God Plans, and Woman Laughs

March 17-24, 2013

Strong Jewish women face life’s unexpected turns. What happens to a bunch of talented Jewish women who make solid plans for their future, but life has something else in store for them?


Produced & Material Adapted by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Ellyn Gersh Lerner
Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum

Associate Producers: Abby Freeman & Susie Yuré

Welcome ~ Ronda Spinak, JWT Artistic Director
Janis Nelson, JWT Board Chair

Like Honey to the Ear
Written by Sarah Barash, Performed by Kate Zentall

A Jewish Pastry
Written by Anna Forward, Performed by Lisa Cirincione, Howard Krupnick & The Ensemble

Sarah and the Mariachi
Written by Suzanna Kaplan, Performed by Arva Rose & Howard Krupnick

Sacred Journey
Written by Julie Bram, Performed by Kate Zentall & The Ensemble

Holding it Close to the Mat
Written by Janice Kamenir-Reznik, Performed by Lisa Cirincione

Song of Hannah
Written and Performed by Sarah Hershberg

The Benefits of Health Care
Written by Kendra Jayne, Performed by Arva Rose

The Plan
Written by Susan Nanus, Performed by Kate Zentall, Annie Korzen & Howard Krupnick

Post Partum Blues – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written and performed by Annie Korzen

In Fine Print
Written by Bara Swain, Performed by Arva Rose & Kate Zentall

Music & Lyrics by Carole King, On Vocals Lisa Cirincione & The Ensemble


SARAH BARASH (Writer) is the poet-in-residence at Lev Eisha and also reads her work for Ahavat Torah. Her collection of “modern psalms” is titled Faithful Beyond Measure. She has just completed her first novel, Nothing To Be Ashamed Of, which is being edited. This is her third contribution to JWT.
JULIE BRAM (Writer) is a full time community volunteer and activist. She has a BA in Communication Studies (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and an MA in Education, both from UCLA. She is a founding partner of the Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund, is active at the American Jewish Committee and is an advisor to the founder of Israel Up Close, an organization dedicated to educating people around the world about modern day Israel. Julie currently serves on several advisory boards, including The American Friends of Hand in Hand, The Holy Land Democracy Project, Jewish World Watch, and Hebrew Union College School of Jewish Non-Profit Management, where she serves as chair of its Mentor Program. She is married to Steve Bram, who works unbelievably hard so she can play.
LISA CIRINCIONE (Actor/Vocalist) can most recently be seen as Laura Croft Tomb Raider in the trailer for the newly released video games as well as in the indie film Duet For One. Theatre Credits: Loyalties and Sweet Thursday at Pacific Resident Theatre, where she is a company member. Doublets and Hose (The Blank Theatre directed by April Webster), Lobby Hero and Great Falls (Pacific Stages) and the award winning Star Wars Trilogy in Thirty Minutes (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Lisa is also a singer and is currently moonlighting with a Jazz and Blues band. She holds a BFA in Acting from USC and is a founding member of The Florence International Theatre Company, Italy. Lisa is the founder of English Language Universal – an institute which teaches Accent Reduction and English to artists, actors and diplomats from around the globe.
ANNA FORWARD (Writer) a native Californian, is a kindergarten teacher by day, and an artist, writer, and story teller the rest of the time. Anna wrote and performed her own monologue in 2010 for the Monday Marsh series at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco. After seeing her mother, Kate Zentall, perform in a Jewish Women’s Theatre show in fall 2012, Anna was compelled to write her own story. She would like to thank her family for their incredible support, and especially her mama for being such an inspiration to her.
ABBY FREEMAN (Associate Producer) received her BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She was the captain of the hit off-Broadway show De La Guarda and has performed at NYC venues including BAM, The Daryl Roth, MOCA, NYSF, La Mama and Playwright’s Horizons. She was a co-founder of AiRealistic, an aerial theatre company, where she created original work for clients including The LA Philharmonic, Toyota, Johnson & Johnson and Red Bull. She performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 LA Philharmonic Gala, the opera Andre Chenier at the Bregenz Festival in Austria in 2011 and 2012., and for JWT at The Museum of Tolerance and The Fowler Museum at UCLA.
SARAH HERSHBERG (Singer/Songwriter) specializes in writing musical midrash — musical interpretations of the Bible. As a recording artist, among her albums are Women of the Bible, and with her late collaborator Sebastian Temple, Good Good, Genesis Too, and Moses in Story and Song, which was made into a TV program. She has appeared on radio and television numerous times. Hershberg was the first woman to write and perform a Friday Evening Sabbath Service. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley where she earned a BA in music.
KENDRA JAYE (Writer) is a writer, comedienne, attorney and social activist who ardently supports the Jewish Community.
JANICE KAMENIR-REZNIK (Writer) is the Co-founder and President of Jewish World Watch, co-founded with Rabbi Harold Schulweis to mobilize American Jewry to fight genocides and mass atrocities, and to provide relief to survivors. Janice practiced law for 25 years, retiring as a partner of Jeffer, Mangels, Butler and Marmaro to start JWW. She received her BA and JD from UCLA, a MSW from USC and a MA in Jewish Non-Profit Management from Hebrew Union College. Janice served as President, California Women Lawyers and California Women’s Law Center, as Trustee of the LA County Bar and the California State Bar’s Trust Fund. For JWW, Janice travels extensively to Darfuri refugee camps and to Eastern Congo to bear witness and to establish and fund various recovery and economic development projects.
SUZANNA KAPLAN (Writer) was born in Mexico City to an American mother and Mexican father. She performed on some of Mexico’s famous Vaudeville stages, and acted in commercials, films, and on stage. Kaplan moved to the US where she started a translation service and language school. In Israel she married and had a baby. She also worked for a production company, writing and producing film scripts and museum guides used for fundraising worldwide. Back in the US, Kaplan read scripts for her husband, a producer of TV and feature films. She also worked in freelance in Hispanic advertising. Kaplan’s writing credits include: a novel, five feature length scripts, several television treatments, a produced one-hour drama for Hispanic TV (Telemundo) and a segment for a TV show on Fox network.
ANNIE KORZEN (Writer/Performer) was the recurring Doris Klompus on Seinfeld. She played John Turturro’s mother in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Jason Alexander’s sister in Neil Simon’s Prisoner of 2nd Avenue. She has performed her solo shows Yenta Unplugged and The Yenta Cometh on three continents. Annie is the author of Bargain Junkie: Living the Good Life on the Cheap. She has done humorous essays for NPR’s Morning Edition, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and many more. Roger Ebert suggested on Twitter that you watch Annie onOldJewsTellingJokes.com. Annie has created a full evening of her stories called Tales from the Mouth: Mishaps, Fiascos, and Other Triumphs.
HOWARD KRUPNICK (Actor) left Show Business in 1962. In 1975, he decided to get back into the business. On the big screen, Howard can be seen in Earl’s Your Uncle, Escape from Heavenly Acres, One Hour at the Butterfly, The Rat Pack, Why 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.
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.
SUSAN NANUS (Writer) is a playwright, screenwriter, teacher, rabbinical student at the Academy of Jewish Religion, and most important, a mother. Susan is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, and has had plays produced both off and on Broadway, as well as 16 television movies produced on network and cable television. In addition to her writing and her studies, she is also the Director of Adult Programs at Wilshire Boulevard Temple and the Coordinator of Senior Programs at the Westside Jewish Community Center.
TONY PERSICO (Technical Director) has a passion for acting that was apparent at birth, with his first steps walking out of the cradle and onto the stage. By the age of seventeen he had performed in over 52 plays and skits ranging from Chicago’s Elite to inner city youth outreach programs. He was born and raised in Chicago, IL, starting his studies at Caryn International Academy for Film and Arts in St. Paul Minnesota. Through the nine years he has lived in LA, Tony has studied with Larry Moss & Michelle Danner, taken direction from Deborah Aquila and shaken the hands of directors such as Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone. He now works as the Technical Director for The Edgemar Center for the Arts & Associate TD for The Electric Lodge.
ARVA ROSE (Actor) played her first part at 19, as Shirley Kaplan in Elmer Rice’s Street Scene. In graduate school at Brandeis, she played Bessie Berger in Clifford Odet’s Awake and Sing for the American Jewish Theater. Thirty years later, she became a frequent performer at The Jewish Women’s Theatre. Last year, Arva played Ida Kantor in Crossing Delancey, this past season she starred in a new play, Surviving Mama, at the Edgemar theater. Additional credits: American Stage Festival (Miracle Worker: Annie Sullivan, Streetcar: Stella, The Apple Tree: Passionella, Front page: Molly Malloy) The Theater Company of Boston (Night Dispatcher: Pamela)The Hartman Theater, (Streetcar: Eunice) Hudson Guild Theater (House of Blue Leaves: Bunny) Geva Theatre (Front Page: Molly Malloy). On TV: As The World Turns, Inmates: A love story, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Nightcourt, Cheers, LA Law, Hill Street Blues.
LISA PEARL ROSENBAUM (Dramaturge) is the author of the novel, A Day of Small Beginnings (Little, Brown & Co. 2006). When not engaged with All Things JWT she works on her new novel about the destruction of ancient Indian mounds at Cahokia, Illinois, the Blacklist, America’s interstate highways and oh yes, love. Lisa lives in Pacific Palisades with her husband, Walt Lipsman. They have two daughters, Ariana and Maya.
RONDA SPINAK (Artistic Director/Producer) created the At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its fifth season, and has developed and produced 14 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. She is currently producing the documentary film about women rabbis, 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 is grateful for the many blessings she’s received from her work with Jewish Women’s Theatre.
BARA SWAIN (Writer) has had her work performed in venues across the country in 13 states, including City Theatre (FL), Potluck Productions (MO), Salem Theatre Company (MA), Theater Works (TN), Flint City Theater Festival (MI), Dubuque Fine Arts Festival (MO), Stage Door Productions (VA), and Theatre Under the Stars (NH). Recent productions: 48 and Rachel Holds Court, FAB Unframed at Barrow Group; Aboard the Guy V. Molinari, 2011 Heideman Award finalist; Give And Take, Best 10-minute Plays 2013, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Best 10-Minute Plays 2012; How Could You?, Art Age Press; and by special invitation from Burt Reynolds, An Evening With Bara Swain, BRIFT, Jupiter, Florida, directed by Burt Reynolds. She serves as Development Associate & Playwriting Outreach Coordinator, Abingdon Theatre Company, NYC.
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, 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. She is immediate-past president of Lev Eisha, a woman’s non-profit religious organization and spiritual community. Her favorite role is as mom to her two talented (grown) children, who are both professional (and working) musicians.
KATE ZENTALL (Actor) is proud to be an artist-in-residence at the JWT. She has performed in NYC venues including the Public Theater, Guggenheim Museum, and Carnegie Hall. In LA, there’s been lots of Shakespeare, Irish plays, English comedies, modern dramas, dinner theater — at the Taper and other companies around town – as well as movies, commercials, and a good deal of network TV, from series regular on Studio 5B to a recurring role on Hunter to guest spots on Cheers, Lou Grant, It’s a Living, Becker, and many more. Most recently she has been a writer and editor for magazines, books, and the internet. Kate considers herself a recovering actress who’s become increasingly lax about falling off the wagon. She believes she may be the only writer in LA not working on a script.


Pre-show treats!

The evening’s program

Patrons enjoy the desserts at the NCJW show

Pre-show coffee (photo courtesy of Cyndi Bemel)

Patrons checking in for the show (photo courtesy of Cyndi Bemel)

Board Member and writer Suzanna Kaplan & Family

Audience pre-show