December 6 - 22, 2015

a little gem of a show
— Talkin' Broadway

 By Jenna Zark                                    Based on the book by Eric A. Kimmel    Directed by Candace Barrett Birk

Individual Producers
Rhoda and Don Mains

Photo by sarah whiting. mjtc, 2014.

Photo by sarah whiting. mjtc, 2014.

David’s grandmother, Bubba Brayna, is busily preparing her kitchen and home for the first night of Hanukkah.  Come see what happens when the smells waft from Bubba’s kitchen and a knock at the door reveals a most unexpected—and very hungry!—visitor. 

MJTC’s heartwarming and interactive original commission returns from its sold out world premiere in 2014 to delight audiences once more this holiday season. 

Appropriate for children ages 3 and up.


Doorways Programs

Meet the Cast

Meet the cast of The Chanukah Guest. Sunday, December 6th following the 1:00 p.m. performance.

Hanukkah Party

Celebrate the holidays with MJTC! Join us to partake of potato latkes and holiday fun. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 651-647-4315. Sunday, December 13th following the 1:00 p.m. performance.

Meet The Playwright

Jenna Zark (Playwright) worked with Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company on the world premiere of The Chanukah Guest. Her play A Body of Water, published by Dramatists Play Service, was also produced at the theater after its debut at Circle Repertory in New York. Jenna's newest play for adults, If You Don't Weaken, follows the misadventures of a young woman trying to find a minyan so she can say Kaddish for her grandfather, and premiered at Freshwater Theatre in Minneapolis. Other recent Twin Cities productions include Alyeska at Blank Slate Theatre, A Great Miracle Happened Here at the Illusion Theater’s Fresh Ink Series, 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. 

Meet the Artists


Candace Barrett Birk (Director) is an actress, teaching-artist, and director.  She was the director of the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles. She has directed/performed with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater, and locally, with the Guthrie Theater, Live Action Set, Old Log Theatre, Hippocrates Café, Theatre in the Round and Open Eye Figure Theater. She is also a Lead Teaching Artist at the Guthrie where she teaches acting and leads their Theater and the Healing Arts program. Candace appeared onstage at MJTC in Our Class, and is delighted and honored to have the opportunity to direct The Chanukah Guest again.

Kirby Bennett (Bubba Brayna) has appeared with MJTC in Women’s MinyanThe Triangle Factory Fire ProjectThe Magic DreidelsHershel and the Hanukkah Goblins and Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky. Other theater credits include The Jungle Theater, Park Square Theatre, and History Theatre. Kirby is the artistic director of Girl Friday Productions for which she most recently produced and performed in their acclaimed productions of The Matchmaker, Camino Real and Street Scene (3 top ten lists and Ivey Award).

Alex Brightwell (Rabbi/ The Bear) is thrilled to be back at MJTC after appearing in New JerusalemPhotograph 51 and The History of Invulnerability. Other credits include Black Label Movement (The Illuminations), Artistry (Play It Again, Sam) Walking Shadow Theatre Company (Gross Indecency), Public Theater of Minnesota (As You Like it, Macbeth), Theatre in the Round (Morning's at Seven, Lysistrata) and The Strange Capers (The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night). He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. actor training program.

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.


Kirby Moore (Scenic Design) began his Twin Cities career on a design internship at Children's Theatre Company.  Former MJTC work includes King of the Kosher Grocers, Rose, Sight Unseen, and The Magic Dreidels. Design work for other theaters includes Park Square Theater, History Theatre, and Theatre in the Round. Feature film credits include Purple Rain, Runaway Train, Invaders from Mars, That was then, This is now, and many television commercials. Kirby is the resident designer and technical director for Metropolitan State University, and prop master for the History Theatre.


Barb Portinga (Costume Design) returns as costume designer for The Chanukah Guest. She makes her home and living designing costumes in the Twin Cities area. Her design work has been seen at over 40 theaters throughout the Midwest. Prior MTJC designs include The History of Invulnerability and Mizlansky/Zilinsky. She received her on-the-job training at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres where she is a cutter/draper and tailor for each main stage show. Barb is the proprietor of Portable Costumes.


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 Day Trippers, among others. 


Anita Kelling (Sound Design) graduated from the University of MN in 2010 with a BA in Theatre Arts. She is delighted to return to MJTC. Previous MJTC designs include Becoming 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) returns to The Chanukah Guest and also designed props for MJTC’s New Jerusalem. He has designed props for 15 shows at Theatre in the Round Players, most recently for The Beaux' Stratagem 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 Becoming Dr. Ruth, Jericho, Stars of David, New Jerusalem, Handle with Care, My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, Photograph 51, and others.