Mapping of the Mind

Mental illness is no laughing matter, but these stories and poems just might surprise you with their humor, heart, courage and hope.
January 18 – 30, 2020

PRESS

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE HERE

THE PROGRAM

Material Adapted, Curated, & Produced by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Susan Morgenstern
Co-Produced by Laura Ornest
Dramaturg Lisa Rosenbaum
Literary Manager Suzanna Kaplan
South Bay Producer Liz Altman
San Francisco Bay Area Producer Carol Kirsh
Assistant Director Aysha Wax
Assistant Artistic Director Andrew Fromer
Associate Producers Rose Ziff, Susie Yuré
Artistic Associate Daphna Shull
Stage Manager Amanda Horowitz

MO’s Journal #1*
Written by Maury Ornest. Adapted by Ronda Spinak from Ornest’s journals. Performed by Josh T. Ryan. *Musical introduction, “Maury’s Theme” by Mike Himelstein & Michael Turner.

Mental Health: A Subject Taken Seriously
Written by Rory A. Cohen. Performed by Nicole Lipp and Kate Zentall.

The Queen of MORE
Written by Julie Chafets Grass [adapted from The Queen of MORE, Poems by her Sidekick, ©2018 Julie Chafets Grass. All rights reserved.] Performed by Nadège August.

Let My Son Be Free
Written by Marc Littman. Performed by Josh T. Ryan and Ensemble.

Sharon: A Love Story
Written By Robyn Goodman Mandelberg. Performed by Nicole Lipp.

Post-Partum Blues – A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre Written by Annie Korzen.
Performed by Kate Zentall.

Three Years of Atonement
Written by Emily Jaffe. Performed by Nadège August.

MO’s Journal #2*
Written by Maury Ornest. Adapted by Ronda Spinak from Ornest’s journals. Performed by Josh T. Ryan

Go Away
Lyrics by Leeav Sofer. Music adapted from Kandel’s Hora by Leeav Sofer, of the Mostly Kosher Band. Used by permission. Performed by Nicole Lipp.

Who Are We Really?
Written by Arva Rose. Performed by Nadège August and Josh T. Ryan.

A Beautiful Soul
Written by Ronda Spinak. Performed by Kate Zentall.

When Mom Tried to Stab Magnolia
Written by Rossi. Performed by Nicole Lipp and Ensemble.

MO’s Journal #3*
Written by Maury Ornest. Adapted by Ronda Spinak from Ornest’s journals. Performed by Josh T. Ryan.

Successful and Schizophrenic – The New York Times Sunday Opinion Section Written by Elyn Saks.
Performed by Kate Zentall and Ensemble.

MO’s Journal #4*
Written by Maury Ornest. Adapted by Ronda Spinak from Ornest’s journals. Performed by Josh T. Ryan.

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.

NADÈGE AUGUST (Actor)

is proud to be an Abby Freeman Artist-in-Residence of Jewish Women’s Theatre. An award-winning actress, she is the creator, writer, and lead of Bougie Dilemma, on Amazon, and hosts the “What the Fockery?” podcast, available on all major platforms. Stage (partial list): CVRep: Good People (Kate) Outstanding Supporting Actress from Desert Theatre League. Antaeus Theatre: Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Emilie); Odyssey Theatre: Sunset Baby (Nina) NAACP Best Lead Actress nomination; Antaeus Theatre: Wedding Band (Mattie); Odyssey Theatre: Desire Under The Elms (Abbie Putnam) NAACP Best Supporting Female nomination; Lower Depth Theatre: Three Sisters After Chekhov (Jean). Television: Recurred on Alex, Inc (ABC). Guest Star: Key & Peele, Castle, Criminal Minds, Dexter, 1600 Penn, Happy Endings, Mr. Sunshine, The Mentalist, Make It or Break It, The Unit. Series Regular: SilverLake (Lead, pilot). Films & MOW include: Out of Time, Undercover Bridesmaid, Raven’s Touch, The Last Letter, The Brothers, Runt. An MFA graduate, Nadège is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio and a member of the Television Academy. For more details, go to imdb.com/nadegeaugust. Follow her on social media @NadegeAugust for more exciting news.

RORY A. COHEN (Writer), a junior in high school, excels in academics and is involved in the theater program at her school as an actress and costume director. At the age of seven she was diagnosed with ADHD, which continues to be a lifelong struggle. In eighth grade, having always suffered from anxiety, she was officially diagnosed with both social anxiety disorder and situational depression as a result of rather unfortunate social circumstances. Rory’s aspiration is to become a psychologist, as she has a passion for helping others.

ANDREW FROMER (JWT Assistant Artistic Director), a Los Angeles native, grew up as an active member in the Jewish community through Stephen Wise Temple. He attended Windward School in Mar Vista, where his career as an actor began in the school plays and musicals. After completing his BFA in theater at UC Santa Barbara and an exciting year of living in Israel, Andrew returned to LA for acting and producing. His TV credits include Never Have I Ever (Netflix) and Anger Management (FX); feature film credits include Highway to Havasu (Billy/Producer) and The Sweet Life (Mike/Assistant to Production). Andrew also edits and directs and is excited to be coordinating this year’s iteration of NEXT @ The Braid, JWT’s Emerging Artists Fellowship. Find out more info at www.jewishwomenstheatre.org/next. Andrew also serves as Teen Engagement Coordinator and Communications Manager for congregation Or Ami in Calabasas.

JULIE CHAFETS GRASS (Writer) is an expressive artist and poet whose creative curiosity takes her on colorful adventures. She has six brightly painted mannequin feet walking across her kitchen ceiling and a gorilla suit hanging in her front closet. She keeps M&Ms and Tootsie Rolls in her nightstand but eats them only in the dark. Julie’s book of published poems and original art, The Queen of MORE: Poems by Her Sidekick, takes an intimate look at the magic and challenges of being the daughter of a loving, bipolar mother. She has also published poems in literary journals that include Northwest Review, PoemMemoirStory, 88, Hawaii’s Review, Eureka Literary Magazine, Plainsongs, and Fiftiness. She reads her poetry at salons, bookstores, and other venues throughout Los Angeles.

MIKE HIMELSTEIN (Composer) has had more than 500 songs recorded by artists ranging from the Temptations, Al Jarreau, Stray Cats, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, Johnny Winter, and Joe Bonamassa to Julie Andrews, Mandy Moore, Dick Van Dyke, Martin Short, and William Shatner, among others. His songs have been featured in TV, films, and onstage in productions including Shrek (the Academy Award-winning movie and Broadway musical), Blades of Glory, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, The Sopranos, Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Special Agent Oso, Sheriff Callie’s Wild West, Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Splash & Bubbles. He has written several television theme songs and many songs for Disneyland Parks around the world. Mike is a three-time Emmy nominee, an Annie nominee, and the two-time winner of the Cynopsis Imagination Awards. He was a 2007 recipient of the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Award for his hit song God’s Gift to the World.

AMANDA HOROWITZ (Stage Manager) is a young adult who wants to spend her life organizing and creating new theater. She recently graduated with bachelor’s degrees in theater and math from The University of Alabama, where she stage managed and assistant stage managed eight shows in the theater department. She most recently directed a thirty-minute play as part of a new-works play festival in North Hollywood. She hopes someday to be able to run her own theater company dedicated to producing emerging theater and providing other young adults with their first paid opportunities in the arts. She is thankful to Jewish Women’s Theatre for providing her first step toward her professional career.

EMILY JAFFE (Writer) attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in religious studies. After graduation, she followed her childhood best friend, now husband, to Los Angeles. Over the past 20 years she has held a myriad of jobs— interior design assistant, public relations executive, cosmetics television spokesperson, television producer, writer, and graduate student in clinical psychology. But Emily’s most important job has been as a full-time mother to three children. She lives with her husband and kids in Sherman Oaks, belongs to both the IKAR and VBS communities, practices mindfulness meditation, and is currently writing her first novel.

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.

ANNIE KORZEN (Writer) has performed her solo show, ANNIE KORZEN FAMOUS ACTRESS, at JWT’s The Braid in Santa Monica for five months. She is proud to be a Moth Mainstage storyteller and will soon start touring the country with a new Moth story. Annie was the recurring Doris Klompus on Seinfeld, and she has written humorous essays for NPR’s Morning Edition, The New York Times, LA Times, and many more. The author of Bargain Junkie, Living the Good Life on the Cheap, she offers private coaching in storytelling. For additional info and videos, go to Anniekorzen.com.

NICOLE LIPP (Actor) is an actor/director/photographer born and raised in Los Angeles. She received her BFA in acting from UC Santa Barbara, where she acted in and directed several theatrical productions. Notable credits include Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire and Charlotte in These Shining Lives. Since returning to LA, Nicole switched from theater to on-camera work, acting in and directing several film and television projects, but she is thrilled to return to the stage with JWT. Off-camera, Nicole runs a social media marketing agency, AYF Media, where she creates Instagram content for brands. In all facets of her life, if she is creating, she is happy. Follow Nicole on Instagram @flowerhitstheBIGtime or visit her website www.theNicoleLipp.com to see more of her work. (

MARC LITTMAN (Writer) is a Los Angeles­–based writer and the father of William, who has autism. William inspired Marc to write the novel Eddie and Me on the Scrap Heap and recently a stage play based on that book. It’s about a heroic young boy with autism who positively transforms the lives of some very unusual and dysfunctional characters—family and friends—who are trying to fix Eddie because they think he’s broken. The story takes place in a special junkyard, a metaphor for Eddie’s life, but Eddie, like so many others with special needs, has great strength and talents to overcome his challenges. Marc’s son is just as resilient as Eddie. He volunteers to do speeches at local schools to promote acceptance of people with special needs and thwart bullying

ROBYN GOODMAN MANDELBERG (Writer) earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Alliant International University and has practiced psychotherapy with both children and parents. She is on the executive board of the Friends of the Semel Institute, a nonprofit organization to fund research in psychiatry at UCLA and to reduce the stigma of mental illness. She has been married for 16 years and has a 13-year-old-daughter. They live in Westwood with their beagle-mix, Calloway.

SUSAN MORGENSTERN (JWT Producing 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 performin