Saffron & Rosewater

March 19-22, 2012


Produced & Adapted by Ronda Spinak
Directed by Eve Brandstein
Co-Produced by Jessica Youseffi

Associate Producer: Susie Yure´

Gole Sangam (Flower of Stone)
Vocals by Niki Black

Persian Gardens
Written by Gina Nahai, Performed by The Cast

What Mattered
Written by Angella Nazarian, adapted from Life As a Visitor
Performed by Roxana Rastegar, Sohaila Zivari, Wendy Colman Levin, and Gamal J. Palmer

Barnard College
Written by Esther Amini, Performed by Sharon Eisman, Wendy Colman Levin and Sohaila Zivari

Becoming American
Written by Gina Nahai, Performed by Roxana Rastegar, Wendy Colman Levin, and Sohaila Zivari

Saffron Rice and Cranberry Sauce
Written by Esther Amini adapted from A Persian Thanksgiving, published in The Jewish Week, Performed by Roxana Rastegar

Music and lyrics by Niki Black, Performed by Niki Black

A Poem By Rumi
Performed by Wendy Colman Levin and Sohaila Zivari, On Violin Nazanin Eliahoo


ESTHER AMINI (Writer) lives in Manhattan and is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. She is presently working on a collection of short stories, entitled Leaving Mashhad. Her stories have appeared in The Jewish Week and Barnard Magazine.
NIKI BLACK (Singer) is an 11th grader at the Marlborough School in Los Angeles, where she is active in the performing arts, participating in school musicals, numerous ensembles, and the school choir. Niki is involved in community service, sharing her passion for music with organizations such as Project MuszEd, a program for underprivileged area youth. Niki is currently serving as musical director for the Third Street Elementary School’s musical production of The Jungle Book.
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, 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 June 1, 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.
WENDY COLMAN LEVIN (Actor) Wendy was a Theater Arts major at Brandeis University, studied acting in London and has performed in a variety of plays, daytime series and television specials over the years. More recently she has done workshop work in and around LA and at her synagogue. Wendy, a mother of two, also has a Ph.D. in Public Health and currently works with the Business Leaders Task Force on Homelessness. This is Wendy’s second appearance with Jewish Women’s Theatre.
GINA NAHAI (Writer) is a best-selling author and a professor of Creative Writing at USC. Her novels have been translated into 18 languages, and have been selected as “One of the Best Books of the Year” by the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. She is the winner of the Los Angeles Arts Council Award, the Persian Heritage Foundation’s Award, the Simon Rockower Award, and the Phi Kappa Phi Award. Her writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Magazine, and Huffington Post. She writes a monthly column for the The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, is a frequent lecturer on the contemporary politics of the Middle East, has been a guest on PBS, CNBC and the NPR affiliate KCRW (The Politics of Culture). Nahai holds a B.A. and an M.A. in International Relations from UCLA, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from USC. She lives in Los Angeles, where she’s at work on a new novel.