Crossing Our Red Sea

March 10 – April 7, 2018

A dozen original stories that transform the Passover story of Exodus into contemporary theatre.

Check out below one of the favorite pieces from the show, Dayenu Remix!

DAYENU REMIX
Written by Shawn Goodman
Adapted by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Eve Brandstein
The piece originally performed by:
Tiffany Mualem
with AJ Meijer, Melanie Chartoff and Kate Zentall
From JWT’S CROSSING OUR RED SEA
March 2018 At-Homes Salon Theatre

Want to include the text in your next Passover Seder? 
Click here for a printable PDF download

PRESS

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE HERE

THE PROGRAM

Adapted, curated and produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Eve Brandstein
South Bay Producer Liz Altman
SF Bay Area Producer Carol Kirsh
Literary Manager Suzanna Kaplan
Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum
Assistant Producer/Stage Manager Barbara Koletsky
Associate Producers Susie Yuré and Rose Ziff
Artistic Director Ronda Spinak
Artistic Associate Daphna Shull

In loving memory of Bert Krasnoff
Generously underwritten by Sheila Krasnoff and Elizabeth & Darell Krasnoff

Crossing the Red (Communist) Sea
Written by Natasha Basley.  Performed by AJ Meijer.

A Blight to Remember – A commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Shelly Goldstein.  Performed by Kate Zentall.

The Third Plague
Written by Renee Moilanen.  Performed by Tiffany Mualem. 

Am-ree-kah –Adapted from the Genetic Jitters, a Memoir
Written by Esther Amini.  Performed by Kate Zentall.

First Born Son and The Second Born Daughter – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Gail Israel.  Performed by Melanie Chartoff. 

God Dog – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Robin Russin.  Performed by AJ Meijer, Kate Zentall and Tiffany Mualem.

Indecent Sexposure
Written and performed by Melanie Chartoff and ensemble.

The Most Romantic Day of My Life.
Written by Hank Kimmel.  Performed by AJ Meijer.

A Journey With No Easy End
Written by Janet Madden.  Performed by Melanie Chartoff, Kate Zentall and Tiffany Mualem.

In Order
Written by Barbara Blank.  Performed by Tiffany Mualem and AJ Meijer.

Kol Ha’olam Kulo
Music by B. Chait.  Text by R. Nachman of Bratslav.  Performed by Tiffany Mualem and AJ Meijer.

Out of Hiding – First Appeared in the Los Angeles Times Magazine – adaption a commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written by Susan Baskin.  Performed by Kate Zentall, Melanie Chartoff and AJ Meijer.

Dayeinu Remix
Written by Shawn Goodman.  Performed by Tiffany Mualem and ensemble.

ARTIST BIOS

LIZ ALTMAN (South Bay Producer) wrote “Almost a Sacrifice,” previously performed at the JWT salon Unknown Stories of Biblical Proportions. Other credits include song lyrics for activities at the University of Michigan and the Dallas Bar Follies; and co-directing, co-writing, and performing in the annual SMU law school follies. JWT: Advisory board member and South Bay producer. Professional: vice president of a real estate company. Hobbies: tennis, art, and travel. Special love to her muse, Louis.

ESTHER AMINI (Writer) is an author and a psychoanalytic psychotherapist whose writings have appeared in Elle Magazine, Tablet, The Jewish Week, Barnard Magazine, Inscape Literary Magazine, Proximity Magazine, and Lilith. Six of her stories have been performed in Los Angeles by Jewish Women’s Theatre, and two were staged at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan in the show Saffron and Rosewater. She was recently awarded the Aspen Words – 2016 Emerging Writer Fellowship. Ms. Amini lives in Manhattan and is on the faculty of the New York School for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. She is currently writing a memoir about growing up first-generation American in an Iranian/Jewish home in Queens. To stay updated, follow Esther Amini on Facebook.

SUSAN BASKIN (Writer) wrote the Academy Award–winning film Violet and has also written extensively for television and film. Her credits include Remington Steele, Dynasty, and numerous television movies. Her essays have been published in The Los Angeles Times Magazine, West, and Los Angeles Magazine, and she is currently working on a novel.

NATASHA M. BASLEY (Writer) is a short-story writer who has worked in international affairs for more than a decade while continuing to dabble in the arts. Singing in the Peace Child Honor Choir of Los Angeles took her to a Soviet pioneer camp in the 1980s in Yalta, where kids from the US and USSR performed a joint musical production. She also performed as an actor in Nancy Keystone’s award-winning The Akhmatova Project and Bill Viola’s internationally acclaimed series, The Passions. When living in Nepal, Ms. Basley worked with the Kasthamandap Modern Art Collective to produce a fashion show entitled Wearable Art. Her travel stories recently appeared on KCRW’s Press Play with Madeleine Brand. Ms. Basley is now working on a screenplay about her adventures around the world. She would like to dedicate Crossing the Red (Communist) Sea to the memory of her dear friend and mentor, Gene Rothman.

BARBARA TRAININ BLANK (Writer), an arts previewer/reviewer, turned to playwriting in 2000. Her debut piece, Honeymoon: Hit or Miss, was featured in a festival at Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg. Several other short works received staged readings in such venues as Theatre Ariel, Jewish Writers’ Roundtable, Cicada Festival, Hershey Area Playhouse, Carlisle Theatre, as well as Jewish Women’s Theatre. Gretna Theatre, a professional venue, produced two of her original full-length children’s musicals, Rumpelstiltskin and the Funny Kid and Meet Me Where, Dorothella?, with music by Lindy Mack. Stolen Vows won honorable mention (2015) in the New Works of Merit competition; Gamut Theatre Group included Haircuts in a festival about Shakespeare’s female characters; and the Art Age Senior Theatre catalogue published How to Marry the Rabbi. Currently, Trainin Blank is collaborating on a history-based play about Herschel Grynszpan.

 

MELANIE CHARTOFF (Writer/Actress) invents stories and characters for the page, stage, and screen. Best known for running roles on series such as ABC’s late-night comedy show Fridays, The Newhart Show, Seinfeld, Wiseguy, Rugrats, and Weird Science, she currently voices characters on OK KO on the Cartoon Network. She starred in the West Coast premieres of NY hits March of the Falsettos, Big River, Beyond Therapy, and as Dot in Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George. She’s featured in the new edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Crazy Family. Melanie often writes for Funny Times, Purple CloverThe Huffington Post, and the Jewish Journal. She hails from the East Coast stages of Long Wharf Theater, Yale University, and on and off Broadway in shows such as Scapino and the improvised musical revue The Proposition. In her classes and coaching, she helps shyer types develop charismatic personae.

EVE BRANDSTEIN (Director) has been a major-studio executive, producer, director, writer/creator, and casting director. After writing and directing plays in New York she came to Los Angeles to direct two of her scripts for AFI’s Directing Women’s Workshop, then worked with Norman Lear on and off for the next three decades as a producer, director, writer, and casting director. Eve is the director of the recent long-running hit shows Not That Jewish with Monica Piper and Rain Pryor’s Fried Chicken & Latkes. She has directed more than 75 theatrical productions on both coasts and Israel, most recently the Off-Broadway two-year hit Shut Up Sit Down & Eat, the NY premiere of Voices of Swords, and the NY and LA premieres of Revisiting Wildfire. She has directed many JWT salon theater productions as well as contributed work as a writer and artist. In 2018 she will be directing a new play, Anne Frank’s Diary, for the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance. Also in the works are two documentaries: The Rock & Roll Project – Beyond the Myth and The Girl in the Room.

SHELLY GOLDSTEIN (Writer) has written for every genre of TV, film, and stage, and her one-woman shows have played to sell-out crowds throughout the US and UK. She co-starred with Sir Derek Jacobi and Vanessa Redgrave in the British film The Riddle and in the Irish film Assault of Darkness. She has written or punched up sitcoms, dramas, films, lyrics, award shows, jokes, and special material for such artists as Steve Martin, Barbra Streisand, Justin Timberlake, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Yoko Ono. She wrote the disco musical Last Dance, which work-shopped on Broadway, and directed the critically acclaimed hit comedy The Vic & Paul Show in LA and Chicago. Her new musical, Lobster Boy, was chosen by ASCAP and Stephen Schwartz to showcase at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, and she wrote the PBS special Chicago Voices, which was nominated for five Chicago Emmy Awards. Among her prouder achievements: recently winning the New Yorker Caption Contest!

SHAWN GOODMAN (Writer) has published two self-help books and written articles for major women’s magazines, and celebrates the JWT voice and venue. She is a practicing Jew in LA, still figuring out the legal time allowed between cheese and meat in the diaspora, Pacific Standard Time.

GAIL ISRAEL (Writer) has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University. Her adult poems and short stories have been recognized for distinction by New Millennium Writings and Writer’s Digest. Her poem “Gidget Gets Old” was recently selected for one of Writer’s Digest top awards. Gail has written several picture books and two novels for young adults and is a long-standing member of Barbara Bottner’s master class for writers. Her love of writing began in the second grade with her unexpectedly poignant short story “The Very Lonely Latke.”  Gail currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bob, and has two amazing adult children, Jesse and Raychel.

HENRY (Hank) W. KIMMEL (Writer) is a founding member and board president of Working Title Playwrights, an Atlanta-based theater company dedicated to the development of playwrights and new plays. He also serves on the boards for the Alliance for Jewish Theatre and the Hebrew Benevolent Temple (Atlanta). His full-length Confessions of a Hit Man, about the first reunion of two ex-football players after one permanently paralyzed the other, received a developmental grant through the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Hank is a graduate of Brown University and the Emory School of Law. 

CAROL KIRSH (SF Bay Producer) has worked, volunteered, and served on boards for a range of social services agencies since receiving her BA and MSW from the University of Michigan. She also spent eight years in Hong Kong working as an executive search consultant for Russell Reynolds and Norman Broadbent, two leading international search firms. Carol produces Jewish Women’s Theater in the Bay Area, where she hosted its first “at home” salon in San Francisco in 2012. A native Floridian with family roots in Alabama, Carol has continued the Diaspora, living much of her adult life outside of the continental United States, including Bali, Guam, and Hawaii.

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.