Fall 5th Anniversary Party October 14, 2012

ARTIST BIOS

NAOMI ACKERMAN (Writer/Performer) received a BA from Hebrew University, teaching credentials from the David Yellin Teachers Seminar, and is a graduate of the prestigious Nissan Native Acting Studio. In Israel, Naomi participated in various multi-national theater productions with Arab and Jewish actors. She is one of the founding members of “View Points,” an Arab-Jewish theater group promoting tolerance and dialogue, sponsored by The Peres Center for Peace. Naomi wrote, directed, and performed the acclaimed one-woman show Flowers Aren’t Enough, which has been performed over 1200 times globally including the United Nations in honor of International Woman’s Day. Naomi is the founder/director of The Advot Project (Advot is Hebrew for ripples), a registered 501(c) 3 that uses theater to facilitate social change.
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, casting director, talent manager and author. Brandstein was casting executive for Norman Lear’s production companies. Some of her credits for casting over two decades include Diff’rent Strokes, One Day At A Time, Facts of Life and Who’s The Boss. She is currently producing Poetry In Motion LA at Beyond Baroque, directing Stories From the Fringe for the Jewish Women’s Theatre and the original production of Revisiting Wildfire at the Odyssey Theater, which will premiere in 2012 at the Arclight Theater in NY. Eve is a poet, journalist, artist and licensed psychotherapist.
SHARON EISMAN (Actor) is an actress and voice over artist. Originally from the East Coast, she has performed all over the Tri-State Area including the Hangar Theater and the McCarter Theater as well as originating roles with cult companies like Vampire Cowboys in New York City. She has also been seen in classic New York televisions shows such as One Life To Live, Law and Order and a few Comedy Central gems. www.sharoneisman.com
SHIRA FOX (Singer) is the daughter of two Los Angeles cantors. Shira has served as Cantorial Soloist of Temple Rodeph Shalom and at Temple Beth El. She currently serves as Cantorial Soloist for Beit T’Shuvah. Her theatrical credits include lead roles in Lil Abner and Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She is an alumnus of SUNY, and currently acts as B’nai MitzvahTeacher and Program Coordinator at Kehillat Israel Reconstructionist Congregation.
ABBY FREEMAN (Associate Producer) received her BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She is a co-founder of AiRealistic, an aerial theatre company. She has choreographed and performed in New York and Los Angeles, as well as many international cities. She created original work for clients including The LA Philharmonic, Toyota, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, and Red Bull. Most recently, she performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 LA Philharmonic Gala and in the opera “Andre Chenier” at the Bregenz Festival in Austria in 2011 and 2012. She has completed the first year of her MBA at the Anderson School of Management and plans on continuing to work in Arts Management. www.airealistic.com
LEAH KORNFELD FRIEDMAN (Writer) received her MFA from Brooklyn College and has been a lecturer at Smith College, SUNY Albany, and Brooklyn College. In addition to 3 Yaddo Fellowships, Leah was a playwright-in-residence at the University of Pittsburgh, and has won numerous awards, including The New York Foundation for the Arts Playwrights Fellowship and the National Foundation For Jewish Culture Playwrights Award. Her plays have been produced at The American Jewish Theatre, Theatre for the New City, National Jewish Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, and The Gaslamp Quarter Theatre among others. Her soon to be released screenplay, Should’ve Been Romeo, features Ed Asner, Carol Kane, Paul Ben-Victor and Michael Rappaport.
ELLYN GERSH LERNER (Director) is a native Angeleno. She is a frequent respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and has guided many plays through the development process. As a faculty member for the last ten years at California State University Northridge, Ellyn has taught theatre, humanities, freshman seminar and other interdisciplinary courses including “The Idea of Story”. Ellyn is a graduate of Occidental College, Ball State University and UCLA, where she earned her Ph.D. in theatre. Among the many plays she has directed are the off-Broadway premiere of The Pretender, William Inge’s Bus Stop at the University of Michigan, Sophocles’ Electra at the University of North Texas, and Lanford Wilson’s Book of Days at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.
CINDY PALEY (Musician) 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 since 1977.
MONICA PIPER (Writer/Performer) is an Emmy Award-winning comedy writer, stand-up comedian and motivational speaker. She was nominated for an American Comedy Award as one of the top five female comedians in the country and starred in her own Showtime Network special, No, Monica, Just You. She has written for Roseanne, Mad About You and Veronica’s Closet and was the head writer of the beloved children’s animated series Rugrats, as well as writing shows for Disney and Cartoon Network. She is presently bringing her laugh-out-loud advice to corporate America, showing audiences everywhere how to “Find the Funny” in their lives. Please visit www.monicapiper.com.
ROXANA RASTEGAR (Actor) has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the American University in Paris and an M.A. in Theater Arts from Cal State LA. Roxana began working as a professional photographer before joining the Avaz International Dance Company. As a member, she has performed at acclaimed venues such as the Japan American Theater, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Royce Hall. Roxana has also done voice work in several original radio plays heard on KIRN in Los Angeles, and worked for Persian satellite TV. She played a lead role in the long running play The 99 Cent Family, and recently in Death, a Very Serious Comedy. Roxana works as a producer, and her past productions include film, dance, plays, and concerts.
CAROL SCHLANGER (Writer/Performer) is a working film and television actress, storyteller, performer and author. She is a WGA Humanitas award nominee and a 1st place winner in the Los Angeles Playwrights Monologue Slam. Her one woman show Mouth To Mouth was the recipient of 3 Dramalogue Critics Awards. As a writer, she has worked in both television and film, and her plays Baba Yaga, Will You Still Feed Me? Night Garbage, Valley of the Shadow of Beth, and Last Dance have received concert readings and highly successful productions in both NY and Los Angeles. She lives both in Los Angeles and Deadwood, Oregon, where she has been farming organically for over 35 years. She looks forward to the publication of her memoir Don’t Think Twice, chronicling her 5 years on a wilderness Commune, sections of which were first read for the JWT. She has been married for 39 years and is the proud mother of two adult children. www.carolschlanger.com
RONDA SPINAK (Artistic Director/Producer) created the At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its fifth season, and has produced 13 original Jewish themed shows. She has written for the Emmy Award-winning children’s show Rugrats, authored the critically acclaimed nonfiction book ProBodX: Proper Body Exercise (HarperCollins, publisher), and written many plays, including Oscar Wilde’s Wife, which was a finalist at the Ashland New Play Festival and Dayton’s FuturFest. She is currently producing the documentary film about women rabbis entitled On the Fringe, and has recently co-authored the play Stories From the Fringe, the personal stories of women rabbis culled from the transcripts of the documentary film. Ronda thanks Alan Ross and her two sons for their loyalty and support. Ronda is grateful for the many blessings she’s received from her work with 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. Yure has produced musical theatre productions, classical concerts, cabaret performances, and she has 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. 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.
KATE ZENTALL (Actor) has appeared at the Public Theater and Carnegie Hall in NYC, and at the Mark Taper in LA, among many other venues, and has also been seen in numerous TV series, TV Movies, and films. She is now a writer and editor for the internet, magazines, and books.
SOHAILA ZIVARI (Actor) received her B.A. in Iranian history and Persian literature from the University of Tehran. She then immigrated to the U.S. with her husband and young daughter. After working in the health and nutrition fields, Sohaila decided to follow her childhood dream of writing and finished a satirical play in Farsi and a historical novel based on the life of the famous Sufi poet Rumi in English, published in July 2011. Now a mother of 3, she is currently at work on her second book, and lives with her husband and son in Encino.

THE PROGRAM

Event Chair Lynne Himelstein
Produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Ellyn Gersh Lerner
Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum

Associate Producers: Abby Freeman and Susie Yure´

Musical Summons ~ Cindy Paley & Shira Fox
Welcome ~ Lynne Himelstein, Board Member, Fall Party Chair
Jewish Women’s Theatre ~ Ronda Spinak, Artistic Director

Salon Sampler: Highlights from Past Seasons

Noah’s Wife (Season 3)
Written by Eve Brandstein, Performed by Sohaila Zivari

I Never Heard of Violet (Season 2)
Written By Leah Kornfeld Friedman, Performed by Kate Zentall

What’s In A Bag (Season 4)
Written & Performed by Naomi Ackerman

Persian Gardens (Season 4)
Written by Gina Nahai, Performed by Sharon Eisman, Roxana Rastegar and Sohaila Zivari

God’s Answer: Excerpt, Stories From The Fringe (Season 2)
Written by Lynn Kern & Ronda Spinak, Performed by Kate Zentall

Hallelujah (Season 4)
Music and Lyrics by Leonard Cohen, Sung by Shira Fox

I’m in Love With Chekov (Season 2)
Written & Performed by Carol Schlanger

Tip of the Ice Pack (Season 4)
Written & Performed by Monica Piper

Closing Remarks
Janis Nelson & Linda Gross, JWT Boardmembers

Closing Song (Season 1)
Tefilat Haderech, music and lyrics by Debbie Friedman, sung by Shira Fox

GALLERY

Volunteers and Boardmembers welcome arriving guests

Patrons arrive for party

Board member Patti Linden checks in patrons

Hostess Gail Israel welcomes guests

Associate Producer Susie Yure and volunteers

Fall 5th Anniversary Party October 14 2012

Boardmember and artist Marilee Tolwin

Fine Art by Marilee Tolwin

History of Salons display

Delicious array as always

Food display

Actors preparing in green room

The technical team prepares

Cindy Paley summons the audience with a song

Musician Cindy Paley and audience

Boardmember and Fall Party Chair Lynne Himelstein

Artistic Director Ronda Spinak Welcome

Director Ellyn Gersh Lerner Honoring JWT Artists-In-Residence

Actress Sohaila Zivari

Kate Zentall performing “I Never Heard of Violet” by Leah Kornfeld Friedman