Celebrating 8 Seasons Fall Party

October 21, 2015

Salon Sampler—An excerpt from “My Good, My Bad” – in part underwritten by a  micro-grant from Nuroots and The Jewish Federation

Produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Susan Morgenstern
Assistant Producer Barbara Koletsky
Associate Producers Susie Yuré, Rose Ziff, Patrick Conde

Musical Summons

Welcome – Lynne Himelstein and Gail Israel, JWT Board Members & Event Chairs

Introduction of Show – Ronda Spinak, JWT Artistic Director & Co-Founder

Salon Sampler—An excerpt from MY GOOD, MY BAD–in part underwritten by a micro-grant from nuroots and The Jewish Federation.

A Jewish PastryFrom “God Plans, and Woman Laughs” — Season 5.
Written by Anna Forward.  Performed by Lisa Cirincione and Sean Topps.

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

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

Truth In Pictures – From “Stories From the Fringe” —  Season 2.
Story by Rabbi Rochelle Tulik, adapted by Ronda Spinak and Rabbi Lynne Appel.  Performed by Lisa Cirincione.

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

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

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

Special Guest
Monica Piper performing her piece, “A Shayna Meydele” – Season 2.

Closing Remarks – Lynne Himelstein and Gail Israel


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.
LISA CIRINCIONE  (Actor) recently starred alongside W. Earl Brown in the indie drama Porcupine due 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! and in national commercials, including a spot for Sky Italia with Sandra Oh, and also in numerous indie films.  Lisa received her BFA in acting from USC and would like to thank her Sicilian-Jewish family for their constant love and support.
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.


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.


HOWARD KRUPNICK (Actor) left show business in 1962 and decided to get back into it in 1975. On the big screen, Howard can be seen in Earl’s Your UncleEscape from Heavenly AcresOne Hour at the ButterflyThe Rat PackWhy Do Fools Fall in Love? and Blade. On stage, he played Abe in Beau Jest, Jacob in American Klezmer, Artie in Welcome to the Moon, Momus in the Los Angeles Opera production of La Boheme, Boris in The Fifty-Year-Old Game of Gin Rummy, Mr. Baker in Come Blow Your Horn, God in Evelyn’s Choice, Mordcha in Fiddler on the Roof, Brodsky in Brodsky and the Bandit, Stanley in The Broadway Play, and Professor Lifshitz in Guilt, a one-man show.


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  (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.


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. Monica is currently starring in her solo show, Not That Jewish At The Braid in Santa Monica.


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.