2011 Season Launch Party

ARTIST BIOS

EVE BRANDSTEIN (Director, Stories From The Fringe, Performer/Poet), one of Hollywood’s most prodigious workers, has made contributions to nearly every facet of the entertainment industry. She has been a major studio executive, a producer, a director, writer/creator, casting director, talent manager and author. Brandstein was casting executive for Norman Lear’s production companies. Some of her credits for casting over two decades include, “Diff’rent Strokes”, “One Day At A Time”, “Facts of Life”, and “Who’s The Boss”. She is producing and directing two documentaries – “The Girl In the Room”, stories from women in the comedy world and “Maybe You’ll Find Something There”, a Second Generation Holocaust Survivor’s journey back to her family’s life in the Carpathian Mountains. She also is producing “Poetry In Motion LA Monthly” at Beyond Baroque and the Beat Era poetry theater show, “Waiting For Jack”. Eve is a poet, journalist, artist, licensed psychotherapist and a proud board member of Jewish Women’s Theater.
LEILA CISZEWSKI (Stage Manager), a California native, moved to Los Angeles in 2009 after studying Theatre Arts at UC Santa Cruz. She has managed costumes and props for shows such as “Corpus Christi” and “Spike Heels,” and has worked as a stage manager for productions such as the musical “Rock N Ridicule” and several fashion shows. She also works as an actress and photographer.
CANTOR JUDY FOX (Singer) began her show business career working in nightclubs, theatres and cabarets. She was Rodney Dangerfield’s opening act at his New York City nightclub, as well as working with other comedians such as Dave Barry, Jack Carter and Jan Murray. She also brought her singing act to many of the popular hotels in New York’s Catskills before relocating to Los Angeles. After falling in love with cantorial liturgy, as well as with her husband, Cantor Herschel Fox, this diminutive singer with a big voice also became a cantor. She has been cantor for the Synagogue For The Performing Arts for more than 20 years.
SHIRA FOX (Singer) is the daughter of two Los Angeles Cantors. Shira has served as Cantor of Temple Rodeph Shalom and at Temple Beth El. Her theatrical credits include lead roles in “Lil Abner” and “Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. She is an alumnus of Brandeis University, and currently acts as Bnai Mitzvah Teacher and Program Coordinator at Kehillat Israel, Reconstructionist Congregation.
ABBY FREEMAN (Actor, Stories From The Fringe) received her BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is a Co-founder of AiRealistic, an aerial theatre company. She has choreographed and performed in New York and Los Angeles, as well as many international cities. She created original work for clients including The LA Philharmonic, Toyota, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, and Red Bull. Most recently, she performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 LA Philharmonic Gala. She has completed the first year of her MBA at the Anderson School of Management and plans on continuing to work in Arts Management.
RABBI MIRIYAM GLAZER, PH.D. (Blessing) is a professor of literature and chair of the Communication Arts & Advocacy department at American Jewish University. She has written many essays and book chapters on Jewish women’s literature. Her books include “Dancing on the Edge of the World: Jewish Stories of Faith, Inspiration, and Love”, and “Dreaming the Actual: Contemporary Fiction and Poetry by Israeli Women Writers”. She received a Hadassah-Brandeis Institute grant to write her memoir, “Judaism, Wars, and Womanhood: Becoming a Rabbi at 60”, and Aviv Press recently published her newest book, “Psalms of the Jewish Liturgy: A Guide to Their Beauty, Power and Meaning”.
SHELLY GOLDSTEIN (Performer, Dear Metropolitan Diary) “Kitten with a Quip”, Shelly Goldstein has written for every genre of TV, film and stage. Her one-woman shows have played to sell-out crowds throughout the US and UK. She has written sitcoms, dramas, lyrics, documentaries, animation, award shows, jokes and special material for such artists as Steve Martin, Sharon Stone, Deborah Messing, Liza Minnelli, Cybill Shepherd, Steven Spielberg, Normal Lear and Yoko Ono. For “You’ve Gotta Have Heart” she wrote a theatrical evening about Women and Heart disease that ran in LA and NYC and was presented in Washington DC for Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and the female members of Congress.
LYNNE HIMELSTEIN (Writer, Dear Metropolitan Diary) has dedicated herself to the Jewish community, assuming leadership positions on the national boards of both United Jewish Communities and America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In great demand as a speaker on Jewish philanthropy, she has traveled around both the United States and Israel, inspiring people to give to Jewish organizations. Lynne was born and raised in Los Angeles, but for the past 18 years, she and her husband have lived in Indianapolis where they raised their two children. She has recently returned to Los Angeles.
BARI HOCHWALD (Actor, Stories From The Fringe) received her BFA in acting from Syracuse University and completed graduate studies at the American Repertory Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. She appeared in regional theatres throughout the country. Ms. Hochwald has worked in the development of over 50 new plays as actress and director, and was nominated and awarded for her performances with The Drama Critics Circle Award, The Garland Awards, the Maddy Awards and the L.A. Weekly Awards. Ms. Hochwald has Guest Starred on many television productions such as: “C.S.I” and “Desperate Housewives”. In Italy she founded Florence International Theatre Company, which she ran for 4 seasons in Florence, Italy. She is currently President and Artistic Director of The Global Theatre Project. Her latest directing project, “The Men of Mah Jongg” just closed at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills.
RABBI LYNNE A. KERN (Writer, Excerpt from Stories From The Fringe) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, poet and writer who has been published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies worldwide. She teaches classes for women in synagogues and is currently working on a Jewish Memoir. As a pulpit rabbi, she created innovative women’s programming focused on excavating the women’s voice in Torah, and the creation of ritual and spiritual writing. Currently, she is working on a documentary about women rabbis, and an accompanying theater piece. She is also in the process of writing two books.
CINDY PALEY (Musician) brings the joys of Jewish music to teachers, students and families through her many performances and recordings as well as her work as Music Educator at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino where she has served since 1977.
MONICA PIPER (Writer/Performer, Shayna Meydele) is an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer, stand up comedian and motivational speaker. She was nominated for an American Comedy Award as one of the top five female comedians in the country and starred in her own Showtime Network special, “No, Monica, Just You”. She has written for “Roseanne”, “Mad About You” and “Veronica’s Closet” and was the head writer of the beloved children’s animated series “Rugrats”, as well as writing shows for Disney and Cartoon Network. She is presently bringing her laugh-out-loud advice to corporate America, showing audiences everywhere how to “Find the Funny” in their lives.
KATE SCHLESINGER (Associate Producer) is the founder and principal of “The Balancing Act”, a marketing, management and project management firm geared to small businesses and private individuals. Her most recent achievement was the creation of a digital and physical archive of over 20,000 photographs and documents from a private estate in Los Angeles. Kate has a MBA in Non-Profit Management and Marketing from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business. Before earning her master’s degree, Kate worked with major publications and agencies in New York City as a Photography Editor, Curator and Researcher.
RONDA SPINAK (Producing Artistic Director JWT/Writer, Excerpt from Stories From The Fringe) is a writer and producer. She conceived of, created, and produced At-Homes salon theatre in Los Angeles to sold-out audiences. She holds a MBA from UCLA, a Masters in Professional Writing from USC and two degrees from Stanford. She has written for the Emmy Award-winning children’s show, “Rugrats”, authored the critically acclaimed nonfiction book “ProBodX: Proper Body Exercise” (HarperCollins, publisher), and written many plays, including festival favorite winner “Oscar Wilde’s Wife”. She is currently producing the documentary film about LA women rabbis called, “On the Fringe,” and has recently penned the stage play “Stories From the Fringe,” stories culled from the transcripts of the film.
ANDREA WAGNER (Event Chair/Managing Director) has been instrumental in the creation of the Jewish Women’s Theatre. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Theatre Arts and has taught theatre on both the high school and college level. As a member of several community theatre groups throughout California, she directed plays, designed costumes and envisioned sets. She has been active in the Jewish community and currently sits on the advisory boards of several community colleges and extension programs. She has extensive non-profit experience having worked professionally in the Jewish community with Jewish Vocational Services and the Anti-Defamation League.
KATE ZENTALL (Actor, Stories From The Fringe) has appeared at the Public Theater and Carnegie Hall in NYC and at the Mark Taper in LA, among many other venues, and has also been seen in numerous TV series, MOWs, and films. She is now a writer and editor for the Internet, magazines, and books.

THE PROGRAM

Event Chair Andrea Wagner
Produced by Ronda Spinak

Group Art Show ~ Curated by Anne Hromadka
Featured Artists: Eve Brandstein, Katie Herzog, Marcie Kaufman, Maddy Le Mel, Eileen Levinson, Laraine Mestman, Doni Silver Simons

Musical Summons ~ Cindy Paley, Niggun & B’ruchot Habaot
Blessing ~ Rabbi Miriyam Glazer
Welcome ~ Andrea Wagner, Event Chair
Artistic Vision ~ Ronda Spinak, Producing Artistic Director
The Embrace of Community ~ JWT Board & Supporters

At-Homes Salon Theatre Selections

Rozhinkes mit Mandlen & Bei Mir Bistu Shein
Sung by Cantor Judy Fox & Shira Fox

But Rachel Was Beautiful, Noah’s Wife, & The Best Role in the Play
Poetry Written and Performed by Eve Brandstein

A Shayna Meydele
Written and Performed by Monica Piper

Dear Metropolitan Diary
Written by Lynne Himelstein
Performed by Shelly Goldstein
Directed by Eve Brandstein

An excerpt from the play, Stories From The Fringe
Written by Rabbi Lynne A. Kern & Ronda Spinak
Directed by Eve Brandstein
Performed by Abby Freeman, Bari Hochwald & Kate Zentall

From A Dream ~ Lynne Himelstein
Closing Song ~ Sung by Cindy Paley

GALLERY

Rabbi Miriyam Glazer opens the event with a blessing

Event Chair Andrea Wagner

Producing Artistic Director Ronda Spinak describes the 2011 Season

Cantors Judy and Shira Fox singing “Rozhinkes mit Mandlen”

Patrons celebrate in spite of rain

Eve Brandstein reading her poetry

Comedian Monica Piper performing “Shayna Meydele”

Actress Shelly Goldstein performing “Dear Metropolitan Diary”

Actress Bari Hochwald performing an excerpt from “Stories from the Fringe”

Actresses Abby Freeman and Kate Zentall during a reading of “Stories from the Fringe”

Audience at Season Launch

Advisory Board member Lynne Himelstein encourages Patrons to join JWT for the season

Cantor Shira Fox and Singer Cindy Paley close the event with a song

Tempting treats courtesy of JWT Co-founder Deena Novak & the JWT Advisory Board

Volunteer, Advisory Board Member Joan Moran, Patron Dr. Ruth Rubenstein

Actress Kate Zentall and Casting Director Ronnie Yeskel

JWT Volunteers make the day happen!

Beautiful Desserts

Audience touring the fine art exhibit

Patrons adding their mark to Doni Silver Simons’ interactive art piece

Advisory Board member Robin Mitchell signs up subscribers

Photos by Jan Burns