Listen to My Bad, My Good (Abridged) on the JWT Podcast

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My Bad, My Good

November 8 – 10, 2015

Honest, revealing and funny confessions of 20/30 somethings that will make you rethink your views about a new generation!

THE PROGRAM

Material adapted and produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Susan Morgenstern
Assistant Director
Lisa Cirincione
JWT Producer Jodie Mendelson
House Producers Elana Polan, Josh Hillinger and Sam Mandel

Welcome – Jodie Mendelsohn, JWT Producer and Board Member

I’ll Raise My Voice
Music and Lyrics by Rachel Eskenazi-Gold.  Vocals by Mirai Booth-Ong.

A Jewish Pastry
Written by Anna Forward.  Performed by Lisa Cirincione and Sean Topps.

Adventures in Judaism of an Honorary Jew
Written by Marina Chan.  Performed by Mirai Booth-Ong, Arva Rose and Sean Topps.

Motherly Love
Written by Lili Nanus.  Performed by Matisse Rose and Arva Rose.

Jewess Leaves her House
Written by Jess Ansik.  Performed by Pontea Banayan.

The Pretzel
Written by Allyson Himelstein.  Performed by Matisse Rose, Lisa Cirincione, and Sean Topps.

An Answer to My Prayers
Written by Henry W. Kimmel.  Performed by Sean Topps and Lisa Cirincione.

The Designated Mourner
Written by Lizzie Shackney.  Performed by Mirai Booth-Ong.

Crank House Just Got Crankier
Written by Grace Fetterman.  Performed by Matisse Rose, Arva Rose and Mirai Booth-Ong.

Truth In Pictures
Story by Rabbi Rochelle Tulik, adapted by Ronda Spinak and Rabbi Lynne Appel.  Performed by Lisa Cirincione.

Father in Me
Written by Paul V.  Performed by  Sean Topps.

Throw Out
Music and lyrics by Pontea Banayan.  Performed by Pontea Banayan.

ARTIST BIOS

JESS ANSIK (Writer) draws her inspiration from friends, family, and eavesdropping on conversations at coffee shops. She is currently finishing her thesis at LMU’s School of Film and Television, where she was recently honored with the Best Screenwriter’s Award. When she’s not writing, Jess spends most of her time with her dog, Dexter, and being ignored by her cat, Arya. She would like to thank her mom and sister for leading by extraordinary example and encouraging her to always live passionately and creatively.
PONTEA BANAYAN (Actor/Singer-Songwriter) LA native singer-songwriter Pontea, an up-and-coming solo performance artist, colors her self-penned works with elements of R&B and a soulfully intense, catchy pop delivery. No stranger to the live performance scene in Southern California, her vibrantly rich vocals and keys-driven acoustic-electro hybrid sound speak to a new generation of singer-songwriters. Pontea’s compelling live shows might even feature some spontaneous beat boxing, which she has been known to engage her audiences in from time to time. Find more information and links to her music at www.iampontea.com.
MIRAI BOOTH-ONG (Actor) has appeared in numerous television and film projects, including ABC’s Scandal and CBS’s Extant, and MTV’s Teen Wolf.  She had supporting roles in the award-winning indie films Hard Sun and No One Will Know. In addition, Mirai has appeared in theatrical productions of Nunsense (as Sister Amnesia) and The Sound of Music (as Maria) and is the resident choreographer for Young Stars Theatre (musicandtheatre.com), a children’s theatre company in Los Angeles. Mirai was born in Tokyo to a Malaysian mother and English father, moved to Singapore at age 10, and graduated from the United World College in South East Asia in Singapore, where she won awards for dramatist of the year and vocalist of the year. She attended Elon University in North Carolina, where she received a BFA, graduating cum laude. For more information, visit miraiboothong.com.
MARINA CHAN (Writer), an undergraduate at Columbia University, is majoring in drama and theatre arts with a prospective concentration in playwriting. In the past she’s acted in Packer Collegiate Institute’s productions of The WizOnce Upon a MattressGrease, and Guys and Dolls.  She’s also performed as a dancer in Il Re Pastore in the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center and in the Family Matters Series at Dance Theater Workshop. Past credits at Columbia include acting in Unweaving the Core: Homer, Bearden & Us, and production and tech work for Barnard College’s Madame Bovary and A Dream Play. Marina has also studied music (piano, violin, and voice) throughout her school career and has continued her vocal studies in college, having recently been awarded Columbia’s Dolan Prize for voice.

LISA CIRINCIONE (actor) recently starred alongside W. Earl Brown in the indie drama Porcupine out this fall.  She also makes her producing debut with this film.  Lisa received  LA WEEKLY and LA Drama Critic’s Circle nominations for the role of Catherine in Pacific Resident Theatre’s production of A View from the Bridge.  Lisa is a proud company member of Pacific Resident Theatre and The Road Theatre Company and is so honored to be a new Artist in Residence with Jewish Women’s Theatre!  She can be seen on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in national commercials, including a  spot for Sky Italia with Sandra Oh, and in numerous Indie Films.  Lisa received her B.F.A. in acting from USC and would like to thank her vivacious Sicilian-Jewish family for their constant love and support as well as Ronda and the whole JWT team.

PATRICK CONDE (Associate Producer) the most recent JWT employee, came to LA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned his BA in History and Communication Arts. Driven by his passion for filmmaking and will to work in the entertainment industry, he found solace in contributing to the success of The Braid, JWT’s newly created theater. Using his talents to cement JWT’s success on social media and spearheading the paperless initiative, Patrick’s radical ideas and willingness to innovate have taken JWT in a whole new direction.

RACHEL ESKANAZI-GOLD (Songwriter) is a New York–based actor and composer. She recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in musical theater, where she wrote, produced, and music-directed the full-length musical Legends Ourselves and the song cycle Songs from Faraway Places. “I’ll Raise My Voice” is from that song cycle, which is based on Rachel’s personal experiences when she went abroad. Her music has been performed as part of NAMF at cabarets, and she also has a single on iTunes. Rachel continues to write and perform her own material. Check out her website www.RachelEG.com for more info and more music.

GRACE FETTERMAN (Writer) was born in Los Angeles in 1994. She is a senior at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she majors in English literature. In her writing, Grace often explores the uncanny displacing the familiar. This is the first time Grace’s work has been adapted for the stage.
ANNA FORWARD (Writer) a native Californian, is a kindergarten teacher by day and an artist, wedding photographer, and writer the rest of the time. Anna has written and performed work for the Marsh Theater in San Francisco. She has also been lucky enough to have written “A Jewish Pastry” a few seasons ago for JWT’s show God Plans and Woman Laughs. After such a fantastic experience, Anna was compelled to write “A Free Jew in the Reich” for the JWT show Uncuffed. She would like to thank her family and friends for their incredible support, and especially her mama for being such an inspiration to her.
ALLYSON HIMELSTEIN (Writer) Born in Los Angeles and raised in Indianapolis, Allyson is currently living in Hanover, New Hampshire where she works in career services at Dartmouth College. While she has loved writing her entire life, this is the first time her work has been adapted for the stage. She would like to thank her mother for encouraging her to submit a piece for My Bad, My Good. To that end, Allyson hopes that this will not be the last time her work about relationships will appear somewhere beyond her computer
HENRY W. KIMMEL (Writer) is a founding member and board president of Working Title Playwrights, an Atlanta-based theatre company dedicated to the development of playwrights and new plays. He also serves on the boards for the Association for Jewish Theatre and the Hebrew Benevolent Temple (Atlanta). He is currently working on a trilogy about the Jewish experience in America, 1975-2015, and a modern depiction of the binding story involving an underachieving child and an elderly parent. He is a graduate of both Brown University and the Emory School of Law.
BARBARA KOLETSKY (Stage Manager/Assistant Producer) has most recently worked on the production side of Jewish Women’s Theatre. Prior to that, for three seasons she was responsible for catering.  Now Barbara is thrilled to be moving into stage management for JWT at The Braid.  Barbara is also the owner of RSVP Party Planning, where as an experienced party planner she has produced many events, specializing in charitable organizations but with many corporate and private clients as well. Barbara was born in New York and moved to California for a career in marketing and promotions for Polygram Records and Elektra Atlantic Corp. She regularly volunteers at the Grossman Burn Center with her service dog, Rodney.
JAMES LEVINSON (Technical Director) graduated from Santa Monica High School in 2010. At Allegheny College he acted in two productions, The Cherry Orchard, where he played Yepikhodov, and Servant of Two Masters, where he played Florindo. During his primary education, he appeared in numerous talent shows.
SUSAN MORGENSTERN  (Artist-in-Residence/Director) began directing in college by staging musical theatre concert readings while co-teaching American Musical Comedy with Tom Lehrer at UC Santa Cruz.  She went on to teach and direct at the renowned Stage Door Manor, a performing arts camp in upstate New York.  In Los Angeles, for Theatre West, Susan has directed selections from David Ives’ All in the Timing, the musicals Just Too Cool, book by Mary Garripoli, music by Phil Orem, and Saturday Night at Grossinger’s, book by Stephen Cole, music by Claibe Richardson, as well as Barbara Nell Beery’s play, The Socialization of Ruthie Shapiro.  At the Falcon Theatre she directed Leap, by Arnold Margolin, Surviving Sex, by David Landsberg, and the hit comedy, The Psychic, by Sam Bobrick. Susan directed Happy Days, a New Musical, book by Garry Marshall, music/lyrics by Paul Williams, at Cabrillo Music Theatre.  For the Skylight Theatre, she directed an INKubator series fully staged presentation of Ghost-s, a Musical About a Musical, book by Kincaid Jones, music by Brian Woodbury, as well as an extended-run production of Meryl Cohn’s comedy Reasons to Live.  In 2014, Susan began working as a consultant show director at Disneyland Parks and Resorts, Anaheim.  She has directed several JWT salon shows, including The Moment You Knew; Sex, Lies, and Virtual Relationships; Untold Stories of Biblical Proportions; and Uncuffed.
LILI NANUS (Writer) is a third-year student at Mount Saint Mary’s University, majoring in psychology. Her piece, “Motherly Love,” is based on one of many conversations she has had through the years with her eccentric Jewish mother, Susan, a writer and a rabbi. Born in Russia and adopted when 11 months old, she has a complex relationship with her Jewish and Russian backgrounds. This is her first attempt at writing and she is honored to have her piece included in this show. Lili is currently no longer on OK Cupid but intends to return sometime in the future.
ARVA ROSE  (Actor) has been a member of Jewish Women’s Theater since before the beginning! She is proud to be an artist-in-residence who believes deeply in JWT’s mission. Long ago and far away  a young actress named Arva Holt performed at the American Stage Festival (Miracle Worker: Annie Sullivan, Streetcar: Stella, The Apple Tree: Passionaella, Front Page:  Molly Malloy); The Theater Company of Boston (Night Dispatcher:  Pamela); American Jewish Theater (Awake and Sing: Bessie Berger); The Hartman Theater (Streetcar: Eunice); Hudson Guild Theater (House of Blue Leaves: Bunny); Geva Theatre (Front Page: Molly Malloy); The Barrow Theater (Detective Story: Shoplifter). TV: As The World Turns, Inmates: A Love Story. Co-star: Nightcourt, Cheers, LA Law, Hill Street Blues, Scarecrow and Mrs. KingHelltown. Locally, Arva was most recently seen at the Electric Lodge (Crossing Delancey: Bobbie) and the Edgemar Theater (Surviving Mama: Mama).
MATISSE ROSE (Actor) is newly graduated from Boston University with a BFA in theater arts. She created and starred in her play, An Introduction to Heat Transfer. Theater: Alice (the Duchess), directed/written by Stevan Sater and Duncan Sheik; The Penelopiad (Telemachus), the Wimberly Theater, Chicago (Roxie Hart); Hairspray (Amber). TV/Film: Tyrant (Alison); Beware the Night (Jerry Bruckheimer Films). Matisse studies with the Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade.
LIZZIE SHACKNEY (Writer) A Pittsburgh native, Lizzie is a junior at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. She studies psychology, political science, and writing, and she is especially interested in discussing power structures, privilege, discrimination, and diversity. Someday she will have a career, and it will most likely involve supporting children in one way or another. She does not like to be asked what she wants to be when she grows up and prefers to be asked what she wants to do next. She is obsessed with New York Times crossword puzzles (typically only Monday through Wednesday), running, coffee, storytelling, and ice cream.

RONDA SPINAK (Producer) created and produces JWT’s At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its eighth season. She has curated more than 24 original Jewish-themed salon shows for JWT, as well as adapted many of the pieces performed. She graduated from Stanford University, and holds degrees from UCLA (MBA) and USC (Masters in professional writing). Ronda’s plays include Stories from the Fringe and festival-winner Oscar Wilde’s Wife, a favorite at the Ashland New Play Festival and Dayton’s FutureFest. She has written for the Emmy Award-winning children’s show Rugrats and authored the critically acclaimed nonfiction book ProBodX: Proper Body Exercise (HarperCollins, publisher). Ronda is on the board of the Association for Jewish Theatres and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. She feels blessed to be working with the many talented and inspiring women who give so generously to Jewish Women’s Theatre.

SEAN TOPPS (Actor) was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. He was classically trained at the University of Windsor Fine Arts in Acting program. Most recently Sean created and starred in a solo show for the Hollywood Fringe Festival called What Be G*d Is Blessing. He is excited to return to the Jewish Women’s Theatre after last year’s Hold Me, Heal Me salon show.
RABBI ROCHELLE TULIK (Writer) Ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Rabbi Rochelle spent several years helping individuals, families, and couples create powerful, positive, memorable, and meaningful Jewish experiences. After earning her masters in Jewish Education from HUC, she joined the professional staff of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles, serving as a principal of the religious school. As a rabbi and educator, Rabbi Rochelle sees her role as making Judaism accessible and exciting for students and families. She works to bring a sense of pride, confidence, and connectedness to Jews of all ages and enjoys helping people learn to make Judaism integral to their lives. She believes that there are many paths to Judaism and that it is important for everyone to find the path that best suits him or her. Rabbi Rochelle is passionate about helping to ensure the Jewish future through her work with children, teens, and young adults.
PAUL VERSTEN (Writer) is a musician, artist, and actor who lives in Los Angeles. Over the past 20-plus years he has toured the country extensively and recorded numerous songs. He has found strength in his struggles with addiction, is in recovery, and is on his way to achieving his dreams, being creative every day and using music to help people. He has recently begun interning in the creative arts department at Beit T’shuvah.
SUSIE YURÉ (Associate Producer) has volunteered for 30 years in non-profit organizations, in which she has held leadership roles in fundraising, event planning, facilities coordinating, programming, membership, marketing, and administration. Susie has produced musical theatre productions, classical concerts, and cabaret performances and has been intensely involved in the world of theatre for over 20 years. She holds a BA and MA in elementary education from USC, along with her California lifetime teaching credential. Her favorite role is as mom to her two talented (grown) children, who are both professional (and working) musicians.
ROSE ZIFF (Associate Producer) came out of retirement to work for JWT after working at UCLA Medical Center for 33 years, where she functioned as “den mother” to more than 1000 interns, residents, and clinical fellows at UCLA, the VA, and Olive View-UCLA Medical Centers, providing resources and support. Rose is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Lev Eisha, a Jewish women’s non-profit religious organization and spiritual community. Her hobbies include gardening, dog training and hosting a monthly book club.

GALLERY

Sean Topps and Lisa Cirincione are on a birthright trip in Anna Forward’s “A Jewish Pastry”

,Arva Rose, Mirai Booth-Ong &Sean Topps in Marina Chan’s “Adventures in Judaism of an Honorary Jew”

Pontea Banayan is sitting alone at a bar with her drink in Jess Ansik’s “Jewess Leaves her House”

Lisa Cirincione is a rabbi with a tattoo in Rabbi Rochelle Tulik’s “Truth in Pictures”

Sean Topps looks for his father in Paul Versten’s “Father in Me”

Matisse Rose deals with her mother’s interest in her sex life in Lili Nanus’s “Motherly Love”

Arva Rose is a pot-eating grandma in Grace Fetterman’s “Crank House Just Got Crankier”

Sean Topps, Arva Rose, Murai Booth-Ong

Arva Rose, Pontea Banayan Matisse Rose, & Lisa Cirincione

Pontea Banayan performs her own “Throw Out”

Photos by Jan Burns