Beyond Jacob’s Ladder

March 6-21, 2016

A modern retelling of an ancient story by 10 writers. These poignant stories are modern Midrashim on the Jacob passages from the Bible.


Curated, Adapted & Produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Eve Brandstein
Dramaturge & Adapted by Lisa Rosenbaum
South Bay Producer Liz Altman
San Francisco Producer Carol Kirsh
Associate Producers Barbara Koletsky, Susie Yuré, Rose Ziff & Patrick Conde

What The Hungarians Want
Written by Barbara Bottner.  Performed by Lauren Aboulafia, Will McFadden, and Monica Piper.

Sister, Sister
Written by G.M.  Performed by Roxana Rastegar.

Wrestling – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Suzanna Kaplan.  Performed by Lisa Ann Grant.

A Father’s Story
Written by Ian Wallach.  Performed by Will McFadden.

The Bad Jew — A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Annie Korzen.  Performed by Monica Piper.

Finding God
Written by Libby Schwartz.  Performed by Roxana Rastegar, Monica Piper & Ensemble.

Walmart Parking Lot – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Robin Uriel Russin.  Performed by Will McFadden.

God Was In This Place and I Did Not Know It – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Leslie Schwartz. Performed by Lauren Aboulafia, Roxana Rastegar and Will McFadden, and Monica Piper.

Dreaming of Jake — – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Rabbi Susan Nanus.  Performed by Lisa Ann Grant, Will McFadden and Lauren Aboulafia.

But, Who Will Love Me Now?  – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written and performed by Monica Piper.

God is in This Place  – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Lyrics written by Sandy Sherman.  Music Written by Michele Brourman.  Vocals by Lisa Ann Grant.

 Bible Text — Vocals by Bill Rather


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 and 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; she has participated in comedy troupes at the Groundlings and UCB; and she performs stand up around town. She appeared on Mistresses and Mixology on ABC and was one of the leads in the indie comedy $50K and a Call Girl: A Love Story. She’ll be performing her solo show, Moving On Up, at JWT this year. 
BARBARA BOTTNER (Writer) writes for adults and kids. Some of her more than 40 books for children and teenagers have garnered national awards and appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Her award-winning animations appeared on The Electric Company and Sesame Street, and Jim Henson sang her lyrics. She’s also written for children’s television and full-length features and was staff on a prime-time sitcom. Her short stories appeared in Cosmopolitan, Playgirl; her essays, humor, and criticism in LAWEEKLY, The Miami Herald, and New York Times.  As an actress, she traveled through Europe with Ellen Stewart’s Café La Mama and worked with Sam Shepherd. She’s been teaching writing to a talented bunch of authors and just completed a young-adult novel, I See Thunder.
EVE BRANDSTEIN (Director) has made contributions to every facet of the entertainment industry from studio executive, producer, director, writer/creator, talent manager, and author. Eve also has a notable career as a casting director. Credits include the feature This is Spinal Tap , television credits include Diff’rent StrokesOne Day At A TimeFacts of Life, Who’s The Boss, Beastmaster and Total Recall. Among her television production credits, she produced and developed  E/R the Comedy Series, and produced and directed the series John Waters Presents Movies That Will Corrupt You.  Her recent return to theater directing credits are the long running hit production of Not That Jewish, the NY Off-Broadway 2 year hit of Shut Up Sit Down & Eat, NY and LA premieres of Revisiting Wildfire, the NY premiere of Voices Of Swords, Ronnie Spector’s Beyond The Beehive, Waiting For Jack – A Beat Poetry ReunionClaiming Allen Ginsberg, and Suzanne Wang’s Cracked Open. Eve has also directed the Jewish Women’s Theater shows Stories From the FringeSaffron and RosewaterHold Me, Heal Me, He Said, She Said, and Past & Present: Russian Jewish American Stories.  She continues to produce the bi-coastal spoken-word event Poetry In Motion since 1988.
MICHELE BROURMAN (Songwriter) is an award-winning singer/songwriter whose songs have been recorded by Michael Feinstein, Margaret Whiting, Dame Cleo Laine, and Olivia Newton-John, among others. She’s written and produced the songs for 18 animated features for Universal Studios, including the beloved Land Before Time series, writing for artists like Reba McIntyre, Michael York, Donny Osmond, Corbin Bleu, and a host of others. Her work has been featured in television and film and performed by countless cabaret artists, garnering numerous awards and critical acclaim. Her work for the theater includes the dance and incidental music for the original Broadway production of Working, the score for the musical Dangerous Beauty, produced at the Pasadena Playhouse, and the score for the off-Broadway show I Married Wyatt Earp.  She has been called “a consummate artist/composer … whose songs target the human condition with a simplicity, honesty, and directness which make them into contemporary classics.”
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.
LISA ANN GRANT (Actor) is thrilled to be a part of the Jewish Women’s Theater. Originally from New York City, Lisa appeared on Broadway as Eponine in Les MiserablesLeader of the Pack, DreamGirls, and Camelot. She appeared Off-Broadway with Robert Downey Jr. and Jane Krakowski in American Passion and Radio City Music Hall as a soloist. On television she has appeared on Comedy Central, Stacked, Charmed, ER, and Crossing Jordan, to name a few, as well as several commercials and voice-overs. Lisa has been in the studio recording original music with her singing partner, Lisa Winner.
SUZANNA KAPLAN (Writer) was born in Mexico City, to an American mother and Mexican father, and grew up speaking English at home and Spanish everywhere else. As an actress and dancer, she performed in some of Mexico’s famous Vaudeville stages, as well as acted in commercials and films and on the stage.  Suzanna moved to the US where she partnered with her best friend in a translation service and language school. Being young, they sold it as soon as it was making money and took off for Europe, eventually landing in Israel, which stretched out to 6 years, a husband, and a baby. Back in the US, Kaplan has been working in Hispanic advertising.
BARBARA KOLETSKY (Associate Producer/Stage Manager) 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.
ANNIE KORZEN (Writer) is proud to be a Moth Mainstage storyteller.  She offers group classes and private coaching in storytelling. Annie was the recurring Doris Klompus on Seinfeld and has performed her solo shows Yenta Unplugged and The Yenta Cometh on three continents.  Her newest entertainment is a full evening of her stories called Tales from the Mouth: Comedies of Errors.  Annie is currently developing a solo show with Ronda Spinak for JWT.  She is the author of Bargain Junkie: Living the Good Life on the Cheap and has done humorous essays for NPR’s Morning Edition, The New York Times, LA Times, and many more. For additional info and videos, go to
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.
G.M. (Writer) G.M. is a novice, wrestling in LA.
WILL MCFADDEN  (Actor) is a member of Theatre of Note, where he can be seen in the new play Phrazzled, opening April 15. He is also a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre LA and a graduate of Occidental College. He wrote and starred in the upcoming feature film Doubting Thomas. Other Notable Films: Tiger Orange, Takers, The Roommate, and Hollywood Homicide. Notable TV: Scorpion (CBS), Gang Related (FOX),