Michael Torsch (left) and heidi Fellner in aunt raini. (photo by sarah whiting.)

Michael Torsch (left) and heidi Fellner in aunt raini. (photo by sarah whiting.)

October 29 - November 20, 2016

by Tom Smith                              
Directed by Kurt Schweickhardt

Katherine is a young, successful art gallery owner. Joel, her Jewish boyfriend, is a struggling photographer exploring Judaism in his work. When Katherine inherits her great-aunt Raini’s original film reels that document Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazi Party, Joel and Raini's partner Horst force her to examine whether Raini’s art is inextricably tied to its subject matter or can be judged for its artistic merit alone. Inspired by the life of German film director Leni Riefenstahl, Aunt Raini will have its professional theater premiere at MJTC.

Individual Producers: Rhoda and Don Mains

Individual tickets are $20-34.
Order online HERE or call the box office at 651-647-4315.
For group sales, call the box office.

Doorways Programs

Aunt Raini in Context | Wednesday, November 2
Learn more about the Third Reich film industry with guest Linda Schulte-Sasse, professor of German Studies at Macalester College and author of Entertaining the Third Reich (Duke University Press), a study of Nazi feature films, following the 7:30 p.m. performance.

Ethics in Documentary Filmmaking | Sunday, November 6
A guest panel including local filmmaker Jan Selby of Quiet Island Filmswill discuss contemporary artistic challenges in directing and producing documentariesfollowing the 1:00 p.m. performance. (Please note: this event was rescheduled for 11/6 from its originally publicized time on 11/13.)

20s & 30s Night | Thursday, November 10
Calling all 20 & 30-somethings! Mark your calendars for a fun night out. Call for your discounted ticket to Aunt Raini—just $15—and stay after the show to mingle with the cast at the Highland Grill.

Meet the 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, They Called Her Captain, to sold-out Fringe audiences. The show honored her mother Jeanne Bearmon’s service in WWII and was remounted shortly before Jeanne’s death at the Sabes Jewish Community Center in March 2016. Maggie is also 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, Theater Latte Da, Red Eye Theater, Children's Theatre
Company, Illusion Theater, Girl Friday Productions, Theatre
L’ Homme Dieu, History Theatre, and the Playwrights’ Center. 

Michael Torsch (Joel) returns to MJTC after appearing in Bad Jews, The Twenty-Seventh Man, Jericho and New Jerusalem. He is a co-founder of Sheep Theater, which has produced Tamburlaine and George at Bedlam Lowertown, and The Most Dangerous Game at the 2016 MN Fringe Festival. He has also worked with Cromulent Shakespeare Company and Workhouse Collective, and is directing the Hennepin County Library's 2017 Northern Spark submission, Night Library.


Meet the Production Team

Kurt Schweickhardt.jpg

Kurt Schweickhardt (Director) has a long history with Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. Previous directing projects for MJTC include The Twenty-Seventh ManNew Jerusalem, A Strange and Separate People, The 75th (inaugural season), The Value of Names, and Old Wicked Songs. Kurt has also performed with MJTC in The Shadow of the Valley. He teaches at Normandale Community College, and is a freelance actor and director.

Michael Hoover (Scenic Design) returns to MJTC to design the 2016-2017 season, having designed several previous productions. Michael designs sets locally, 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 Guthrie Theater. 

Liz Josheff Busa (Costume Design) previously designed DAI (enough)Bad JewsThe Tale of the Allergist’s WifeBecoming Dr. Ruth Jericho and Stars of David for MJTC. 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.

Kathy Maxwell (Lighting Design) is designing at MJTC for the first time. Recent design credits include Watermelon Hill at History Theatre; and Sunset Baby, The Dutchman and The Owl
at Penumbra Theatre. Other credits include Theatre LatteDa, Open Eye Figure Theatre, Children’s Theatre
Company, the Ordway and Guthrie Theatre. She received her M.F.A in theatrical design from The University of Minnesota and her B.A. in Theatre and Dance from the University of Texas.

Anita Kelling (Sound Design) graduated from the University of MN in 2010 with a BA in Theatre Arts. Previous MJTC designs include DAI (enough)The Chanukah GuestBecoming Dr. Ruth Handle 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. 

Robert J. Smith (Properties Design) has designed for several MJTC productions, most recently Bad Jews. He has designed props for 22 shows at Theatre in the Round (most recently for Fahrenheit 451, Black 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.

Samson Perry (Stage Manager) previously stage managed Bad Jews at MJTC. He has also stage managed Theatre Unbound’s production of The How and the Why, as well as Walking Shadow Theatre Company’s A Midwinter Night’s Revel, and was the Assistant Stage Manager for their Ivey Award-winning production of Compleat Female Stage Beauty. He wrote, directed and produced "Lockdown" for the 2016 MN Fringe Festival.