Hold Me, Heal Me

January 12-31, 2014

Listen to Hold Me, Heal Me (Abridged) on the JWT Podcast


How kindness comforts us even in our most broken moments. This evening of stories, poems, plays and songs will make you laugh, cry, and remember how acts of kindness impact your life.


Underwritten by generous donations from Gail Solo, in dedication to Dr. Edith Eger, and Gladys & David Layne

Produced by Ronda Spinak
Assistant Producer: Barbara Koletsky
Directed by Eve Brandstein
Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum

Associate Producers: Susie Yure´ and Rose Ziff

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

Sixties Girl
Written by Arla Sorkin Manson. Performed by Kate Zentall, Sean Topps, and Lisa Cirincione.

Drinks Before Flight
Written by Lisa Kenner Grissom. Performed by Lisa Cirincione and Sean Topps.

The Infected Finger
Written by Leah Kornfeld Friedman. Performed by Kate Zentall.

The Shabbos Goy
Written by Joanne Verdino. Performed by Lisa Cirincione.

In the Dark Silence
Music and Lyrics by Michele Brourman. Performed by Michele Brourman or Lisa Cirincione.

Unlikely Friends
Written and performed by Annie Korzen.

A Balm in Beverly Hills
Written by Faye Sholiton. Performed by Kate Zentall and Sean Topps.

A Dance, A Piece of Bread, and a Life
Words by Dr. Edith Eger. Adapted by Ronda Spinak. Performed by Lisa Cirincione and Annie Korzen.

O, Engineer
Written by Anna Belle Kaufman. Performed by Kate Zentall.

Written by Naomi Shihab Nye. Performed by the Ensemble.


EVE BRANDSTEIN (Director) has made contributions to nearly every facet of the entertainment industry. She has been a major studio executive, a producer, a director, writer/creator, talent manager and author. Eve has a very notable career as a casting director with hundreds of credits for major television and film projects. Some of her credits for casting over three decades include the feature This is Spinal Tap, and among her many television credits, Diff’rent Strokes, One Day At A Time, Facts of Life and Who’s The Boss, The Ponderosa, Little Men, and Beastmaster, to name a few. She has also produced and written series including E/R the comedy series and produced several features. She is currently producing Poetry In Motion in LA at Beyond Baroque and in New York at the Cutting Room. She is presently directing Shut Up, Sit Down & Eat and recently directed the premiere of Revisiting Wildfire and Ronnie Spector’s Beyond The Beehive. Eve is also the director of the Jewish Women’s Theater, “Stories From the Fringe”.
MICHELE BROURMAN (Songwriter) is a Johnny Mercer Songwriter Award winner whose songs have been recorded by Olivia Newton-John, Donny Osmond, Sheena Easton and more. Her best known song, “My Favorite Year”, recorded by Michael Feinstein, Cleo Laine and Margaret Whiting, has become a cabaret standard. Broadway World recently wrote: “Brourman is an unquestionably amazing talent, whose music should be heard by the whole world.” She composed the score for Dangerous Beauty, produced at the Pasadena Playhouse, with lyricist Amanda McBroom. She and McBroom created the songs for sixteen animated features for Universal Studios including the beloved Land Before Time series. Her musical I Married Wyatt Earp, with lyrics by Sheilah Rae, was produced off Broadway and her songs have been featured in television and film. Michele’s CD, Fools and Little Children, is available online.
LISA CIRINCIONE (Actor) is a television, film and stage actress who has shot two national commercials this month, for Sky Italia with Sandra Oh and Pizza Hut. She is currently starring in the LA Times Critic’s Choice production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge at Pacific Resident Theatre, now in its fourth month of a sold out run. Recent projects include the film Wini + George, which won Best Dramatic Short at Outfest 2013, and the on-going web series Mrs. Gary, guest starring Ed O’Neil. Lisa is a graduate of the B.F.A. Acting program at University of Southern California and is fluent in Italian and Spanish. She would like to thank her incredible Sicilian-Jewish family for all their love and support.
DR. EDITH EGER (Writer) is a prolific author and a member of several professional associations. She has a clinical practice in La Jolla, California and holds a faculty appointment at the University of California, San Diego. She has appeared on numerous television programs including Oprah Winfrey and was the primary subject of a holocaust documentary that appeared on Dutch National Television. She is frequently invited to make speaking engagements throughout the United States, Mexico, and abroad.
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 three 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 screenplay, Should’ve Been Romeo, features Ed Asner, Carol Kane, Paul Ben-Victor and Michael Rappaport. She is currently working on a book of monologues called Essie Finkelstein, Monologues for an Actress.
LISA KENNER GRISSON (Writer) Lisa’s play Tattoo You won the 2013 National 10-Minute Play Award from The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. It also won the 2013 Samuel French Off Broadway Festival and will be published in an upcoming anthology. Her full-length play Motherland was a 2013 semi-finalist for the Jewish Plays Project. Her work has been presented and/or developed at The Kennedy Center, Manhattan Theatre Source, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and The Road Theatre Company, among others. B.A. Wesleyan University; MFA Lesley University. Member: Dramatist Guild, Fell Swoop Playwrights, The Playwrights Union.
ANNA BELLE KAUFMAN (Writer) is an artist and art psychotherapist, now retired to the countryside in Northern California with her husband and two goats, Yankl and Yosl. Her writing has appeared in The Sun, Utne Reader, Calyx and other publications. More of her poems and prose are to be found on: http://objectsofmyaffections.wordpress.com/
BARBARA KOLETSKY (Assistant Producer) has produced many events, specializing in charitable organizations as well as the corporate and private sectors. She is a fundraiser for UCLA Food Closet for Children and Children of the Night. As a co-owner of Crown Car Wash Los Angeles and owner of RSVP Party Planning, she was responsible for all aspects of the businesses. Barbara was born in New York and moved to California in the late sixties. Additionally, she has worked in marketing and promotions for Polygram Records in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
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 on OldJewsTellingJokes.com. Annie has created a full evening of her stories called Tales from the Mouth: Mishaps, Fiascos, and Other Triumphs.
JAMES LEVINSON (Technical Director) graduated from Santa Monica High School in 2010. At the Allegheny College he acted in two productions, The Cherry Orchard, where he played Yepikhod