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company in Family Secrets, Woman Before a Glass for which she won her first Ivey Award, 2.5 Minute Ride, Rose, and most recently in The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife. Other credits include Guthrie Theater, where she has appeared in more than 80 productions, Theater Latté Da, Mixed Blood Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Park Square Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center, and Dark and Stormy Productions.  Nationally, she has worked at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The O'Neill, Yale Repertory Theatre, McCarter Theatre, and American Repertory Theater, on Broadway and in London’s West End. She was awarded a 2014 McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists.

The New York Times has described The Whipping Man as “Haunting… emotionally potent.”  It’s April 1865 and the Civil War is over. Caleb DeLeon, a young Jewish Confederate soldier, returns home wounded to find his plantation home burned and looted, and his former slaves Simon and Caleb now freed. As Simon, brought into the Jewish faith by the DeLeon family, prepares a Passover seder, the three men help each other navigate their newfound understandings of family, power and freedom, until the secrets that still bind them start to unravel.  Sally Wingert, in her directorial debut, has created a remarkable platform for this drama to unfold.

All members of the cast are making their debut on the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company stage with this production.  Warren C. Bowles (Simon) at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company previously directed DAI (enough), JerichoPhotograph 51, and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife for which he won an Ivey Award in recognition of the outstanding production. He has more than 40 years of experience as an actor, director, fight choreographer, and playwright at Mixed Blood Theatre and other theaters across the country.  In 2005, he received a McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists.  JuCoby Johnson (John) has performed locally at Park Square Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, Ten Thousand Things, Mu Performing Arts, Underdog Theater, and Theater Latté DaRiley O'Toole (Caleb) has performed at the Guthrie Theater.  Nationally, he has performed at Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Great River Shakespeare Festival, and Salt Lake Acting Company. Both JuCoby and Riley are graduates of the University of Minnesota / Guthrie B.F.A. Actor Training Program.

Performances will take place Wednesdays at 7:30, Thursdays at 7:30, Saturdays at 8:00 and Sundays at 1:00. There will be one Sunday evening performance on February 5th at 7:00. Individual tickets go on sale January 9 and range $20-34. Student and group discounts are available. To order, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org or call (651) 647-4315. Press passes are available for performances on February 4th and 5th.

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 22nd season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company  and its 22nd season, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

Individual Producers: Steve & Gail Machov and Larry & Honey Zelle

Producer’s Circle: Jim & Nancy Proman and Ann Wynia

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. 

This project is made possible in part with the support of Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

Contact:    Tessa Wegenke
                  Communications Manager
                  communications@mnjewishtheatre.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2016

 The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife director
Warren Bowles wins Ivey Award

Award is fifth Ivey honor in MJTC history

Minneapolis, MN – Twin Cities theater veteran Warren C. Bowles took home an Ivey Award for his direction of Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC)’s 2016 production of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife by Charles Busch. The play, which portrays the existential angst of a bored housewife when an old friend arrives, featured Sally Wingert, Linda Kelsey and Maggie Bearmon Pistner as part of its stellar cast.

Bowles accepted the award at the Monday, September 19th ceremony, saying “When people say they are surprised, believe them!” The director recently celebrated his “rebirthday” on September 16, marking five years since he survived a sudden cardiac arrest during a performance at Mixed Blood Theatre.

The Ivey Awards were established in 2004 to celebrate and increase awareness of Twin Cities professional theater. Unlike similar ceremonies, there are no nominees, pre-determined award categories or set number of awards. The Ivey committee selects the limited number of winners based on volunteer evaluations, and feedback from participating theaters and the theater-going community. This year the committee recognized only 10 productions and artists, in addition to the recurring Emerging Artist and Lifetime Achievement awards.

This is the fifth Ivey award recognizing MJTC’s outstanding artists and productions. Previous honors were awarded to the overall production of Rose (2014), Miriam Monasch for her direction of Our Class (2012), Chris Griffith for his puppet design in Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (2009), and Sally Wingert for her performance in Woman Before a Glass (2007).

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 22nd season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about MJTC and its 22nd season, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

# # #

MJTC announces the professional theater premiere of Aunt Raini

Contact:      Morgan Holmes
                   Communications Manager
                   communications@mnjewishtheatre.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2016

MJTC announces the professional theater premiere of:

Aunt Raini
by Tom Smith
Directed by Kurt Schweickhardt

St. Paul, MN -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to announce the professional theater premiere of Tom Smith’s Aunt Raini, directed by Kurt Schweickhardt. This production runs from October 29 – November 20, 2016 at the Highland Park Community Center Theater, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116.  Individual tickets go on sale October 4th and range $20-34. Student and group discounts are also available. To order, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org or call (651) 647-4315. Press passes are available for performances on Saturday, October 29th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 30th at 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

Inspired by the life of German film director Leni Riefenstahl, Aunt Raini is an incisive look at the tensions between art and politics, family legacy and personal identity. During a visit from her great-aunt Raini (Maggie Bearmon Pistner), successful gallery owner Katharine (Heidi Fellner) struggles to keep her family’s past buried. The threat of exposure intensifies when she introduces Raini to her Jewish boyfriend Joel (Michael Torsch), a struggling photographer exploring Judaism in his work. When Katharine inherits her great-aunt’s original film reels that document Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazi Party, Joel and Raini's companion Horst (Dan Hopman) force her to confront the truth: whether Raini’s art is inextricably tied to its subject matter or can be judged for its artistic merit alone.

Cast:

Maggie Bearmon Pistner (Aunt Raini) returns to MJTC after previously appearing in The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Jericho and The History of Invulnerability. Other theater credits include Jungle Theater, Park Square Theatre, Artistry, Red Eye Theater and Walking Shadow Theatre Company. In 2013, she debuted her one-woman, sold-out Fringe show They Called Her Captain. It was remounted at the Sabes Jewish Community Center in March 2016. Maggie is a voice-over and commercial talent.

Heidi Fellner (Katherine) appears at MJTC for the first time. She received her B.A. from Northern State University in South Dakota. She has appeared locally at Park Square Theatre, Frank Theatre, Old Log Theater and Actor's Theater of Minnesota, among others. Regional theater credits include Paul Bunyan Playhouse and Black Hills Playhouse. Heidi is a film, television and commercial talent.

Dan Hopman (Horst) has previously appeared at MJTC in A Report on the Banality of Love.
He most recently appeared in Scapegoat at Pillsbury House Theatre and Clybourne Park at Yellow Tree Theatre. Other local credits include Park Square Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Theater Latte Da, Red Eye Theater, Yellow Tree Theatre, Balance Theatre Project, Theatre L’ Homme Dieu, History Theatre, and The Playwrights’ Center.

Michael Torsch (Joel) returns to MJTC after appearing in The Twenty-Seventh ManJericho and New Jerusalem. He is a co-founder of Sheep Theater, which so far in 2016 has produced George at Bedlam Lowertown and The Most Dangerous Game at the MN Fringe Festival. He has also worked with Cromulent Shakespeare Company and Workhouse Collective, and directed the Hennepin County Library's 2016 Northern Spark submission, Night Library.


Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 22nd season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about MJTC and its 22nd season, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

This activity is made possible through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

# # #

MJTC announces the opening of DAI (enough)

Contact:      Morgan Holmes
                    Communications Manager
                    communications@mnjewishtheatre.org

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2016

MJTC announces the opening of:
DAI (enough)
by Iris Bahr
Directed by Warren C. Bowles
 

St. Paul, MN -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to announce the opening of Iris Bahr’s DAI (enough), directed by Warren C. Bowles and featuring a striking performance by Miriam Schwartz, who led a sold-out run at MJTC in 2015 with her solo performance of Becoming Dr. Ruth. This production runs from August 17th – 31st, 2016 at the Highland Park Community Center Theater, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116.  Individual tickets go on sale August 1st and are $34. Student and group discounts are available. To order, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org or call (651) 647-4315. Press passes are available for performances on Wednesday, August 17th at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, August 18th at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 20th at 8:00 p.m.

Jarring and complex, DAI (enough) is the 2008 Lucille Lortel Award–winning play by Israeli-American performance artist Iris Bahr. The play shares a glimpse into the private lives and thoughts of eleven vibrant characters in a Tel Aviv café before a bombing. The honesty of the characters – an Israeli expat New Yorker reconnecting with her family, an American Latina actress on location, a Christian evangelist and a Palestinian professor, to name a few – reveals the humanity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Cast:


Miriam Schwartz is a Seattle native and graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program. She was previously seen as Daphna in Bad Jews, Dr. Ruth in Becoming Dr. Ruth, Jessica in Jericho, and Ayelet in Handle with Care. Other theater credits include Walking Shadow Theatre Company (Gabriel), 7th House Theater (Cinephillia), Workhaus Collective (Homegrown, The Hollow), Guthrie Theater (Born Yesterday), and Theatre Forever (The Brutes), as well as roles including Sonya in Uncle Vanya, Jenny in In Game or Real, and multiple roles in Clandestino.

Creative Team:


Warren C. Bowles (Director) previously directed The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Jericho, and Photograph 51 at MJTC. He has more than 40 years of experience as an actor, director, fight choreographer, and playwright at Mixed Blood Theatre and other theaters across the country. Directing credits include Park Square Theatre, San Diego Public Theatre, Theatre L’Homme Dieu, Interact, Southwest State University, Augsburg College, and others. In 2004, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak proclaimed a "Warren Caesar Bowles Day." Warren is a recipient of a 2005 McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists.

Liz Josheff Busa (Costume Design) has previously designed for MJTC in The Tale of the Allergist's WifeJericho and Photograph 51. As well as being a freelance designer, she is a Red Eye Theater company member where she has collaborated on over 40 productions.  Her theater work includes costume, set, and projection design. In addition, she has designed for film and television, and has worked in arts education as a teaching artist.

Paul Epton (Lighting Design) discovered theater lighting at Carleton College and was an award-winning designer in Detroit. Since moving to Minneapolis, he’s designed regularly for MJTC (over 50 shows, including Stars of David, My Name is Asher Lev, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, Old Wicked Songs), Mixed Blood Theatre (In the Time of the Butterflies, Ruined), Off-Leash Area (Maggie’s Brain, Psst!), Torch Theater (Turn of the Screw, Dancing at Lughnasa), and Day Trippers, among others. 

Michael Hoover (Scenic Design) returns to MJTC, having designed Bad JewsThe Tale of the Allergist’s WifeThe Twenty-Seventh ManJericho, and Stars of David. Michael designs sets locally for many theaters, including Juno and the Paycock (co-designer) and Choir Boy at Guthrie Theater. Other stage design credits include Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Theater Latté Da, and Torch Theater. In addition to his freelance career as a scenic designer, Michael is on staff as the Lead Scenic Artist at the Guthrie Theater.

Anita Kelling
 (Sound Design) graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2010 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. Previous MJTC designs include The Chanukah GuestBecoming Dr. RuthHandle with CareHanukkah Lights in the Big Sky, and The Magic Dreidels. Around town, she has designed productions for Park Square Theatre, Walking Shadow Theatre Company, Yellow Tree Theatre, 20% Theatre Company, COLLIDE Theatrical Dance, Theatre Unbound, Freshwater Theatre, Theatre in the Round, Chameleon Theatre Circle, and the Sabes JCC Theatre. 

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 22nd season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about MJTC and its 22nd season, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

This activity is made possible through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

# # #

MJTC announces its 2016 / 2017 Season

Contact:     Morgan Holmes
                   Communications Manager
                   communications@mnjewishtheatre.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2016

MJTC announces its 2016 / 2017 Season

New season features a world premiere and
Twin Cities favorite Sally Wingert in her directorial debut

St. Paul, MN -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to announce its 22nd season of staging stories about Jewish history and culture with themes universal to people of all backgrounds. MJTC is led by producing artistic director Barbara Brooks. “With the unprecedented success of our previous season, I wanted to make sure this season’s selections and complementary Doorways programs continue to excite our growing audiences,” said Brooks.

The season begins with the solo performance DAI (enough) (August 17 – 31, 2016), the 2008 Lucille Lortel Award–winning play by Israeli-American performance artist Iris Bahr. Jarring and complex, the play shares a glimpse into the private lives and thoughts of eleven vibrant characters in a Tel Aviv café before a bombing. The honesty of the characters and their voices reveals the humanity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Miriam Schwartz (seen at MJTC in Bad Jews, Becoming Dr. Ruth, and Jericho) returns to MJTC to take on this expansive role, directed by Warren C. Bowles.  

Next will be the professional theater premiere of Washington-based playwright Tom Smith’s drama, Aunt Raini (October 29 – November 20, 2016), inspired by the life of German film director Leni Riefenstahl. Katharine is a young, successful art gallery owner. Joel, her Jewish boyfriend, is a struggling photographer exploring Judaism in his work. When Katharine inherits her great-aunt Raini’s original film reels that document Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazi Party, Joel forces her to examine whether Raini’s art is inextricably tied to its subject matter or can be judged for its artistic merit alone.

In celebration of the holidays MJTC will restage its original commission The Magic Dreidels (December 6 – December 21, 2016), adapted by Twin Cities playwright Jenna Zark from the endearing book of the same name by noted children’s author Eric A. Kimmel. Jakob, a curious young boy with a knack for misplacing things, loses his Hanukkah dreidel down a well. A goblin living in the well replaces his dreidel with magical ones, setting off a series of adventures for Jakob with his father and his lonely neighbor, Fruma Sarah. A charming and festive holiday tale for the whole family, The Magic Dreidels is an opportunity to learn about the cultural traditions of Hanukkah, and the universal themes of sharing, compassion, and friendship. Directed by Michael Kissin and starring Soren Thayne Miller (seen in MJTC’s 2015 The Chanukah Guest) as Jakob.

The new year will begin with the 2011 Outer Critics Circle Award-winning play The Whipping Man (February 4 – 26, 2017) by Matthew Lopez and directed by Sally Wingert (seen at MJTC in Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Rose, Women Before a Glass, Family Secrets, and 2.5 Minute Ride). It’s April 1865 and the Civil War is over. Caleb De Leon, a young Jewish Confederate soldier, returns home wounded to find his plantation home burned and looted, and his former slaves Simon and John now freed. As Simon, brought into the Jewish faith by the DeLeon family, prepares a Passover seder, the three men help each other navigate their newfound understandings of family, power and freedom, until the secrets that still bind them start to unravel.

To end the season, MJTC will present the world premiere of theater/film/TV writer and producer Wendy Kout’s new comedy, We Are the Levinsons (April 22 – May 14, 2017). Lil and Lenny Levinson’s house is brimming with hummed tunes and bright chatter when their daughter Rosie makes a surprise homecoming for Lil’s birthday. Three weeks later, Lil’s sudden passing leaves Rosie miscast to fill her mother’s shoes as she fights to rally the depressed Lenny and her rebellious daughter Sara. Through death, dysfunction and delusions, the Levinsons and their caregiver Coco, a transwoman hoping to start her own family, revel in the artifacts and rituals that help us survive.

All performances are held in the theater of Highland Park Community Center at 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116. Season subscriptions are now availableTo order, call (651) 647-4315 or visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 22nd season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about MJTC and its 22nd season, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, as well as support from Fredrikson and Byron, P.A., the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul, RBC Wealth Management, and Target®.

  # # #

MJTC announces the opening of BAD JEWS

Contact:      Morgan Holmes
                     Communications Manager
                     communications@mnjewishtheatre.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 14, 2016 

MJTC announces the opening of:
Bad Jews
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Hayley Finn

 St. Paul, MN -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to announce the opening of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews, directed by Hayley Finn. This production runs from April 30th – May 22nd, 2016 at the Highland Park Community Center Theater, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116.  Individual tickets go on sale March 25th and range in price from $20 - $32. Student and group discounts are available. To order, call (651) 647-4315 or visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org. Press passes are available for performances on Saturday, April 30th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 1st at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Conflicts over family, faith and identity explode in this edgy, new comedy. Crammed in a Manhattan apartment the night after their grandfather’s funeral, two cousins face off in a battle to inherit a family heirloom. First in the ring – college senior Daphna, who oozes “Super Jew” from her upcoming rabbinical studies to her Israeli boyfriend. Her opponent is Liam, a secular and entitled grad student who arrives with shiksa girlfriend Melody in tow. With Liam’s younger brother Jonah thrust into the impossible position of peacemaker, the rivals argue, insult and try to outwit each other to the bitter, hilarious end.

Cast:

 Miriam Schwartz (Daphna Feygenbaum) was previously seen in Becoming Dr. Ruth, Jericho, and Handle With Care. Other theater credits include Walking Shadow Theatre Company (Gabriel), 7th House Theater (Cinephillia), Workhaus Collective (Homegrown, The Hollow), Guthrie Theater (Born Yesterday), and Theatre Forever (The Brutes), as well as roles including Sonya in Uncle Vanya, Jenny in In Game or Real, and multiple roles in Clandestino. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program.

Michael Hanna (Liam Haber) appears at MJTC for the first time. He currently stars as Romeo at Park Square Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet. Other recent theater credits include Guthrie Theater (My Fair Lady, Born Yesterday, Those Who Favor Fire), Mixed Blood Theatre (Stars and Stripes), and Hope Summer Repertory Theater (The Light in the Piazza, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Chaps!).  He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program.

Michael Torsch (Jonah Haber) returns to MJTC, after appearing in The Twenty-Seventh Man, Jericho and New Jerusalem. Other theater credits include Normandale Theatre (RED), Agile Rabbit Theatre Company (Beget), and Cromulent Shakespeare Company (The Comedy of Errors). He also recently directed and acted in an original stage adaptation of Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game at the Bedlam Lowertown. 

Adelin Phelps (Melody) appears at MJTC for the first time. She most recently appeared in Lullaby at Theater Latté Da. Other credits include Park Square Theatre (King Lear), Theatre Forever (The Nature Crown, The King is Dead), Illusion Theatre/Transatlantic Love Affair (These Old Shoes, Ash Land), and Walking Shadow Theatre (Compleat Female Stage Beauty). In March 2016, she will appear as Sharon in Watermelon Hill at History Theatre.

 Creative Team:

Liz Josheff Busa (Costume Design) has previously designed for MJTC in The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Becoming Dr. RuthJericho and Stars of David. As well as being a freelance designer, she is a Red Eye Theater company member where she has collaborated on over 40 productions.  Her theater work includes costume, set, and projection design. In addition, she has designed for film and television, and has worked in arts education as a teaching artist.

Andrew Lee Dolan (Sound Design) most recently sound designed at Red Eye Theater for The Slow Motion Carnival and My Life is All But Over. His design work has been featured at Bank of Ireland Theatre, Town Hall Theatre, Galway Arts Centre, and the Múscailt Arts Festival in Galway, Ireland as well as The Mütter Museum (Philadelphia, PA), Fairfield University (Connecticut), and Bryant Lake Bowl locally. He has been a guest artist in sound and performance at Fairfield University and Century College. 

 Paul Epton (Lighting Design) discovered theater lighting at Carleton College and was an award-winning designer in Detroit. Since moving to Minneapolis, he’s designed regularly for MJTC (over 50 shows, including Stars of David, My Name is Asher Lev, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, Old Wicked Songs), Mixed Blood Theatre (In the Time of the Butterflies, Ruined), Off-Leash Area (Maggie’s Brain, Psst!), Torch Theater (Turn of the Screw, Dancing at Lughnasa), and Day Trippers, among others. 

Hayley Finn (Director) is Associate Artistic Director at the Playwrights’ Center. She directed Rose, The History of Invulnerability, Compulsion or the House Behind, The Last Word..., Handle With Care, and The Gospel According to Jerry at MJTC. Other theaters she has directed at include Cherry Lane Theatre, History Theatre, New Dramatists, The O’Neill, The Public, Vineyard Theatre, Walker Art Center, Workhaus Collective, and Nine Gates Festival-Prague. She has assistant directed Tony Award-winning productions, is a recipient of the Ruth Easton Fellowship, Drama League Fellowship, and TCG New Generations Future Leader grant.

Michael Hoover (Scenic Design) returns to MJTC, having designed The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, The Twenty-Seventh ManJericho and Stars of David. Michael designs sets locally for many theaters, including Juno and the Paycock (co-designer) and Choir Boy at Guthrie Theater. Other stage design credits include Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Theater Latté Da, and Torch Theater. In addition to his freelance career as a scenic designer, Michael is on staff as the Lead Scenic Artist at the Guthrie Theater.

Robert J. Smith (Properties Design) has designed props for MJTC’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, The Chanukah GuestJericho and New Jerusalem. He's designed props for 21 shows at Theatre in the Round, most recently for Fahrenheit 451Black Coffee and Treasure Island, and stage-managed 3 shows. Other local credits include Gray Space, Starting Gate,  Tedious Brief Productions and Walking Shadow Theatre Company. In Salt Lake City, he was resident stage manager for the Children's Theater at Promised Valley Playhouse. Robert has a degree in radio and TV broadcasting.


Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 21st season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about MJTC and its 21stseason, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

This activity is made possible by a grant from Minneapolis Jewish Federation’s Opportunity Fund and by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

# # #

MJTC announces the opening of: The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife

Contact:     Morgan Holmes
                     Communications Manager
                     communications@mnjewishtheatre.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2015

MJTC announces the opening of:
The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife
By Charles Busch
Directed by Warren C. Bowles
Starring Sally Wingert

St. Paul, MN -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to announce the opening of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, directed by Warren Bowles and starring Sally Wingert. This production runs from February 13th – March 6th, 2015 at the Highland Park Community Center Theater, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116. Individual tickets go on sale January 8th and range in price from $20 - $32. Student and group discounts are available. To order, call (651) 647-4315 or visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org. Press passes are available for performances on Saturday, February 13th at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 14th at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Marjorie Taub is depressed, frustrated and utterly dissatisfied. Plunged into the throes of a midlife crisis, no one is safe from her theatrical eruptions of self-doubt and self-pity. Neither Ira, her philanthropic yet distracted husband, nor Frieda, her mother who has a penchant for colon talk, can distract her from her angst. That is, until a mysterious childhood friend arrives and shakes things up. Flamboyant and full of surprises, this Tony-nominated satirical romp is sure to leave audiences laughing with abandon.
 

Cast:

David Coral (Ira Taub) has appeared onstage at MJTC in The Magic Dreidels, My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, My Name is Asher Lev, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, Twilight of the Golds, and The Chosen. Other acting credits include Pillsbury House, Torch Theater, and Park Square Theater, among others.  Directing credits include Theatre in the Round, Starting Gate Productions, and Shadowplay. David is also a freelance commercial, film and voice-over talent, and is a principal actor in the feature-length films Dawning and Little Words

Charles Goitia (Mohammed) appears at MJTC for the first time. He graduated from the University of South Dakota’s Musical Theatre program and has performed in musicals and operas locally with Lyric Arts, The Chameleon Theatre Circle, and Skylark Opera, among others.

Linda Kelsey (Frieda) returns to MJTC, after appearing in Handle with Care. She is best known for the role of Billie Newman on the television show Lou Grant. Other TV credits include ERThe Mary Tyler Moore ShowM*A*S*H, The Twilight ZoneStreets of San Francisco, and Eleanor and Franklin. Local theater credits include Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, Torch Theatre and Mixed Blood Theatre, among others.

Maggie Bearmon Pistner (Lee Green) return to MJTC, previously appearing in Jericho and The History of Invulnerability. Other theater credits include Jungle Theater, Park Square Theatre, Artistry, Red Eye Theater and Walking Shadow Theatre Company. In 2013, she debuted her one-woman sold-out Fringe show “They Called Her Captain.” Maggie is a voice-over and commercial talent.    

Sally Wingert (Marjorie Taub) previously appeared at MJTC in Family Secrets, Woman Before a Glass (for which she won her first of two Ivey Awards), 2.5 Minute Ride, and, most recently, the 2014 Ivey award-winning production Rose. Other credits include Guthrie Theater, where she has appeared in more than 80 productions since 1985, Theater Latté Da, Mixed Blood Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Park Square Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, The Playwrights’ Center, Dark and Stormy Productions, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and The O'Neill. She was awarded a 2014 McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists.
 

Creative Team: 

Warren C. Bowles (Director) previously directed Jericho and Photograph 51 at MJTC.  He has more than 40 years of experience as an actor, director, fight choreographer, and playwright at Mixed Blood Theatre and others across the country. Directing credits include Park Square Theatre, San Diego Public Theatre, Theatre L’Homme Dieu, Interact, Southwest State University, Augsburg College, and others. In 2004, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak proclaimed a "Warren Caesar Bowles Day." Warren is a recipient of a 2005 McKnight Fellowship for Theater Artists.

Liz Josheff Busa (Costume Design) has previously designed for MJTC in Becoming Dr. RuthJericho and Stars of David. As well as being a freelance designer, she is a Red Eye Theater company member where she has collaborated on over 40 productions.  Her theater work includes costume, set, and projection design. In addition, she has designed for film and television, and has worked in arts education as a teaching artist.

Paul Epton (Lighting Design) has designed regularly for MJTC (over 50 shows, including Photograph 51, Handle With Care, Goats, My Name is Asher Lev, Women's Minyan, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, Rose, Old Wicked Songs, The Chosen), Mixed Blood Theatre, Off-Leash Area, Torch Theater, and Day Trippers, among others. 

Michael Hoover (Scenic Design) returns to MJTC, having designed The Twenty-Seventh ManJericho and Stars of David. Michael designs sets locally for many theaters, including Juno and the Paycock (co-designer) and Choir Boy at Guthrie Theater. Other stage design credits include Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Theater Latté Da, and Torch Theater. In addition to his freelance career as a scenic designer, Michael is on staff as the Lead Scenic Artist at the Guthrie Theater.

C. Andrew Mayer (Sound Design) has designed sound previously at MJTC for The Twenty-Seventh Man, JerichoNew Jerusalem, The History of Invulnerability, and Photograph 51, among others, and designe projections for Stars of David. He was a McKnight Theatre Fellow and won an Audelco Award for his design for Carlyle Brown's Pure Confidence at 59E59 in New York City. During the summer, he serves as Producing Director of the Acadia Repertory Theatre in Maine.

Robert J. Smith (Properties Design) has designed props for MJTC’s The Chanukah Guest and New Jerusalem. He has designed props for 15 shows at Theatre in the Round, most recently for Black Coffee and Treasure Island, and stage-managed three shows. Other local credits include Gray Space Performance Company, Starting Gate Productions, Walking Shadow Theatre Company, and Tedious Brief Productions. In Salt Lake City, he was resident stage manager for the Children's Theater at Promised Valley Playhouse. Robert has a degree in radio and TV broadcasting.

Kelli Tucker (Stage Manager) has been the regular stage manager for MJTC since 2011. She stage-managed the Ivey Award-winning productions Rose and Our Class, as well as The Chanukah Guest, Becoming Dr. Ruth, Jericho, Stars of David, New Jerusalem, Handle with Care, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, Photograph 51, and others.

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 21st season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about MJTC and its 21stseason, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.     

MJTC announces the return of its holiday show: "The Chanukah Guest"

Contact:     Morgan Holmes
                    Communications Manager
                    communications@mnjewishtheatre.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2015
 

MJTC announces the return of its holiday show:
The Chanukah Guest
By Jenna Zark
Based on the book by Eric A. Kimmel
Directed by Candace Barrett Birk

St. Paul, MN -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) will feature The Chanukah Guest, an original MJTC commission, as its holiday show this year. The Chanukah Guest returns from its sold out run from last year to play December 6 - 22, 2015 at MJTC’s theater home at the Highland Park Community Center (1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116). This production is appropriate for children ages 3 and up. For tickets, call (651) 647-4315 or visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org.

The Chanukah Guest is based upon the children’s book of the same title by Eric A. Kimmel. David’s grandmother, Bubba Brayna, may be losing her vision and hearing, but she always makes the best potato latkes in the village. As she prepares her kitchen for the first night of Chanukah, a knock at the door reveals a most unexpected visitor. This charming, heartwarming, and imaginative tale explores the cultural traditions of Chanukah and will bring extra excitement to the holiday season for theatergoers of all ages.

The Chanukah Guest will actively engage children in the audience, opening each performance with interactive opportunities allowing children to experience the production from a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective. These opportunities include assisting with set pieces and props placements, as well as observing lighting and sound checks.

Creative Team: 

Jenna Zark (Playwright) is a playwright whose work, The Magic Dreidels, was previously commissioned for MJTC. Her work, A Body of Water, was published by Dramatists Play Service and was produced at Circle Repertory in New York. Recent Twin Cities productions include Alyeska at Blank Slate Theatre, A Great Miracle Happened Here at the Illusion Theater’s Fresh Ink Series, A Little Princess at Steppingstone Theatre, and I Wouldn’t Be Here and In Coya’s House at the History Theatre. Jenna is a two- time winner of McKnight Artists Fellowships and a member of the musical theater collective Prosody. This year, she also published The Beat on Ruby’s Street, a novel for middle-school readers.

Candace Barrett Birk (Director) is an actress, teaching-artist, director, and health-coach.  She was the director of the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, and has directed/performed with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater, and locally, with the Guthrie Theater, Live Action Set, Hippocrates Café, Theatre in the Round and Open Eye Figure Theater.  She also teaches acting at the Guthrie Theater and serves as Lead Artist for their Theater and the Healing Arts program. Candance last appeared on the MJTC stage in Our Class, and returns for the second year as director of The Chanukah Guest.

 

Cast:

Alex Brightwell (Rabbi / Guest) graduated from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. actor training program. He appeared previously at MJTC as Simon in New Jerusalem, Joe Shuster in The History of Invulnerability, and Don Caspar in Photograph 51.  Other credits include Guthrie Theater, Public Theater of MN, Walking Shadow Theatre, Theatre in the Round, and The Strange Capers.

Kirby Bennett (Bubba Brayna) was previously seen at MJTC in Women’s Minyan, Chaim’s Love Song, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, The Magic Dreidels and Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky. She is Artistic Director and company member of Girl Friday Productions, which won an Ivey award in 2011 for Street Scene. She will appear in March as Mrs. Bradman in Blithe Spirit at the Old Log Theatre. Other recent credits include Frank Theatre, Red Eye Theater, Park Square Theatre, and the Jungle Theater.

Soren Thayne Miller (David) will appear on MJTC’s stage for the first time. He most recently starred in The Music Man at the Guthrie Theater as Winthrop, and as Jojo in Seussical the Musical at Ashland Productions. He has also appeared in A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater, How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Children’s Theatre Company, and Oliver! at Young Artists Initiative. Soren is also a Cub Scout and enjoys choir, chess club and playing the trumpet.

Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is a non-profit organization in its 21st season. Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company ignites the hearts and minds of people of all cultural backgrounds by producing theater of the highest artistic standards. Rooted in Jewish content, our work explores differences, illuminates commonalities, and fosters greater understanding among all people. For further information about MJTC and its 21stseason, visit www.mnjewishtheatre.org, email info@mnjewishtheatre.org, or call (651) 647-4315.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.     

# # #