The Magic Dreidels
December 6 - 21, 2016
by Jenna Zark
Based on the book by Eric A. Kimmel
Directed by Michael Kissin
Jakob, a curious young boy with a knack for misplacing things, loses his Hanukkah dreidel down a well. A goblin living in the well replaces his dreidel with magical ones, setting off a series of adventures for Jakob with his father and his lonely neighbor, Fruma Sarah. A charming and festive holiday tale for the whole family, The Magic Dreidels is an opportunity to learn about the cultural traditions of Hanukkah, and the universal themes of sharing, compassion, and friendship.
Individual tickets will go on sale November 9.
For group sales, call the box office at 651-647-4315.
Meet the Cast
Jacy Johnson Becker (Jakob) most recently appeared as Mowgli in The Jungle Book at Old Log Theater. Other performing credits include Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy at the State Theater, and Circus Juventas. He has also appeared in the film As Minnesota. Jacy is 9 years old and homeschools at The Natural Path to Learning in St. Paul in the 4th grade. He enjoys acrobatics and likes to climb, read and travel to see other cultures. “A special thank you to mama and papa for their love and support.”
Alex Brightwell (Mr. Fixer) is thrilled to be back at MJTC after appearing in The Chanukah Guest, New Jerusalem, Photograph 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.
Gabriel Murphy (Yankel) returns to MJTC after appearing 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).
Julie Ann Nevill (Fruma Sarah) returns to the role of Fruma Sarah, having previously performed in 2011's The Magic Dreidels. She has also appeared in Hershel and the Hannukah Goblins and Women's Minyan at MJTC. In the Twin Cities, Julie Ann has performed at Park Square Theatre, The Jungle Theater, Theatre
Pro Rata, Workhouse Theatre, Theatre Unbound, Gremlin Theatre, and several others. She has spent several summer seasons at Paul Bunyan Playhouse in Bemidji, MN and Acadia Repertory Theatre in Maine. Julie Ann is a local commercial and film talent.
Meet the Playwright
Jenna Zark (Playwright) worked with Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company on the world premiere of The Magic Dreidels. 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 Production Team
Michael Kissin (Director) 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 starredin The Twenty-Seventh Man and 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.
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) has previously designed Aunt Raini, DAI (enough), Bad Jews, and several other shows 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.
Paul Epton (Lighting Design) discovered theater lighting at Carleton College and was an award-winning designer in Detroit. Now living in the Twin Cities, he designs regularly for MJTC (since 1995, including Stars of David, My Name is Asher Lev, The Triangle Factory Fire Project, Old Wicked Songs), Mixed Blood Theatre (In the Time of the Butterflies, Ruined), and Off-Leash Area (Maggie’s Brain, Psst!), among others. This fall, he’ll be touring Corazón Eterno (Always in my Heart) with Mixed Blood.
Anita Kelling (Sound Design) graduated from the University of MN in 2010 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. Previous MJTC designs include Aunt Raini, DAI (enough), The Chanukah Guest, and Becoming Dr. Ruth, among others. 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 for Aunt Raini. 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 Aunt Raini and 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.