Stars of David
Based on the book
by Abigail Pogrebin
Conceived by Aaron Harnick
Directed by Michael Kissin
By Special Arrangement with Daryl Roth
Shelli Chase and John Feldman
Jim and Nancy Proman
This new musical revue shines with engaging personal portraits of over 30 accomplished Americans as they reflect on their Jewish heritage and the role it has played in their lives. With original songs by some of theater’s most noted composers and lyricists, including Duncan Sheik, Marvin Hamlisch, and Sheldon Harnick, we hear the stories of admired people such as Leonard Nimoy, Sarah Jessica Parker, Al Franken, Kenneth Cole, Tony Kushner, Steven Spielberg, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Dates & Times
February 14 - March 8, 2015
Saturdays at 8:00 pm
Sundays at 1:00 pm & 7:00 pm
Audio described performance on
Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 1 pm
Individual tickets now on sale.
Dinner & Show Package: $40
Dinner at Luci Ancora + Stars of David Sunday evening performance of your choice.
For more information, call 651-647-4315.
On Being Jewish
Senator Sandy Pappas, President of the Minnesota Senate; the Honorable James M. Rosenbaum; Paul David Wellstone Jr.; and MJTC Artistic Director Barbara Brooks will offer personal reflections on what it means to be Jewish. Moderated by attorney Marshall Tanick.
Sunday, February 15, following the 1 p.m. performance
Collaborative Poetry Workshop
Poet, writer, and book artist Zoë Bird will lead a high-energy poetry session designed to include and affirm your individual voice, culminating in the creation and collective performance of a group poem based on the themes of identity, heritage, and community.
Sunday, February 22, following the 1 p.m. performance
Kimberly Nightingale, Executive Director of the St. Paul Almanac; and Peter Rachleff, Co-founder and Executive Director of the East Side Freedom Library, have made it their mission to gather and record the individual stories of St. Paul residents in order to create opportunities for understanding, learning, and community building. Please join us as they discuss their work.
Sunday, March 8, following the 1 p.m. performance
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.
Meet the Artists
Laura B. Adams is thrilled to be back with MJTC where she previously played Claire in My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding. She has appeared in numerous TV commercials and voice overs. Stage credits include Hamlet (Park Square Theatre), Mishagas! (Actors Theater of MN), Michele! A Musical Bachumanntary (Theatre Garage), and Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays (Frank Theatre). She was most recently seen in Three Penny Opera (Frank Theatre). She has been an actress with The Mystery Cafe for 25 years.
David Carey is in his first role at MJTC. Previous Twin Cities productions include Company and 1776 (Theatre in the Round), Private Lives (Park Square Theatre), How To Talk Minnesotan (Plymouth Playhouse), Sunday In The Park With George (Bloomington Civic Theatre), and Our Town (Theater Latté Da). Though "retired" from acting (twice), he is delighted to be performing again. When not acting, David can be found behind a camera, on his sailboat with his first mate Scottish Terrier, or, most likely, napping.
Bryan Porter is thrilled to be returning to MJTC, having appeared previously in My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding. Other recent credits include Buddy Holly (History Theatre), Alice in Wonderland (Flying Foot Forum), One Arm (2014 MN Fringe), The Three Musketeers (Walking Shadow/Guthrie), Dear White People (Lionsgate), Gershwin Songbook Series (Ordway), and Sherlock Holmes (Park Square Theatre). Catch Bryan next in Workhaus Collective’s The Reagan Years.
Daisy Macklin Skarning is thrilled to be back on MJTC's stage, previously appearing in The God of Isaac. Her credits include Yellow Tree Theatre, Gremlin Theatre, History Theatre, Old Log Theater, Theatre Latté Da, Starting Gate Productions, Illusion Theater, The Playwrights' Center PlayLabs, Jungle Theater, Children's Theatre Company, Brave New Workshop, and Hey City Theater. Film and television credits include Public Domain, ShopHQ Guest Host. She sends hugs and kisses to her supportive hubby and her 2 boys, Reier and Finn, for making her laugh and cry daily!
Michael Kissin (Director) is a freelance actor, musician, and educator. A company member at Mixed Blood Theatre for over 20 years, Michael also served as Artistic Director at Minnesota Festival Theater and Paul Bunyan Playhouse. At MJTC, he directed Talley’s Folly, Goats, and My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, and starred in Boychik. Other credits include Mixed Blood Theatre, Park Square, TRP, Theatre L’Homme Dieu, and Acadia Rep (Maine). Many onstage roles include the fiddler in A Christmas Carol for 13 seasons at the Guthrie Theater.
Kevin Dutcher (Music Director) has been a part of MJTC for over 18 years. He appeared onstage in Old Wicked Songs and Parade, directed The Last Five Years, and music directed My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, Chutzpah á go-go, and The Odd Potato. He combines his passions for theater, music and teaching by directing plays for the Spring Lake Park and Fridley school districts, and teaching music at Horace Mann in St Paul.
Shelli Place (Choreographer) has staged plays, musical reviews, and fashion shows in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. She has created live shows for museums and major cruise lines. She was Creative Director for Disney Business Productions developing shows for ADP, Wells Fargo, HP, Liz Claiborne, and directed the NFLA-Player of the Year Awards for several years during Super Bowl Week. She recently choreographed Life Could be A Dream (Old Log Theatre). She is thrilled to be working with MJTC on this quirky yet poignant production.
Michael Hoover (Scenic Designer) is making his MJTC debut with this production of Stars of David. Michael has designed sets locally for many theaters including the Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, Theater Latté Da, Gremlin, and Torch. He has most recently designed Death and the Maiden for Torch and Gremlin Theaters. Upcoming is Choir Boy at the Guthrie. In addition to his freelance career as a scenic designer, Michael is on staff as the Lead Scenic Artist at the Guthrie Theater.
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, The Chosen), Mixed Blood Theatre, Off-Leash Area, Torch Theater, and the Jon Hassler Theater.
Liz Josheff Busa (Costume Design) is pleased to be working with MJTC on 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.
C Andrew Mayer (Projections) has been privileged to work with many of the finest Twin Cities theater companies. Previously for MJTC, he designed New Jerusalem, The History of Invulnerability, Photograph 51, The Last Word…, and The Action Against Sol Schumann. 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 is proud to be working on her 20th production at MJTC, Stars of David. She stage managed the Ivey Award-winning productions Rose and Our Class. Other credits at MJTC include New Jerusalem, Handle with Care, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, Photograph 51, and others.
Anna Bakk (Violin) graduated with a violin performance degree from St. Olaf College in 2010. Currently, she enjoys teaching private violin and viola lessons to 30+ students, helps lead worship, plays and sings in an Irish band, and is an avid freelance musician. Thanks to her relentless adventurous streak, Anna recently spent 3 months in Norway, where she interned at a church and began developing her songwriting abilities. She is excited to share this unique musical with you!
Jessica Marie Cheadle (Cello) grew up in Dallas, TX where she studied with Mildred “ Mimi” McShane of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Jessica has received various music accomplishment awards such as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Friendlander Concerto Competition and 2005 Chamber Music International Competition winner. Jessica received her B.A. in Music Performance from Texas Tech University and M.A. in Arts and Cultural Management from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.
Kim Standley (Clarinet, Flute, and Saxophone) is a multi-instrumentalist who has been performing with Twin Cities theaters for the past 15 years. She has enjoyed playing with companies such as Minneapolis Musical Theatre, Ashland Productions, The Playwrights’ Center, Actors Theater of Minnesota, and Bloomington Civic Theatre. Kim has degrees in music performance and graphic design. When not performing, she runs a freelance graphic design business. Thanks to Thad, Cate, and LG for supporting my love of music.
Creators of Stars of David
Aaron Harnick (Conceiver) produced Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Broadway) and Debbie Does Dallas (Off Broadway). Aaron has also written for several television comedies, was a 2003 Sundance Writing Fellow for his screenplay of The First X-Rated Kiss, and is the writer and director of the feature film 30 Days.
Abigail Pogrebin (Original Book/Co-Book Writer/Lyricist) is a former 60 Minutes producer and the author of Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish and One and the Same. Her best-selling Amazon Kindle single, Showstopper, chronicled her teenage adventures in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. She writes for numerous publications, including Newsweek, New York Magazine, The Daily Beast, and The Forward.
Gordon Greenberg (Co-Book Writer/Lyricist) adapted and directed Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn and The Secret of My Success for Universal Stage Productions. He also directed the 60th anniversary U.K. production of Guys & Dolls, the stage adaptation of Tangled for Disney, and is developing Luck Be A Lady, a new musical based on the music of Frank Loesser. Other adapting and directing credits include Working (Drama Desk Award, 59 E 59, Old Globe, Broadway in Chicago, Asolo), Jacques Brel... (Zipper Theatre, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics award nominations), Johnny Baseball (Williamstown), Rags (Roundabout), The Single Girls Guide (Dallas Theatre Center, Arts Nova), Band Geeks! (Goodspeed, M.T.I.), Pirates! Or Gilbert & Sullivan Plunder’d (Huntington, Paper Mill, Goodspeed, MUNY), Yentl (Asolo), Guys & Dolls (U.S. National Tour), The Baker’s Wife (Goodspeed & Paper Mill), Disney’s Believe, Disney’s Fantasy Celebration, 33 Variations (Capital Rep.), and Floyd Collins (Signature). Gordon is the director of new musical development for the acclaimed New Group in New York.
Gaby Alter (Composer/Lyricist) is a Jonathan Larson grant recipient and has won awards from both the San Diego and San Francisco Theatre Critics’ Circles. His musical Nobody Loves You (Second Stage) was a New York Times critics’ pick and was named Wall Street Journal’s “Best Musical of 2012.” His other work includes Band Geeks! and Tinkerbell and the Pirate Fairy (Disney).
Susan Birkenhead (Lyricist) received a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award for her lyrics in Jelly’s Last Jam. She was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Triumph of Love. She was nominated for a Tony Award for Working, and won an Outer Critics Circle Award for What About Luv? She won an L.A. Drama Critics Award for Minsky’s, and is currently working on Betty Boop with David Foster.
Michael Feinstein (Composer/Subject) is the multiple platinum-selling, two-time Emmy Award and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook.” He is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.
Michael Friedman (Composer/Lyricist) recently composed Love’s Labour’s Lost (Public Theater/Delacorte), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Public Theater and Broadway), and Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns (Playwrights Horizons). His work with The Civilians includes Canard Canard Goose, Gone Missing, Nobody’s Lunch, This Beautiful City, In the Footprint, and The Great Immensity (Public Theater). His upcoming work includes Fortress of Solitude (Dallas Theater Center and Public Theater). He is the co-author of Paris Commune (BAM Next Wave
Festival) and is a MacDowell Fellow, Princeton Hodder Fellow, and Visiting Professor at The
Princeton Environmental Institute. He is also the recipient of an OBIE Award for sustained
Amanda Green (Composer/Lyricist) was the lyricist and composer for Hands On A Hardbody for which she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Score, Outer Critics Circle Award, and two Drama Desk nominations. She is the co-lyricist for Bring It On, for which she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical, and Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Lyrics. Other Broadway credits include High Fidelity (lyrics). Regional credits include Hallelujah Baby! (Arena Stage), and For The Love of Tiffany (NY Fringe Festival).
Marvin Hamlisch (Composer) has won virtually every major award: three Academy Awards, four Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, and three Golden Globe Awards. His Broadway credits include A Chorus Line (Pulitzer Prize), They’re Playing Our Song, The Goodbye Girl, and Sweet Smell of Success. His film credits include The Way We Were, Sophie’s Choice, Ordinary People, The Swimmer, The Sting, Three Men and a Baby, Ice Castles, Save the Tiger, The Informant, and Liberace - Behind The Candelabra, among others.
Sheldon Harnick (Composer/Lyricist) is best known for his collaborations with Jerry Bock, including: Fiorello!, She Loves Me, The Apple Tree, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Rothschilds. His other collaborations include Rex (Richard Rodgers), A Wonderful Life (Joe Raposo), A Christmas Carol (Michael Legrand), and The Phantom Tollbooth (Arnold Black).
Jill Kargman (Lyricist) is a New York Times best-selling author of six novels, including The Right Address and Momzillas, and an essay collection, Sometimes I Feel Like A Nut. A graduate of Yale University, she lives in New York City with her husband and three children.
Tom Kitt (Composer) received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as two Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestration for Next to Normal. Other composing and arranging credits include Green Day’s American Idiot on Broadway, High Fidelity, Bring it On: The Musical, The Winter’s Tale, and All’s Well That Ends Well (The Public’s NYSF), Everyday Rapture, and the feature film, Pitch Perfect.
Lisa Lambert (Lyricist) has composed lyrics for The Drowsy Chaperone (2006 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award), and the upcoming Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Film and television work includes Slings & Arrows, Skippy’s Rangers: The Show They Never Gave, Pippi Longstocking, Highway 61, and Pete’s Christmas.
Richard Maltby, Jr. (Lyricist) conceived and directed Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Director) and Fosse (Tony Award for Best Musical). He was the director and lyricist for Baby and the lyricist for Big and Take Flight. He was the co- lyricist for Miss Saigon and the director of Ring of Fire and The Story of My Life. He was the director and co-lyricist for Song & Dance and the director and lyricist for Starting Here, Starting Now, and Closer Than Ever. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2007 film Miss Potter.
Daniel Messé (Composer) is the founder and principal songwriter of the band Hem, whose seventh studio album, Departure and Farewell, was recently released on Waveland/ Nettwerk Records. He composed the score for The Public Theater’s 2009 production of Twelfth Night for Shakespeare in the Park. Dan is currently working with Craig Lucas and Nathan Tysen on a musical adaptation of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film, Amélie, for Harbor Entertainment
Chris Miller (Composer) has composed for Two River Theatre, Old Globe, Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard Theatre, Signature Theatre NYC, Lincoln Center Theatre, and Playwrights Horizons commissions. Other credits include Tuck Everlasting, Ravello, and American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation. His television credits include songs for Sesame Street and The Electric Company. He is a graduate of Elon University and New York University.
Itamar Moses (Lyricist) is the author of the full-length plays Outrage, Bach at Leipzig, Celebrity Row, The Four of Us, Yellowjackets, Back Back Back, and Completeness. He was the lyricist for the musicals Nobody Loves You and Fortress of Solitude, and the evening of short plays Love/ Stories (or But You Will Get Used to It).
Steven Sater (Lyricist) was the lyricist for Spring Awakening (Tony Award, Olivier Award, Grammy Award), Prometheus Bound (A.R.T), The Nightingale (La Jolla Playhouse), Some Lovers (Old Globe), and Alice By Heart (National Theatre of London: Connections). His plays include Carbondale Dreams, Arms on Fire (Steppenwolf New Play Prize, Chester Stage), and The Tempest (Lyric Hammersmith).
Duncan Sheik (Composer) is a Tony and Grammy Award winner. His theatrical productions include Spring Awakening (11 Tony Awards), American Psycho, The Nightingale, Alice by Heart, Whisper House, and Nero. His self-titled Atlantic Records debut spent 52 weeks on the Billboard 200 and earned him a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Male Vocal” and was Certified Gold by the RIAA.
David Shire (Composer) is an Academy Award winner, two-time Grammy Award winner, two-time Tony Award nominee and six-time Emmy Award nominee. He has composed prolifically for theater, including Baby, Big, Starting Here, Starting Now and Closer Than Ever. His film credits include Norma Rae, The Conversation, All the President’s Men, and The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3.
Jeanine Tersori (Composer) has composed extensively for Broadway, including Twelfth Night, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Caroline, or Change, and Shrek the Musical (all nominated for Tony Awards). Her Off- Broadway credits include Fun Home, Violet (Drama Critics Circle Award), Mother Courage, and A Free Man of Color. Her opera credits include A Blizzard on Marblehead Neck and The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me. Her film credits include Nights in Rodanthe, and Every Day, You’re Not You. She is the Artistic Director for Encores! Off-Center at City Center.
Nathan Tysen (Lyricist) composed the lyrics for the Off-Broadway productions, The Burnt Part Boys and Fugitive Songs (both with music by Chris Miller). His current projects include Tuck Everlasting, Amelié, and Stillwater. His television credits include songs for Sesame Street and The Electric Company.