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

Contact:     Morgan Holmes
                    Communications Manager
                    [email protected]

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 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.



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 mnjewishtheatre.org, email [email protected], 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.     

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