Executive Program Producer Abbe Meryl Feder
Produced by Amirose Eisenbach and Sigi Gradwohl
Adapted and curated by Vanessa Espino, Gina Loring, Christian Prentice, Vicki Shairer and Daphna Shull
Directed by Rachel Bernery Needleman, Lisa Cirincione, and Abigail Marks
Social Media & Marketing by Andrew Fromer and Chelsea London Lloyd
Assistant Director/Tech Director Michelle Altman
Stage Manager Barbara Koletsky
Associate Producers Susie Yuré and Rose Ziff
Artistic Director Ronda Spinak
Producing Director Susan Morgenstern
Managing Director Sharon Landau
The Truth about Millennials
Written by the NEXT Arts Council. Performed by the Ensemble.
Music and lyrics by Jesse Macht. Performed by Jesse Macht.
Written by Rachelle Davidowitz. Performed by Kyla Schoer and Zoe Lillian.
First They Ignore You
Written by Adam Rotstein. Performed by Michael Hanson.
My Sheets and My Body
Written by Kaitlin Mamie. Performed by Donnabella Mortel and Jesse Macht.
How We Break It
Music and lyrics by Jesse Macht and Audra Mae. Performed by Jesse Macht and Zoe Lillian.
My Friends Tied but I Did Knot
Written by Sigi Gradwohl. Performed by Zoe Lillian.
A Marine Comes Home
Adapted from an interview with Arturo Alonso by Vicki Schairer and Lisa Cirincione. Performed by Michael Hanson and Donnabella Mortel.
Me, Myself and I
Music and lyrics by Jesse Macht. Performed by Jesse Macht.
Written by Daphna Shull. Performed by Donnabella Mortel, Zoe Lillian, Jesse Macht, and Kyla Schoer.
The Second Best
Written by Julie Mayerson Brown. Performed by Zoe Lillian, Kyla Schoer, and Donnabella Mortel.
Music and lyrics by Dan Omelio, Jesse Macht and Emily Kitter. Performed by Jesse Macht.
Intervention #2, How May I Connect You
Written by Max Mondi. Performed by Jesse Macht.
Written by Molly Murray. Performed by Michael Hanson.
Finding My Truth
Written by Vanessa Espino. Performed by Kyla Schoer.
Written by Vicki Schairer and Abby Marks. Performed by the Ensemble.
ART ALONSO (Writer) was born in Santa Barbara, California, and grew up in Carpinteria. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2001 and served from 2002 to 2008 in the Marine Corps Reserves as a CH-53E avionics technician. He was deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2004. His unit, HMH-769, was based out of Edwards Air Force Base in the Mohave desert. He currently resides in San Diego, where he works as an electronics technician for General Atomics. In his free time he enjoys gardening, fixing vintage hi-fi stereos, cooking, playing guitar, and practicing Jiu Jitsu.
MICHELLE ALTMAN (Assistant Director) grew up in the South Bay, then moved to the Midwest, and graduated from Drake University with a BFA in theatre/acting with a concentration in directing. She then moved to Chicago to pursue her career in theatre before coming back to LA to work with JWT. Directing credits include The Chocolate Affair, Sure Thing, A Smell of Burnt Feathers, Immature (co-writer), When Angels Wept, Everybody Needs a Good Night Out, The Titus Andronicus Project(co-writer/producer), Fishbowl: A Dramatic Improv. JWT credits include Fried Chicken & Latkes (Tech Director/Stage Manager), Temptation, Matzo Ball Diaries, and Exile: Kisses on Both Cheeks (Assistant Director). Thank you to all who support the arts community!
RACHEL BERNEY NEEDLEMAN (NEXT Director) is a director, performer, and producer of classical and new works. Rachel has directed Gigi Bermingham in Cabaret Noel, as well as workshops and readings of new plays for the Blank and Skylight theatres and Theatricum Botanicum. She is also an affiliate member of Antaeus Theatre Company, where she directed Tennessee Williams’ one-acts in Ten by Tennessee for ClassicsFest and worked as assistant director and dramaturge (Cloud 9, Henry IV, Wedding Band, The Liar, and others). She has appeared onstage at Antaeus, Sierra Madre Playhouse, Independent Opera Co., and Los Angeles Metropolitan Opera and also works as a voice actor. Rachel trained at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Washington University in St. Louis, where she was founding artistic director of a theatre troupe focusing on new plays and imaginative reinterpretations of the classics.
LISA CIRINCIONE (Actor) was recently cast in Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming project Distant Vision. She currently stars in and produced the short film Porcupine, which made its World Premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival and has now played at nine film festivals around the globe, including the Napa Valley Film Festival and The San Antonio Film Festival. Lisa recently shot an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! with NBA Legend, Mr. Ron Artest, and can be seen in national commercials including a spot for Sky Italia with Sandra Oh, and in the comedy web-series, Mrs. Gary, for which she won Best Supporting Actress at The Los Angeles Web Festival. Lisa received LA WEEKLY and LA Drama Critic’s Circle nominations for the role of Catherine in Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge at Pacific Resident Theatre. Lisa is extremely proud to be an Artist in Residence with JWT and deeply thanks Ronda and the rest of the team for this continued opportunity to tell such powerful stories.
RACHELLE DAVIDOWITZ (Writer) grew up in the South Bay and studied neuroscience at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. Recently graduated from the USC School of Dentistry with a DDS degree, she is now pursuing a career in pediatric dentistry but has always enjoyed creative writing. From a young age Rachelle collected stories to tell. She is the youngest of six children, and as the saying goes, “Little pitchers have big ears.” Her mother, a psychiatrist and published author, encouraged her to keep writing throughout dental school to “stay sane,” as she herself did throughout her own medical school years. Rachelle is very grateful to Jewish Women’s Theater for including her piece in their show and hopes to continue telling stories.
AMIROSE EISENBACH (NEXT Arts Council Fellow, Producer) is a writer and producer with over a decade of entertainment experience, having worked at Warner Bros., Fox Interactive Media, and most recently AMC Theatres editorial. While at AMC, she launched their independent film division, including a weekly Women in Film segment.
VANESSA ESPINO (Writer) graduated from Cal State Fullerton University with an emphasis in playwriting and was a KCACTF regional finalist for her original play Odilia, which was remounted for the Hollywood Fringe Festival and won the Hollywood Fringe Scholarship and Inkwell Playwrights Promise award. She has written several other well-received plays.
ABBE MERYL FEDER (Producer) hails from the fabulous city of New York. When not pursuing her craft, Abbe is the proud Producer of NEXT @ The Braid, a brand-new program of Jewish Women’s Theater, which invites the next generation of artists to share their voice. She also shares her love of style as a stylist for Stella & Dot. Her film and tv credits include Sex Ed (film), Brahmin Bulls (film), The Internet Date (film), Pushing Daisies (tv), CSI:NY (tv). Twitter and Instagram: @iAMFeder.
ANDREW FROMER, (Social Media, New Media Distribution) a Los Angeles native, received a BFA in theater at UC Santa Barbara then lived in Israel and dived into filmmaking. He has acted in AMP Creative’s Highway To and Mockingbird Pictures’ The Sweet Life. Andrew also edits, directs, and hosts his own podcast on the entertainment industry, SideKickBack Radio.
SIGI GRADWOHL (Writer) is a Swiss-Israeli-American actress, comedian, writer, and content creator and a proud member of this year’s Young Arts Council of JWT’s Next at The Braid. Sigi is a member of Theatre of NOTE. Favorite theater credits include her critically acclaimed role of Daphna in Bad Jews, The Diary of Anne Frank (Best Leading Actress) and Askance (Scenie Award). TV: Girl Meets World and Jessie (Disney), The Middle (ABC), Chelsea Handler’s After Lately. FILM: James Franco’s Killing Animals, Spare Parts (winner of OutWest Film Festival). Sigi co-created the award-winning digital series Bad Nannies, SigNHil, and The Dating Chronicles and stars in the viral YouTube hit Girls Are Assholes. She is grateful for the unwavering support of her family, friends, and community of artists here in Los Angeles. www.sigigradwohl.com
MICHAEL HANSON (Actor) is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television and has appeared in shows at Pacific Resident Theatre (The Lion in Winter, Our Town, Suburbia, and Fata Morgana); at Rogue Machine (Nice Things); at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center (The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later); at the now defunct Powerhouse Theatre (The War Cycle: The Gospel According to First Squad and Group: The Musical ); and at Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA (The Fisherman’s Wife and Apocrypha). Film and television credits include Supergirl, Marvel’s Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Switched at Birth, Vampires Suck, and Penumbra . He’s also a math tutor and co-founder of the sketch group Burning Sensation. www.mrmichaelhanson.com
ALLYSON HIMELSTEIN, JWT Board Liaison, is the Career Services Advisor at USC’s Price School. Prior to returning to her home in Los Angeles, she worked in recruitment, higher education and hospitality in New York and New Hampshire. Allyson has her bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies from Emory University and her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University. Last year, she wrote her first piece for Jewish Women’s Theatre and was hooked ever since.
BARBARA KOLETSKY (Assistant Producer/Stage Manager) worked as a production associate and costumer for the last six months on the production of Not That Jewish in New York at New World Stages. For 16 months prior to that she participated in the Los Angeles production of Not That Jewish as an assistant producer/stage manager. She has been with Jewish Women’s Theatre for eight years, working in many capacities on the At-Homes Salon series as assistant producer, stage manager, and culinary arts maven. Barbara also served as president and principal designer for the special events company R.S.V.P. Barbara started her career in marketing and promotions at Polygram Records.
SHARON LANDAU (JWT Managing Director) first fell in love with JWT as an audience member. She joined the Board and still couldn’t get enough. Serving now as Managing Director, she brings to JWT over 20 years of non-profit leadership experience helping programs and organizations to scale and thrive at the local, state and national levels. She is also a published researcher and holds a masters in Public Health from UCLA and degrees in women’s studies and psychology from UC Santa Cruz. She is an alumnae of both the California Women’s Policy Institute and Center for Collaborative Planning’s Women’s Health Leadership Institute.
ZOË LILLIAN (Actor), as a Jewish female-identifying actor, is obviously thrilled to make her début with Jewish Women’s Theatre. In spite of how she sounds, she grew up in France. She’s grateful for the opportunity to share such poignant stories from millennials and wants to remind everyone (especially those young ‘uns) to register to vote. (turbovote.org will even text you election reminders after you register through them!) www.zoe-lillian.com, IG: @rainBSprinkles
CHELSEA LONDON LLOYD (NEXT Arts Council Fellow, Social Media & Marketing), a USC graduate, has been pursuing a comedic acting career. Recent credits include a pilot for Adult Swim, Lifetime film, and a national billboard campaign for WAG. She is a graduate of the TENT Jewish Comedy program and Sinai Scholars. In addition, her sassy, self-deprecating humor has made her a standout in viral videos on BuzzFeed and Funny or Die.
GINA LORING, (NEXT Arts Council Fellow, Literary Manager) a poet/singer/songwriter has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry, BET’s Lyric Cafe, and TVOne’s Verses and Flow. As guest artist of the American Embassy, she has performed in Kuwait, Russia, West Africa, and Tunisia, among others. A college professor by day, she holds a BA from Spelman College and an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles.
JESSE MACHT (Actor) is a singer/songwriter and actor born and raised in Los Angeles. He attended Temple Emanuel, then Beverly Hills High School and graduated with an acting degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Macht has performed in a myriad of independent films and local theater in recent years while focusing on his songwriting career. His music has been featured in tens of shows including The Voice and Keeping Up with The Kardashians, and he continues to perform around the world as a singer/songwriter. His latest record, Suitcase Heart, helped land him as the #3 Los Angeles Breakout Artist by AXS in 2014. This fall, he will be the face of Airstream’s “Endless Caravan” series where he’ll tour the country in a vintage trailer in support of his newest record release on September 24th.
KAITLIN MAMIE (Writer) is a writer, performer, creator, and chocolate aficionado originally from a very exciting small town in Canada best known for its wall murals. She’s appeared on Season 10 of The Trailer Park Boys and is a writer and creator for The Trailer Park Boys’ online channel “Swearnet.” Kaitlin performs live regularly with her lady comedy duo Cheap Smokes and makes hilarious videos on their YouTube channel, Cheap Smokes Comedy.
ABIGAIL MARKS (NEXT Director), a Los Angeles native, is delighted to be joining JWT this year. She holds an MFA from the Academy for Classical Acting at the Shakespeare Theatre and a BA from George Washington University. A company member at the Antaeus Theatre, she was most recently seen in Cloud 9 and was nominated for an Ovation Award and won a Backstage Award for her work in Top Girls. She has performed on regional stages all over—A Noise Within, Studio Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre, the Culture Project, and the Oval House, to name a few. Abigail is also an acting and dialect coach and director. For more information: abigailmarks.com.
JULIE MAYERSON BROWN (Writer) has been writing and publishing stories, articles, and humorous essays since her first son was born over twenty years ago. She has worked as a grant writer, reporter, and editor. and was a proud founding member of Mothers Advocating Prevention, a non-profit dedicated to protecting children and teens from abuse and exploitation. Her work has appeared in Parenting Magazine, The Jewish Journal, Daily Breeze, and numerous blog sites. She’s had short plays produced by the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture and short stories featured in the anthologies Twisted Tales, Crooked Tales, and Mom for the Holidays (Monkey Star Press, 2016). Her novel The Long Dance Home was published in 2013 by Mischievous Muse Press. Julie recently completed her second novel and is busy querying agents. When not writing in a quiet corner of her local library, Julie’s at home taking care of three big dogs, baking banana bread for anyone who happens to drop in, and attempting to grow organic tomatoes. www.juliemayersonbrown.com.
MAX MONDI (Writer) is based in New York. His plays include Maybe Tomorrow (winner of Overall Excellence in a Play at FringeNYC), Personhood, and You Deserve Me, among others. His work has been produced and developed at The PIT, Soho Playhouse, Under St. Marks, Abingdon Theatre Company, Project Y Theatre, The Glass Eye, and Boston Actors Theatre. Max is a founding member of Project: Project and Interim Writers. Originally from Boston, Max holds a B.A. in theatre history/criticism from University of Vermont and is currently earning his M.F.A. in playwriting from Columbia University (expected spring 2018).
SUSAN MORGENSTERN (Producing 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 performing arts camp in upstate New York. In Los Angeles, Susan has directed several shows at Theatre West, including Saturday Night at Grossinger’s, book by Stephen Cole, music by Claibe Richardson; and Barbara Nell Beery’s play, The Socialization of Ruthie Shapiro. At the Falcon/Garry Marshall 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. She directed an extended-run production of Meryl Cohn’s comedy Reasons to Live at the Skylight Theatre. She co-authored and directed I’m Not Famous: A Musical Journey with Barbara Minkus, which had an extended 2017 run at the Santa Monica Playhouse. Susan also works as a consultant show director at Disneyland Parks and Resorts. She has directed numerous JWT salon shows, and most recently, Annie Korzen: Famous Actress, at JWT’s performance and art space, The Braid.
DONNABELLA MORTEL (Actor) was born and raised by immigrant parents in Seattle, Washington, with her older sister, younger brother, and large extended family. Mortel was a dancer and cheerleader through her years at Seattle University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in criminal justice, specializing in forensic psychology, and a B.A. in humanities. Upon graduation, she began her professional career as a dance team member for the NBA with the Seattle SuperSonics. Mortel has since focused on her acting career and producing projects like Retail and Specious with Creative Geniusess. Landing roles ranging from a saucy businesswoman to an overly helpful retail worker, Mortel has been cast in such hit shows as How to Get Away with Murder, Jane the Virgin, and NCIS. She can also be heard narrating This Shattered World and portions of Illuminae, which won the 2016 Audi Award for a multi-voiced performance.
DANA MUNRO (JWT Intern) grew up in Chicago and is currently pursuing a BFA in musical fheater from the University of Miami in Florida. While studying to become a performer she has interests in many facets of theater such as playwriting, directing and casting. Theater training includes Interlochen Center for the Arts, New York University and the Actor’s Training Center in Chicago. She can be seen this coming fall in Romeo and Juliet at the Jerry Herman Ring Theater. Last June she directed and produced a production of The Dream of the Burning Boy in Chicago. She is honored to be joining the JWT team for this incredible show.
MOLLY MURRAY (Writer) is a board-certified physician assistant who graduated with a master’s in health sciences from Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, and a bachelors degree in neuroscience and psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She practices emergency medicine, trauma, and critical care within New Jersey and has a special interest in palliative care. She is also passionate about animal rescue and rehabilitation.
CHRISTIAN PRENTICE (NEXT Arts Council Fellow, Literary Manager) is both a performer and a theatre patron, who has worked at Theatre @ Boston Court, the Sierra Madre Playhouse, Son of Semele, the Echo Theatre Company, Circle X, and Interact Theatre Company. Before moving to Los Angeles, he worked professionally in Cleveland, where he earned his BA in theatre from Kent State University.
ADAM ROTSTEIN (Writer) is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles who has been published in McSweeney’s, Reductress, Funny or Die, and CollegeHumor. He also works as a copywriter by day, writing #content that’s as funny and weird as brands will let him be. He recently finished a comedy pilot, which may sound redundant given the fact that he lives in Los Angeles. Originally from North Jersey, he studied biology at Wesleyan University and has dabbled in stand-up comedy and the church of improv/sketch comedy. His current open mic, however, is Twitter. Follow him at @madamepotstein or check out the rest of his work at www.adamrotstein.com
VICKI SCHAIRER (NEXT Arts Council Fellow, Lead Literary Manager, New Media Distribution) has directed a number of short films and is currently in development for a handful of new projects. She works as a television producer with credits on shows for Amazon Prime, TLC, the History Channel, and Fullscreen. She worked as a theatre director, production manager, and arts administrator in the greater Boston area prior to moving to Los Angeles in 2014.
KYLA SCHOER (Actor) Originally from New York City, Kyla is now proudly based in Los Angeles. With a BFA in musical theatre from the Hartt School, Kyla has acted Off-Broadway, regionally, in indie films, and TV. Recent credits include Angie Tribeca (TBS) and My Crazy Ex (LMN). As an acting coach, Kyla’s clients have performed on and Off-Broadway, as well as in indie films and TV. www.aschoerthing.com
DAPHNA SHULL (Writer) was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, and received her bachelor’s degree in Media Production from Florida State University. After graduating in 2014, she headed west to pursue a career in screenwriting. Currently, Daphna works as a teacher’s assistant at Pressman Academy in Los Angeles and runs an after-school screenwriting class there for 3rd and 4th graders.
RONDA SPINAK (Producer/JWT Artistic Director) created and produces JWT’s At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its tenth season. She has curated more than 35 original Jewish-themed salon shows for JWT, as well as adapted many of the pieces performed. Spinak developed and produced Not That Jewish at JWT’s The Braid, which ran for 16 months, garnered an LA Drama Critics Circle nomination, only stopping to move to off-Broadway, where the show ran for over 200 performances. Spinak co-wrote Stories From the Fringe, putting the stories of women rabbis on stage for the first time. Since then, she and her team have interviewed on videotape, 150 national and international women rabbis, and in partnership with Jewish Women’s Archive have made many of the interviews available online at www. jwa.org. She’s the author of the critically acclaimed exercise book, ProBodX (HarperCollins), wrote for Rugrats, and her plays include Oscar Wilde’s Wife, a favorite at the Ashland New Play Festival. Spinak graduated from Stanford University, completed her MBA at UCLA and her masters in writing at USC. She has served as a grant reviewer for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, is on the board of the Alliance 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. Find more information: www.jewishwomenstheatre.org
SUSIE YURÉ (JWT’s Director of Community Engagement/Associate Producer) has proudly worked with JWT for 7 years. She has volunteered 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. She holds a BA and MA in elementary education from USC, along with her California lifetime teaching credential. While at USC, she met her husband. Her favorite role is as mom to her two children and recently as a grandmother.