Unknown Stories of Biblical Proportions

May 18-June 3, 2014

Any preconceptions are sure to be upended with this hilarious and provocative evening of stories, song and surprising moments that use bible stories and sacred texts to reveal truths about our lives today.

THE PROGRAM

Produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Susan Morgenstern
Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum

Associate Producers: Susie Yure´ and Rose Ziff

Welcome ~ Ronda Spinak, JWT Artistic Director
Barbara Koletsky, JWT Producer
Liz Altman, JWT Producer

Where You Go
Music and lyrics by Kimberly Haynes.  Performed by Kimberly Haynes; accompanied by Marla (Miriam) Leigh Goldstein

Almost a Sacrifice
Written by Liz Altman. Performed by Amy Greenspan

The Urge to Decorate
Written by Rabbi Deborah Silver. Performed by Lisa Robins

The Legacy
Written by Lisa Rosenbaum.  Performed by Lauren Aboulafia, Lisa Robins, Amy Greenspan, and Robert Trebor.

Betrayal in the Beit Midrash
Written and performed by Andrea Hodos.

Abby Waits for David at the Beverly Hills Hotel
Written by Eve Brandstein. Performed by Lauren Aboulafia

Oscar De La Renta and Mom
Written by Esther Amini. Performed by Amy Greenspan, Lisa Robins, and Robert Trebor

Pyramids to Goldmines
Written by Janice Kamenir-Reznik. Performed by Lisa Robins and Robert Trebor

A Jew by Choice
Written by Jill Solloway.  Performed by Lauren Aboulafia

Not That Jewish
A Commission of JWT written and performed by Monica Piper or Shelly Goldstein.

ARTIST BIOS

LAUREN ABOULAFIA (Actor) is thrilled to be a part of the Jewish Women’s Theatre, as her two loves are theatre and Jews. Lauren graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in theatre. She also studied at the British Drama Academy in London where she played Rosalind in As you Like It, one of her favorite roles. Lauren has performed onstage at Interlochen and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and has participated in comedy troupes at the Groundlings and UCB. She recently appeared on Mixology on ABC, and was one of the leads in the indie comedy $50K and a Call Girl: A Love Story. She is currently working on a solo show. Lauren recently married Seth R. Grossman, who is her rock of encouragement, her besheret. L’Chayim!
LIZ ALTMAN (Writer) started writing song lyrics for collegiate activities while attending the University of Michigan. She re-introduced, co-directed, co-wrote and performed in the annual SMU law school follies. After graduating law school, she continued to write lyrics for the Dallas Bar Follies. Liz captains a tennis team, is a board member and produces the South Bay Salon for JWT. She works as a vice president at a real estate management and development company, and is licensed to practice law in Texas. Liz is married and has two adult children. Special thanks to her muse, Louis.
ESTHER AMINI (Writer) is an author and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Her writings have appeared in Elle Magazine, Tablet Magazine, The Jewish Week, Barnard Magazine, and Inscape Literary Magazine. Two of her stories, Barnard College and Saffron Rice and Cranberry Sauce, were recently performed by the Jewish Women’s Theatre in their show entitled Saffron & Rosewater, which was performed at The 92nd Street -Y in Manhattan. Ms. Amini lives in Manhattan and is on the faculty of The New York School for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Presently she is working on a memoir about growing up as a first generation American in a Persian/Jewish home in Queens. For more information, follow Esther Amini on Facebook.
EVE BRANDSTEIN (Writer) has made contributions to nearly every facet of the entertainment industry. She has been a major studio executive, a producer, a director, writer/creator, talent manager and author. Eve has a very notable career as a casting director with hundreds of credits for major television and film projects. Some of her credits for casting over three decades include the feature This is Spinal Tap, and among her many television credits, Diff’rent Strokes, One Day At A Time, Facts of Life and Who’s The Boss, The Ponderosa, Little Men, and Beastmaster, to name a few. She has also produced and written series including E/R the comedy series and produced several features. She is currently producing Poetry In Motion in LA at Beyond Baroque and in New York at the Cutting Room. She is presently directing Shut Up, Sit Down & Eat and recently directed the premiere of Revisiting Wildfire and Ronnie Spector’s Beyond The Beehive. Eve is also the director of the Jewish Women’s Theater, Stories From the Fringe.
MARLA (MIRIAM) LEIGH GOLDSTEIN (Musician) is an internationally recognized musician, composer and educator. Marla is one of three Jewish specialists in the world in the “Tof Miriam” (frame -drum), the drum that Miriam the Prophetess played during Biblical Times. She offers Tof Miriam drumming for shabbaton programs, concerts and workshops at synagogues worldwide, and is currently working on her debut Album, “Rhythms in Ahava”, to be recorded in Israel. www.marlaleigh.com
SHELLY GOLDSTEIN (Writer/Performer) 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 co-starred with Sir Derek Jacoby and Vanessa Redgrave in the British film The Riddle and with Vinnie Jones in the Irish film Assault of Darkness. She has written or punched up sitcoms, dramas, films, lyrics, documentaries, animation, award shows, jokes, and special material for such artists as Steve Martin,
Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Anne Hathaway, LL Cool J, Jane Fonda, Garry Marshall, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Yoko Ono. She wrote the book for the disco musical Last Dance, which work shopped on Broadway, and directed the critically acclaimed hit comedy The Vic & Paul Show in L.A. and Chicago.
AMY GREENSPAN (Actor) was born and raised in the Los Angeles Jewish community. She went on to study acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Boston University, where she received her BFA. Amy can be seen in the films Herpes Boy, Miss Dial, Eagle Falls and Monday Morning. Some of her favorite stage credits include Puppy in The Tall Girls (La Jolla Playhouse), Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatricum Botanicum), Mary Pickford in Land of Dreams (LA, US Tour) and Cindy in Stuck In Neutral (The Secret Rose Theater). www.amygreenspanonline.com
KIMBERLY HAYNES (Musician) is native to Los Angeles and has been performing in the musical arts since the tender of age 8. Her career has taken her from jazz clubs around the world to the bima at Ahavat Torah, where she is currently the co-cantorial soloist with Rabbi Miriam Hamrell. Kim is also working in the field of sound healing and music therapy, using her experience with plant medicine work and her deep love of the mystical aspects of Judaism.
ANDREA HODOS (Writer/Actor) is the creator of Moving Torah – a method for interpreting Jewish texts using writing, movement and theater. During a residency at HUC-JIR, Andrea brought together professional performers and rabbinic students to create a piece called On Dry Ground: Faith, Fear and Transformation at the Edge of the Sea. She has performed with DC-based Liz Lerman Dance Exchange as an Emerging Choreographer, where her work was presented at the National Building Museum. Andrea performs a piece called Cutting My Hair in Jerusalem about her experience reengaging the Jewish tradition as a feminist. Betrayal in the Beit Midrash is an excerpt from this piece, and she is honored to share it here! Andrea’s newest project, Sinai and Sunna: Women Covering, Uncovering and Recovering will bring Jewish and Muslim women together to share stories about religious and cultural identity. Learn about this project or her synagogue residencies here: www.movingtorah.com
JANICE KAMENIR-REZNIK (Writer) is the Co-founder and President of Jewish World Watch, co-founded with Rabbi Harold Schulweis to mobilize American Jewry to fight genocides and mass atrocities, and to provide relief to survivors. Janice practiced law for 25 years, retiring as a partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler and Marmaro to start JWW. She received her BA and JD from UCLA, a MSW from USC and a MA in Jewish Non-Profit Management from Hebrew Union College. Janice served as President, California Women Lawyers and California Women’s Law Center, as Trustee of the LA County Bar and the California State Bar’s Trust Fund. For JWW, Janice travels extensively to Darfuri refugee camps and to Eastern Congo to bear witness and to establish and fund various recovery and economic development projects.
BARBARA KOLETSKY (Assistant Producer) has produced many events, specializing in charitable organizations as well as the corporate and private sectors. She is a fundraiser for UCLA Food Closet for Children and Children of the Night. As a co-owner of Crown Car Wash Los Angeles and owner of RSVP Party Planning, she was responsible for all aspects of the businesses. Barbara was born in New York and moved to California in the late sixties. Additionally, she has worked in marketing for Polygram Records in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
JAMIE 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 (Director) has been an actress since the age of five. Susan crossed over into directing when she began staging musical theatre concert readings while co-teaching American Musical Comedy with Tom Lehrer at U.C. 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, her direction of David Vowell’s The Ascension of Lili at the Two Roads Theatre received critical acclaim. At Theatre West, Susan directed selections from David Ives’ All in the Timing (TW’s inaugural Youth Theatre musical), Just Too Cool, and the musical Saturday Night at Grossinger’s. In 2010 at TW, she directed Barbara Nell Beery’s The Socialization of Ruthie Shapiro. At the Falcon Theatre she directed Leap, Surviving Sex, and Sam Bobrick’s hit comedy, The Psychic. In 2011 Susan directed Happy Days, a New Musical, book by Garry Marshall, music/lyrics by Paul Williams, at Cabrillo Music Theatre’s 1,800-seat auditorium. In 2012, she directed a stage reading of Ghost-s, a Musical About a Musical at KTC’s INKubator series with the creative team of Kincaid Jones (book), Noelle Donfeld (lyrics), and Brian Woodbury (composer/lyrics). Susan directed JWT’s popular The Moment You Knew in the 4th Season.
MONICA PIPER (Writer/Performer) is an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and stand-up comic. She has written for the sit-coms Roseanne, Mad About You, and Veronica’s Closet and was head writer of the #1 children’s animated series Rugrats. She starred in her own Showtime Network comedy special, No, Monica, … Just You and was nominated by the American Comedy Awards as one of the top five female comedians in the country. Monica performs for Jewish organizations around the country and is proud to be an artist-in-residence with the acclaimed Jewish Women’s Theatre in Los Angeles.
LISA ROBINS (Actor) stars and tours with the one-woman show, The Blessing of a Broken Heart, based on Sherri Mandell’s acclaimed book, directed and adapted by Todd Salovey. She starred at the Geffen Playhouse in Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore and was honored to be directed by Paul Mazursky in Michael Elias’ Catskill Sonata. Additional theatre credits include Tom Baum’s Shock Therapy and Hal Ackerman’s Testosterone, directed by Michael Arabian, Fallujah at Theatre East (Ovation nomination for best new play), Cornerstone’s Long Bridge Over Deep Waters, directed by Bill Rausch at the Ford, and Center of the Star by Yehuda Hyman. Lisa is a lifetime member of the Actors’ Studio. Film/TV includes The Rum Diary opposite Johnny Depp, James Dean directed by Mark Rydell, and Ovation, shot by Henry Jaglom. Lisa is grateful to have appeared in an abundance of JWT salons, and gives thanks to the warm and hard working Ronda Spinak, and all of her wonderful JWT colleagues!
LISA ROSENBAUM (Dramaturge) is the author of the novel A Day of Small Beginnings (Little, Brown & Co. 2006). When not engaged with All Things JWT she works on her new novel about the destruction of ancient Indian mounds at Cahokia, Illinois, the Blacklist, America’s interstate highways, and oh yes, love. Lisa lives in Pacific Palisades with her husband, Walt Lipsman. They have two daughters, Ariana and Maya.
RABBI DEBORAH SILVER (Writer) is the Assistant Rabbi at Adat Ari El, Valley Village. She was ordained in 2010 by the Ziegler School at the American Jewish University, Los Angeles. Prior to that, she was a translator, an editor, a litigator with Mishcon de Reya and subsequently an attorney at Mishcon de Reya, and at BPP Law School as an assistant professor, both in London. She is very used to writing other people’s stories, but this is the first time she has shared one of her own, and she thanks JWT for the opportunity.
JILL SOLLOWAY is a writer/director/community organizer/mother/feminist/lover of slashes. She won the Directing Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival for her first feature, Afternoon Delight. Her short film, Una Hora Por Favor premiered at Sundance 2012. Jill is a three-time Emmy nominee for her work writing and producing Six Feet Under. She also honed her bossy-boots skills as the showrunner for HBO’s How To Make It In America and Showtime’s United States of Tara. Before that, she authored Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants. Jill started out doing theater with her sister Faith in Chicago, where they created The Real Live Brady Bunch and The Miss Vagina Pageant. She also co-created Sit N’ Spin, a twice-monthly night of comedic monologues that’s been running for over a decade. The pilot of Jill’s original TV show Transparent, which she also directed, just premiered on Amazon. She currently lives with her husband, two sons and two wild dogs in Silver Lake.
RONDA SPINAK co-founded JWT in 2008 and assumed the role of artistic director shortly thereafter. The popular At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, which Spinak created and produces, is now in its sixth season and has originated eighteen original-themed shows. Before JWT, Spinak wrote for the Emmy Award-winning children’s show Rugrats, authored the critically acclaimed book ProBodX: Proper Body Exercise (HarperCollins, publisher), and written many plays, including festival-winner Oscar Wilde’s Wife, a favorite at the Ashland New Play Festival and Dayton’s FuturFest. Educated at Stanford University, she also holds masters degrees from UCLA and USC. Spinak has taught creative writing, served as a grant reviewer for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, and speaks to Jewish groups about Jewish women and their salons. She currently serves on the Board of the Association of Jewish Theatres. Spinak is producing a documentary film about women in the rabbinate entitled On the Fringe. Last year, Spinak was given the Albert R. Rodriguez Civic Legacy Honor Award for her service. Spinak feels blessed to be working with so many talented and inspiring women who give generously to Jewish Women’s Theatre.
ROBERT TREBOR (Actor) has worked in film and TV, including critically acclaimed major roles in John Frankenheimer’s 52 Pick-Up, Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio, Roland Emmerich’s Universal Soldier, and Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects. From all his roles over the past 38 years, he is perhaps best remembered for playing The Son of Sam opposite Martin Sheen in Out Of The Darkness, and Salmoneus on the Hercules and Xena TV series. He has acted in regional theatres all over the country and won several awards for his work in the world premieres of Ravensridge, La Ronde de Lunch, and for his one-man show The Return of Brother Theodore. Bob is also the author of Dear Salmoneus: The World ‘s First Guide To Love And Money, and the recently completed magnum opus, And they Pay You For That??: An Actor’s Unreliable Memoir. This latter tome is looking for a publisher. Bob is a recent recipient of bone marrow from an unrelated donor. If you can, please join the National Bone Marrow Registry; it truly is a mitzvah and a lifesaver. Bob is proud to be an Artist-in-Residence with the JWT.
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 more than 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), the most recent member of the JWT team, is new to performing arts. She has come out of retirement 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 woman’s non-profit religious organization and spiritual community. She is looking forward to opening this new chapter in her life and thanks Susie Yure´and Ronda Spinak for this opportunity.

GALLERY

Susie Yure´is ready for check in

Kimberly Haynes in a pensive moment pre-show

Susan Moregenstern directs last minute rehearsal

Musician Marla Leigh Goldstein warms up before the show

Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum discusses script with Alan Ross

Patrons enjoy our tasty buffet

Check out these goodies

Friends visit before show

Board members Elisa Wayne, Ruth Rubinstein and Gail Israel

Patrons peruse the program prior to the show

Amy Greenspan reminisces about her older brother in Liz Altman’s “Almost a Sacrifice”

The show

Lisa Robbins has the “Urge to Decorate” in Rabbi Deborah Silver’s piece

Audience enjoying the show

Robert Trebor and Lauren Aboulafia in Lisa Rosenbaum’s “The Legacy”

Contemplative Andrea Hodos in her own “Betrayal in the Beit Midrash”

Lauren Aboulafia waits for her lover in Eve Brandstein’s “Abby Waits for David at the Beverly Hills Hotel”

Lisa Robins and Robert Trevor in “Oscar De La Renta & Mom” by Esther Amini

Monica Piper is “not that Jewish” in her own work of the same name

Post Show Q & A

Photos by Jan Burns