Sex, Addiction & Love in the 21st Century – our first ever Zoom Salon!

June 27, 28 & 29, 2020

These dangerous, outrageous and oftentimes tender stories of the carnal sort will leave you panting and wanting more!

PRESS

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE HERE

THE PROGRAM

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

Burning Me Up
Walk-in music written and recorded by Pontea.

The Night I Fall in Love
Written by Farnaz Solomon. Performed by Jasmine Curry, Sionne Elise, and Joshua Silverstein.

The Rose of Sharon
Written by Robin Uriel Russin. Performed by Michael Gabiano, Joshua Silverstein, and Jasmine Curry.

Donna
Written by Eve Lederman. Performed by Sionne Elise and Jasmine Curry.

Man Cave
Written and performed by Joshua Silverstein.

Love Lost
Written by Libby Schwartz. Performed by Jasmine Curry.

Not Going Anywhere
Music and lyrics by Sionne Elise. Performed by Sionne Elise.

Donning the Mask
Written by David Masello. Performed by Michael Gabiano.

The Hand-Me-Down Date
Written by Arla Sorkin Manson. Performed by Sionne Elise, Joshua Silverstein, and Michael Gabiano.

My Name is X
Written by X. Performed by Jasmine Curry and Joshua Silverstein.

In Her Left Hand
Written by Molly M. Murray. Performed by Sionne Elise.

Come Be
Music and lyrics by Jack Bradley. Performed by Michael Gabiano and Sionne Elise.

The Magic of Shel’s Birth — A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre.
Written and performed by Joshua Silverstein.

ARTIST BIOS

LIZ ALTMAN (Writer) 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; 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.

PONTEA BANAYAN (Songwriter) was born and raised in LA and writes songs of empowerment, self-love, and relatable experiences of the human condition, showcasing her pop-driven songwriting and vocal abilities. She has performed coast to coast with her multi-form shows featuring sponta- neous beat boxing, piano, and a steel pan drum, all testament to her eclectic flair. Find more informa- tion and links to her music at iampontea.com.

SUSAN BASKIN (Dramaturg) wrote the Academy Award winning Film, Violet, and has written extensively for television and film. Her essays have been published in The Los Angeles Times Magazine and Los Angeles Magazine. Susan has written a number of pieces for JWT including “I, Citizen,” which was commissioned by Jewish Women’s Theatre. She is currently at work on a novel.

JACK BRADLEY (Songwriter) is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer originally from New Orleans. He was raised in Los Angeles, where he currently resides. A mostly self-taught musician, he has composed original music for film, and writes/performs his own original songs. He enjoys the “Three B’s”: breakfast food, banjos, and good books. More of his work can be heard at www.jackbradleymusic.com.

JASMINE CURRY (Actor) trained at New York University, Experimental Theatre Wing, and was a resident actor at Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley, PA. She studied improv and sketch writing with The Groundlings Theatre and iO West. Jasmine has worked in educational theatre with Writers Room Productions, California Weekly Explorer, and The Imagination Machine. Most recently she portrayed the Stage Manager in Our Town at Pierce College and will be appearing in Noises Off this May.

SIONNE ELISE (Actor/Songwriter) graduated magna cum laude from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television. Apart from today’s show, you’ll see her appear in two upcoming feature films, Killer Cheerleader on the LifeTime Network and Sign Man, hitting the festival circuit in January 2021. Sionne is more than excited to reprise her performance with Jewish Women’s Theatre, telling incredible stories with incredible performers. Thank you and enjoy! IG: @sionneelise

ANDREW FROMER (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.

MICHAEL GABIANO (Actor) NYC Theatre: World premieres of Awaken the Wolves (Spotlight On/ New Village Productions), Steven McElroy, director; The Amaziiing Colossal Thing (Vital Theatre Co.), David Hilder, director. LA Theatre: The Man Who Came to Dinner (Group Rep), Bruce Kimmel, director; Hillary and Monica (Argus Productions), Joel Zwick, director; Reunion (Blackhart Productions), Kay Cole, director; Saturday Night at Grossinger’s (TheatreWest), Susan Morgenstern, director; Naked Christmas (P6/Celebration Theatre), Jonathan Levit, director. Regional: Raft of the Medusa (NJ Repertory Co.), ART, The SantaLand Diaries (Tri-State Actors Theatre), Amadeus (D’ART/ Wilton Playshop), Twelfth Night (Performance Studio). Film: Sam Hu’s Last Day, A 2nd Opinion, Never Say Macbeth. Television: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, General Hospital, Days of our Lives, Sean Saves the World, The Horrible, Terrible Misadventures of David Atkins. Michael holds a BA in theatre from Western Connecticut State University and is represented by MINC Talent.

SUZANNA KAPLAN (Literary Manager) was born in Mexico City and grew up speaking English at home and Spanish everywhere else. Following economic uncertainty, she moved to the US where she partnered with her best friend in a translation service and language school. They did well and, being young, sold it as soon as they could and used the money to travel, eventually winding up in Israel. That trip stretched out to six years, a husband and a baby. Back in the US, Suzanna worked in Hispanic advertising and wrote for Spanish-language TV. Her greatest pleasure these days is writing, producing, and working with the wonderful women of JWT when not caring for the two most marvelous creatures known as grandchildren.

CAROL KIRSH (San Francisco/Bay Area Producer), a social worker by training, worked as an execu- tive search consultant in Hong Kong for eight years before returning to the US where she has volun- teered and served on boards for social services agencies in both San Francisco and Honolulu. Carol produces Jewish Women’s Theatre in the Bay Area, where she hosted its first “at home” salon in San Francisco in 2012.

EVE LEDERMAN (Writer) has told stories on stage in New York at the Players Club, the Bryant Park Reading Room, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage and she will appear at the People’s Improv Theater in New York in May. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times and her book, Letters from My Sister, was published by Skyhorse Publishing and Audible. In 2019, Eve’s play To Life was mounted by Theater for the New City in New York and Nothing But the Truth was produced by Post Productions in Ontario, Canada. Her work has been recognized by the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Association for Theatre in Higher Education/Award of Excellence in Playwriting, the BBC’s International Playwriting Competition, the Princess Grace Award/New Dramatists, and the ScreenCraft Stage Play Competition, among others.

ARLA SORKIN MANSON (Writer) has written numerous television pilots, including Destiny and Me (ABC), Far from Where (ABC), The Shack (ABC), In the Mood (CBS), Loveland (CBS), and Bethany Gibbs (NBC), and has also written for the television series Against the Law (FOX) and Saved (TNT). Her TV-movie credits include The Wedding Dress (CBS) as executive producer, Mind Games (ABC) as writer/executive producer, and Acts of Contrition (CBS) as supervising producer. Arla’s contributions to Broadway theater include being co-producer on Beth Henley’s The Wake of Jamey Foster and production executive on Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy, Tom Dulack’s Solomon’s Child, and the Craig Carnelia musical Is There Life After High School? Arla has served on the board of directors and is currently on the advisory council and the selection committee of the Ojai Playwrights Conference. Arla is an Abby Freeman artist-in-residence for Jewish Women’s Theatre. She dedicates this reading to her husband, David Manson, and her daughter, Lainie Sorkin Becky.

DAVID MASELLO (Writer) is a widely-published essayist, feature writer, poet, and playwright. A longtime magazine editor and writer, having held senior editorial positions at Town & Country, Art & Antiques, Travel & Leisure, and other periodicals, he is currently executive editor of Milieu, a magazine about design. Prior to his magazine work, he was a nonfiction editor at Simon and Schuster and has authored two books about architecture and art. His essays and features have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including the New York Times and Best American Essays. His plays have been produced by Chelsea Repertory, AND Theatre Company, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, and the National Arts Club. He is an active participant in Read650.org, a live-essay reading series. He teaches a course at Sarah Lawrence College on the subject of writing about art. Although Manhattan is where he lives and works, he comes from Evanston, Illinois, which will always feel like home.

SUSAN MORGENSTERN (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 performing arts camp in upstate New York.  In Los Angeles, Susan has directed several shows at Theatre West, including Saturday Night at Grossinger’s, book by Stephen Cole, music by Claibe Richardson; and Barbara Nell Beery’s play, The Socialization of Ruthie Shapiro.  At the Falcon/Garry Marshall Theatre, she directed Leap, by Arnold Margolin, Surviving Sex, by David Landsberg, and the hit comedy, The Psychic, by Sam Bobrick.  Susan directed Happy Days, a New Musical, book by Garry Marshall, music/lyrics by Paul Williams, at Cabrillo Music Theatre.  She directed an extended-run production of Meryl Cohn’s comedy Reasons to Live at the Skylight Theatre.  She co-authored and directed I’m Not Famous: A Musical Journey with Barbara Minkus, which had an extended 2017 run at the Santa Monica Playhouse.  Susan also works as a consultant show director at Disneyland Parks and Resorts.  She has directed numerous JWT salon shows, and most recently,  Annie Korzen: Famous Actress, at JWT’s performance and art space, The Braid.

MOLLY M. MURRAY (Writer) is a board-certified physician assistant who practices emergency medicine near Newark, New Jersey, and has a special interest in palliative care. She graduated with a master’s in health sciences from Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, and a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is also passionate about animal rescue and rehabilitation.

LISA PEARL ROSENBAUM (Dramaturge/Writer/Programming Director of The Braid) 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.

ROBIN URIEL RUSSIN (Writer), a professor of screenwriting and playwriting at UC Riverside, has written, produced, and directed for film, TV, and the theatre. Credits include Warner Bros.’s On Deadly Ground; Fox’s America’s Most Wanted; and ABC’s Vital Signs. He recently directed the indie feature When I Sing, co-starring Chris Mulkey, which won the People’s Choice Award at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival; the Special Jury Award for best low-budget feature film at Worldfest Houston; and Best U.S. Feature and Grand Jury Award at Borderlands Film Festival, among others. The Los Angeles Times found his play, Painted Eggs, “ambitious, heart-felt and hypnotic,” while his The Face in the Reeds had a four-month run at the Ruskin Group Theater. Robin serves as chair of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival’s National Playwriting Program for Region 8 and is co-author with William Missouri Downs of Naked Playwriting and Screenplay: Writing the Picture. A Rhodes Scholar, he has degrees from Harvard, Oxford, RISD, and UCLA, where he received his MFA in screenwriting.

LIBBY SCHWARTZ (Writer) always enamored by the theatre, made her debut starring in Goldilocks in kindergarten. Unfortunately, no talent scout was present. Later, she realized she was chosen because she was the only blonde in her class. However, through her long life, she has played many roles including mother of four: Dan a retired professor, Alan an author, screenwriter and producer, Anne a retired draftswoman and Sandra, a professor in Chile. She is also a grandmother and great-grandmother, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hunter College, volunteer with the Red Cross AWVC, international president of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, community activist, and director of the Women’s NYC division of the American Cancer Society for over 20 years. She’s writing her memoir, and under JWT auspices, wrote three produced stories, and a YouTube message for everyone to write their life stories, thereby leaving a living legacy for their families.

DAPHNA SHULL (JWT Creative Associate/NEXT Literary Manager) is a four-time NEXT Arts Council Fellow, literary manager, writer, artist and photographer born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Daphna has been featured as a writer, songwriter and visual artist in multiple JWT productions and her book, The Quiet Things, is for sale on Amazon. Along with working at JWT, Daphna is a teaching artist at Cayton Children’s Museum and runs her own photography business, Happy Life Kids Photography. www.happylifekidsphotography.com.

JOSHUA SILVERSTEIN (Writer/Actor) is an award-winning actor, comic, writer, beatboxer, and educator whose performances and productions throughout the country have prompted admiration from creative greats ranging from Norman Lear to Prince. For more than 20 years, Joshua has provided and facilitated theater, improvisation, and spoken-word workshops and in-school residencies designed to create a safe and open space for students of all ages to experience the freedom of creative expression. Joshua brings passion, play, and persuasion to make words, thinking, and expression infectiously fun. During the school year, Joshua serves as the cohost and co-producer of Emmy Award–winning Downbeat 720, a high school open-mic that has been a staple of Santa Monica for the last 16 years. Joshua also performs for The Late-Late Show with James Corden on the segment “Drop The Mic” and on the weekly stand-alone half-hour TNT series, Drop the Mic.

FARNAZ SOLOMON (Writer), an American-Iranian Jewish author, was born in Tehran in 1971. At the age of seven she emigrated with her parents to America during the onset of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. She received her BA in foreign languages from UCLA and her JD degree from Southwestern Law School, married her handsome husband and soulmate, Dr. Sid Solomon, and together they have raised four beautiful children. Farnaz began writing under the tutelage of her high school teacher and life mentor to this day, Dr. Sheilah Wilson Serfaty. As a busy working mother of four, Farnaz never took enough pictures but always cherished the moments and memories of her life. She finally decided to write the pictures she never took and thus began a series of autobiographical vignettes written with hindsight and insight that celebrate the arc of her life. Farnaz Solomon currently lives in and loves Los Angeles.

RONDA SPINAK (Producer/JWT Artistic Director) created and produces JWT’s At-Homes Salon Theatre Series, now in its tenth season. She has curated more than 35 original Jewish-themed salon shows for JWT, as well as adapted many of the pieces performed. Spinak developed and produced Not That Jewish at JWT’s The Braid, which ran for 16 months, garnered an LA Drama Critics Circle nomination, only stopping to move to off-Broadway, where the show ran for over 200 performances.  Spinak co-wrote Stories From the Fringe, putting the stories of women rabbis on stage for the first time. Since then, she and her team have interviewed on videotape, 150 national and international women rabbis, and in partnership with Jewish Women’s Archive have made many of the interviews available online at www. jwa.org. She’s the author of the critically acclaimed exercise book, ProBodX (HarperCollins), wrote for Rugrats, and her plays include Oscar Wilde’s Wife, a favorite at the Ashland New Play Festival. Spinak graduated from Stanford University, completed her MBA at UCLA and her masters in writing at USC. She has served as a grant reviewer for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, is on the board of the Alliance for Jewish Theatres and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. She feels blessed to be working with the many talented and inspiring women who give so generously to Jewish Women’s Theatre. Find more information: www.jewishwomenstheatre.org.

AYSHA WAX (Assistant Director) a writer, director, and comedian, is fun, witty, and unintentionally the loudest person in the room. She loves creating stories that are festive and feminist. Her web series Wannabees, co-created by Marian Bruno, was sold to Fox Digital in 2014. Aysha has also had her sketches featured on Buzzfeed, Funnyordie, Wifey TV, and WhoHaHa and has performed improv and sketch around Los Angeles at iO West, the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Westside Comedy Theater, the Pach Theater, and The Groundlings. Aysha also spent eight years teaching Hebrew school around Los Angeles, which inspired her one-woman show, Hebrew School Horror, which she toured around LA and NYC. She just completed her first short film, Grief Vigilantes, which she wrote and directed. When not creating things, Aysha moonlights as a dating consultant with her partner, Rebecca Leib. Their dating classes are known as “Feeling It” dating. Aysha can help you level up dating wise while enjoying the process and maybe finding a partner. She’s here to make your life a little better and more fun!

X (Writer) was born and raised in a major Northeastern city. My father was a rabbi, as were several other people on his maternal and paternal sides. While my father was not a pulpit rabbi, he was very visible in the community by virtue of working for several Jewish organizations. In many ways I was
a highly functional person. In other ways I was crippled by an illness—an addiction—coupled with low self-esteem. My parents are gone, so I could theoretically reveal my name, but I am sparing their memories. Perhaps someone will learn something from my experience—or perhaps I will simply understand it better.

SUSIE YURÉ (Director of Community Engagement/Associate Producer) has proudly worked with JWT for 7 years. She has volunteered 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, and cabaret performances. She holds a BA and MA in elementary education from USC, along with her California lifetime teaching credential. While at USC, she met her husband. Her favorite role is as mom to her two children and recently as a grandmother.

ROSE ZIFF (Special Projects Manager/Associate Producer) came out of retirement to work for JWT after working at UCLA Medical Center for 33 years, where she functioned as “den mother” to more than 1000 interns, residents, and clinical fellows at UCLA, the VA, and Olive View-UCLA Medical Centers, providing resources and support. Rose is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Lev Eisha, a Jewish women’s non-profit religious organization and spiritual community. Her hobbies include gardening, dog training and hosting a monthly book club.

GALLERY

Michael Gabiano in The Rose of Sharon.  “I looked and looked…”

Michael Gabiano in The Rose of Sharon.

Sionne Elise in Donna.