MJTC Announces the Opening of Regional Premiere: THE TWENTY-SEVENTH MAN

Contact:     Barbara Brooks
                    [email protected]


September 21, 2015


A new play by Nathan Englander
Directed by Kurt Schweickhardt

“a meditative look at an attempt to eradicate a civilization”
                                                                            -The New York Post

St. Paul, MN -- Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (MJTC) is pleased to announce the opening of The Twenty-Seventh Man, a new work by Nathan Englander. This regional premiere runs from October 17 – November 8 at MJTC’s theater home in the Highland Park Community Center, 1978 Ford Parkway, St. Paul, MN 55116. Tickets range in price from $20 - $32, with student and group discounts available. To order, call (651)647-4315 or visit mnjewishtheatre.org. Press passes are available for the performances on Saturday, October 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, October 18 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

In a Soviet prison in 1952, Stalin’s police have rounded up 26 of the giants of Yiddish literature. As judgment looms, a 27th prisoner is tossed inside: a young man, unpublished and unknown.  Baffled by his arrest, the cellmates contemplate party loyalty, politics, and their own imprisonment and fate.  First written as a short story by Nathan Englander, the drama is based on the real incident of “the night of the murdered poets” in the Lubyanka Prison in Russia in 1952.


Jôher Coleman (Moishe Bretzky) is a stage, TV, and voice-over talent. Favorite stage roles include the Jewish high priest Caiaphas in Kingdom Undone and Dr. Patel in Play What's Not There at the Guthrie Theater. TV credits include Head of the Class (series regular) Growing Pains, and Handy Manny

Gabriel Murphy (Vasily Korinsky) makes his Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company debut in The Twenty-Seventh Man. He trained at Webster Conservatory and the British American Drama Academy. Recent credits include Theatre Pro Rata (A Lie of the Mind), The Jungle (You Can’t Take It With You), Workhaus Collective (The Reagan Years), Park Square (4,000 Miles), The Kentucky Repertory Theatre (Moonlight and Magnolias), and Walking Shadow Theatre Company (Compleat Female Stage Beauty).

Michael Kissin (Yevgeny Zunser) is an actor, director, musician, and college educator. A company member at Mixed Blood Theatre for over 20 years, Michael also served as Artistic Director at Minnesota Festival Theater in Albert Lea and Artistic Director of Bemidji’s Paul Bunyan Playhouse. At MJTC, he directed Talley’s Folly, Goats, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, and Stars of David, and starred in the one-man show, Boychik. His broad range of onstage roles include the Fiddler in A Christmas Carol for 13 seasons at the Guthrie Theater.

Skyler Nowinski (Agent in Charge) is a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. actor training program. He previously appeared at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company in The Chanukah Guest, New Jerusalem, The Magic Dreidels, Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky, and The Last Word... Other credits include Why We Laugh (Fortune’s Fool Theater and Nine Gates Jewish Culture Festival in the Czech Republic), Mixed Blood Theatre, Walking Shadow, The Strange Capers, Workhaus Collective, The Showboat, and Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

Naveh Shavit-Lonstein (Guard) previously appeared at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company as Jacob in The Magic Dreidels, and was an ensemble member of Parade. Since 2006, Naveh has worked with numerous theater companies including Theater Latté Da, Children’s Theatre Company, Youth Performance Company, (directorial debut) Nimbus Theater, Girl Friday Productions, and has played Dromio of Ephesus in The Boys from Syracuse and Moonface Martin in Anything Goes both with Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists where he is an 11th grader.

Michael Torsch (Pinchas Pelovits) is happy to be returning to MJTC after playing Dr. Kim/Alec in Jericho this past spring, and Baruch de Spinoza in New Jerusalem. Other credits include Ken in RED (Normandale Theatre), Dad in Matthew McGuire's Beget (Agile Rabbit Theatre Company), and Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors (Cromulent Shakespeare Company). He also recently directed and acted in an original stage adaptation of Richard Connell's The Most Dangerous Game at the Bedlam Lowertown. 

Creative Team:

Kurt Schweickhardt (Director) has a long history with Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company.  Previous directing projects for the theater include New Jerusalem, A Strange and Separate People, The 75th (inaugural season), The Value of Names (which starred MJTC’s Producing Artistic Director, Barbara Brooks), and Old Wicked Songs. Kurt has also performed at 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, having designed Jericho and Stars of David last season. Michael designs sets locally for many theaters, most recently 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.

Annie Cady (Costume Design) returns to MJTC after previously designing many shows including New JerusalemThe Last Five YearsThe Last Word..., The Magic Dreidels, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, Cherry Docs, Miklat, and The Action Against Sol Schumann. Other credits include Children's Theatre Company, Commonweal Theatre, Dark and Stormy Productions, Normandale Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Threads Dance Project, the University of Minnesota, Workhaus Collective, and Zenon Dance.

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 Photograph 51, Handle With Care, Goats, My Name is Asher Lev, Women's Minyan, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, Rose, Old Wicked Songs, and The Chosen), Mixed Blood Theatre, Off-Leash Area, Torch Theater, and the Jon Hassler Theater. 

C Andrew Mayer (Sound Design) has been privileged to work with many of the finest Twin Cities theater companies. Previously for MJTC, he was sound designer for Jericho, New JerusalemThe History of Invulnerability, and Photograph 51, among others, and projections designer 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. In summer, he serves as Producing Director of the Acadia Repertory Theatre in Maine.

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 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 currently celebrating 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, visit mnjewishtheatre.org, email [email protected], or call (651)647-4315.

This project was made possible with support from the Howard B. & Ruth F. Brin Jewish Arts Endowment, a fund of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation’s Foundation.

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.