Blessings of a Broken Heart

ARTIST BIOS

RABBI LYNNE A. KERN (Blessing) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, poet and writer whose work 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. She is currently producing a documentary film about LA women rabbis and co-wrote the play, Stories From The Fringe: Women Rabbis, Revealed! She is also a Founding Board Member of the Jewish Women’s Theatre.
BRIAN LA ROSA (Stage Manager) has been working as a professional Actor, Director, Writer, Stage Manager and Production Coordinator in film, television and theatre since 1987. Brian was trained in classical and musical theatre at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He continued his theatrical education at The Second City and Upfront Comedy in Santa Monica, CA. His real expertise is as a Movement Artist, creating and choreographing unique creature performances for film and television, applying his skills in such films as Congo, The Country Bears and Where the Wild Things Are. Brian also has experience in all facets of production, including Casting, Art Department, Beauty & SFX Make-up, Choreography, Lighting and Sound Design. In 2001, he was the Executive Producer and Writer for the critically acclaimed Independent Short Film, Cross Breeding. In 2010 Brian won the Grand Prize in the Slamdance Film Festival, Horror Screenwriting Competition for his original feature, A Guilty Moon.
SHERRI MANDELL (Author) ‘s book of spiritual healing, The Blessing of a Broken Heart won a National Jewish book award in 2004. The book, which has been translated into 3 languages, has been adapted into a play which premiered at the San Diego Repertory Theater. Mandell also received a Woman to Watch Award from Jewish Women International in 2004 and was honored with the Washington chapter’s ADL Partners in Peace Award in 2005. She won Moment Magazine’s Karma prize for best short fiction in 2010 and received a Rockower award for journalism in 2011. She is co-president of The Koby Mandell Foundation, named after her son Koby who was murdered at the age of 13 by terrorists in Israel. The foundation creates, initiates and funds programs that promote healing for victims of terrorism and tragedy. The key program is Camp Koby, a healing camp for 400 bereaved Israeli children. She has spoken around the world on grief and bereavement and healing. She lives with her husband and children in Israel where she also teaches writing and works as a pastoral counselor.
CINDY PALEY (Singer) 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 for thirty years. Cindy is also the cantorial soloist and musical soul for Lev Eisha and the VBS N’Shama Minyan which are both very joyous and spiritual women’s services.
LISA ROBINS (Actor, Blessings of a Broken Heart) understudied in the fall at the Geffen Playhouse in Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore, directed by Jenny Sullivan. She recently starred in the role of “Sherri Mandell” in The Blessing of a Broken Heart, based on Sherri’s acclaimed book, at the San Diego Rep and on tour. Robins was directed by Paul Mazursky, originating the role of Annie Rosen in The Catskill Sonata, written by Michael Elias. Other recent theatre outings include Tom Baum’s Shock Therapy directed by Jenny O’Hara, and Hal Ackerman’s wife, daughter, mother, girlfriend, and nurse in Hal’s play, Testosterone, directed by Michael Arabian. Lisa also starred in Fallujah at Theatre East, which garnered the an Ovation nomination for “best new play.” Robins’ work with the Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles includes Long Bridge Over Deep Waters, at the Ford Amphitheatre, and Center of the Star by Yehuda Hyman at the Greenway. As member of the Actors’ Studio, she was directed by John Rubinstein in George Furth’s Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex & Sex. Robins will be seen opposite Johnny Depp in the upcoming film The Rum Diary and starred as Mildred Dean in the film James Dean directed by Mark Rydell. Thanks to Robins’ finest work of art, her 11-year-old daughter, Renata.
TODD SALOVEY (Writer) – is the director and playwright/adapter of The Blessing of a Broken Heart. Mr. Salovey in his 20th season as the San Diego REP’s Associate Artistic Director, and has directed many acclaimed REP shows including The Blessing of a Broken Heart, Brooklyn Boy, the world premiere of Yehuda Hyman’s The Mad Dancers, The Dybbuk, Hamlet starring Jefferson Mays, Uncle Vanya and Death of a Salesman starring Michael Genovese, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, King Lear, The Illusion, Uncle Vanya, The Road to Mecca, The Imaginary Invalid, and Three Hotels. He recently directed the LATC production of A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, which originated at San Diego REP, and went also to the Alley Theatre in Houston. He is on the acting faculty at the University of California, San Diego, and for 18 years, has been the artistic director of the Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival which commissions new work exploring Jewish traditions in contemporary artistic forms. Todd is married to Diane Boomer and is the very proud dad of Leah and Aryeh.
RONDA SPINAK (Producer) is a writer and producer. She conceived of, created and produced At-Homes Salon Theatre in Los Angeles to sold-out audiences. She holds an 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 non-fiction book ProBodX: Proper Body Exercise (HarperCollins, publisher), and written many plays, including festival favorite winner Oscar Wilde’s Wife. She is currently producing a documentary film about LA women rabbis and co-wrote the play, Stories From The Fringe: Women Rabbis, Revealed! Ronda is proud to be a co-founder of the Jewish Women’s Theatre and to serve as its Producing Artistic Director.
ANDREA WAGNER (Co-Producer/ Director, A Rolling Stone) has worked in non-profit for 25 years and was 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 at both the high school and college level. As a member of several community theater 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. She is a Founding Board Member of Jewish Women’s Theatre.
SUSIE YURE´ (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. Yuré has produced musical theatre productions, classical concerts and cabaret performances and been intensely involved in the world of theatre for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from USC along with her California Lifetime Teaching Credential. Besides teaching in elementary school, she has also worked in the medical and business fields. She is currently president of Lev Eisha, a woman’s non-profit religious organization and spiritual community that meets once a month for a musical Shabbat experience. Her favorite role is as mom to her two talented (grown) children, who are both professional (and working) musicians.

THE PROGRAM

Produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed and Adapted by Todd Salovey
Material based on the book by Sherri Mandell
Co-Produced by Andrea Wagner
Associate Producer Susie Yuré

Welcome ~ Ronda Spinak, Producing Artistic Director JWT

Blessing ~ Rabbi Lynne A. Kern

The Blessing of a Broken Heart, starring Lisa Robins

Q & A Post Show

GALLERY

Volunteers Julie Schy and Zena David with performer, Ruth Belonsky

Dessert Buffet courtesy of 17th Street Café and Sweet E’s Bakery

Sweet E’s delicious cupcakes

Barbara Koletsky’s chocolate-dipped strawberries & tangerines

More Food!

Cindy Paley & Ruth Belonsky perform a musical tribute to singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman

Audience enjoying the home of Sharon Rowe & Ken Gross

Founding Board Member Andrea Wagner is thanked by Artistic Director Ronda Spinak for 3 years of dedicated service

Lisa Robins performs in Blessing of A Broken Heart

Lisa Robins as Sherri Mandel

Lisa Robins

Founding Board Member Andrea Wagner & Board Chair Janis Nelson

Gloria & Sonny Kamm talk about their Teapot Collection to JWT subscribers

Sonny Kamm shows a teapot

Gloria Kamm (in brown) shares her outdoor art

Associate Producer Susie Yuré looks at teapots with a subscriber

Artistic Director Ronda Spinak encourages subscribers to get involved with JWT

Cindy Paley sings

Janis Nelson reads the opening blessing

Lisa Robins performs

Q&A post show with Lisa Robins and Ronda Spinak

Q&A post show

Photographs courtesy of Brian La Rosa