The Twenty-Seventh Man
October 17 - November 8
By Nathan Englander Directed by Kurt Schweickhardt
John Feldman and Shelli Chase
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 As judgment looms, a 27th prisoner is tossed inside: a young man, unpublished and unknown. First baffled by his arrest, the cellmates soon realize the role that politics has played in their imprisonment, and what may lie ahead. Based on true events of the Night of the Murdered Poets, this new drama is a riveting exploration of identity, human rights, and liberty.
Peter Weisensel, retired Macalester College professor and a specialist in modern Russia, will talk about Stalin’s tyrannical rule over Jews as well as other groups of people. Sunday, October 18th following the 1 p.m. performance
Meet the Cast and Director
Director Kurt Schweickhardt and cast members will talk with you about The Twenty-Seventh Man. Wednesday, October 21st following the 7:30 p.m. performance
Join us for a discussion about the Yiddish language and culture in America today with Neal Gosman, past director of Yerushe-MN, and Ralph Wittcoff, both members of Minneapolis Yiddish Vinkl. Sunday, October 25th following the 1 p.m. performance
Meet the Playwright
Nathan Englander was selected as one of “20 Writers for the 21st Century” by The New Yorker, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN/Malamud Award, and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He is the author of The Ministry of Special Cases and the story collections For the Relief of Unbearable Urges and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank. He was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, and won the prestigious Frank O’ Connor International Short Story Award in 2012. His fiction and essays have been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker. Englander translated the text for the New American Haggadah (ed.: Jonathan Safran Foer) from Hebrew to English, and is translating some short stories by the renowned Israeli writer, Etgar Keret. The theatrical adaptation of his short story The Twenty-Seventh Man, premiered at The Public Theater in New York in November, 2012. The Lincoln Center Theater has commission the title story of What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank to be produced as a play.
Meet the Artists
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. He’s excited to be making his debut with Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, and exclaims "Director Kurt Schweickhardt and Producing Artistic Director Barbara Brooks: Dynamite!" Lastly, he thanks Otto, Sadie, and Josie for the blessing of being an uncle.
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.
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).
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.
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 Jerusalem, The Last Five Years, The 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 Jerusalem, The 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.
Justin Hooper (Technical Director) is a freelance designer, carpenter, and painter. His experience in the art of creation includes theatrical scenery, restaurants and retail spaces, residential homes, and most recently, a haunted house. Justin is the production manager and shop supervisor for Concordia University, St Paul.
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.