Stories from the Fringe: Women Rabbis, Revealed!

ARTIST BIOS

EVE BRANDSTEIN (Director), one of Hollywood’s most prodigious workers, 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 after her debut as a film maker at AFI. 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 as well as the dramatic series shot in Australia, “Beastmaster”, “The Ponderosa”. She will be forever famous for having cast the rock’n’roll parody “Spinal Tap.”. She is presently producing and directed 2 documentaries – “The Girl In the Room “ stories from women in the comedy world and “Maybe You’ll Find Something There” Second Generation Holocaust Survivor’s journey back to her family’s life in the Carpathian Mountain. Eve is also a poet, journalist, artist as well as licensed psychotherapist.
ABBY FREEMAN (Associate Producer/Early Career Rabbis) is a classically-trained actress who studied at the Tisch School of Arts at New York University. She is a Co-founder of AiRealistic (www.airealistic.com), an aerial theatre company, and was a Captain and Performer for the hit show “De La Guarda.” She has choreographed and performed in New York and Los Angeles, as well as many international cities. She created original work for clients including The LA Philharmonic, Toyota, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, and Red Bull. Most recently, she performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 LA Philharmonic Gala. She has completed the first year of her MBA at the Anderson School of Management. She plans on continuing to work in Arts Management.
SHELLEY GAZIN (Artist) is an award-winning artist with support from the California Council for the Humanities, Righteous Persons Foundation, and Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Her seminal work Looking for a Rabbi, which she produced, designed and exhibited as a site-specific installation at the Skirball Cultural Center is based on her interviews and photographs of over 30 Los Angeles pioneering Rabbis. Additionally, Looking for a Rabbi has been exhibited in Arizona and along the East Coast. Most recently she presented it at the Association for Jewish Studies Conference with publication slated for 2010. Currently, she is conducting primary immersion photo-research and video documentation of the local Persian Jewish Community to be archived at UCLA.
BARI HOCHWALD (Mid-Career Rabbis) Ms. Hochwald received her BFA in acting from Syracuse University and completed graduate studies at the American Repertory Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard. She is a member of Actor’s Equity, SAG and AFTRA. In the United States she appeared in regional theatres throughout the country. In Los Angeles, Ms. Hochwald served as Associate Artistic Director and founder of fofo, a critically acclaimed post-modern theatre company. Additionally, she has worked in the development of over 50 new plays, and was nominated and awarded for her performances with The Drama Critics Circle Award, The Garland Awards, the Maddy Awards and the L.A. Weekly Awards. Her most recent performance in L.A. in Murray Mednick’s Fedunn was called “the best performance of the year” by LA Weekly Magazine. Ms. Hochwald has Guest Starred on productions including: “NYPD Blue”, “The Practice”, “Judging Amy”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Star Trek – Voyager, Enterprise” and “DS9”.
RABBI LYNNE A. KERN (Writer/Author) is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and is a poet and writer who has been published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies worldwide. She teaches classes for women in synagogues and is currently working on a Jewish Memoir. As a pulpit rabbi, she created innovative women’s programming focused on excavating the women’s voice in Torah, and the creation of ritual and spiritual writing. Currently, she is working on a documentary about women rabbis, and an accompanying theater piece. She is also in the process of writing two books.
DEENA NOVAK (Associate Producer) is a consultant and has managed theatre operations. Her imagination and suggestion sparked the reinvention of the former Jewish Women’s Theatre Project, and helped turn it into the current vision of a working theatre.
CINDY PALEY (Musician) brings the joys of Jewish music to teachers, students and families through her many performances and recordings as well as her work as Music Educator at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino where she has served since 1977.
RONDA SPINAK (Producer and Writer/Author) holds an MBA from UCLA, Masters in Professional Writing from USC and two degrees from Stanford. She has penned plays, notably “Oscar Wilde’s Wife” (Ashland New Play Festival, Odyssey Theatre, Dayton’s FutureFest), written for the Emmy-award winning show, “Rugrats”, authored a book (“ProBodX: The Path to True Fitness”, HarperCollins Publisher) as well as written poems, short stories, and screenplays. She is currently producing a documentary on LA women rabbis with two other JWT board members entitled, “On the Fringe”.
ROBERT TREBOR (All Male Characters and Announcer) recently finished an extended run of Peter Lefcourt’s “La Ronde de Lunch” at The Skylight Theatre and was nominated for an LA Weekly Award for his one-man show “The Return of Brother Theodore”, also at The Skylight. He has worked extensively in film, garnering acclaim for roles directed by Oliver Stone, John Frankenheimer, Roland Emmerich, and more recently Rob Zombie. He is perhaps best known for portraying The Son of Sam opposite Martin Sheen in the MOW “Out Of The Darkness” and Salmoneus the salesman in the “Hercules and Xena” TV series. He has written a best selling humorous book “Dear Salmoneus: The World’s First Guide To Love and Money,” and is currently writing his first novel with the working title “Become an Actor and Scare Your Folks.”
KATE ZENTALL (Rabbis Nearing Retirement) has appeared at the Public Theater and Carnegie Hall in NYC and at the Mark Taper in LA, among many other venues, and has also been seen in numerous TV series, MOWs, and films. She is now a writer and editor for the internet, magazines, and books.

THE PROGRAM

Written by Rabbi Lynne A. Kern & Ronda Spinak
Directed by Eve Brandstein
Associate Producers Deena Novak & Abby Freeman

Song of Welcome Cindy Paley
Welcome Ronda Spinak, JWT’s Producing Artistic Director
A Peek Inside the Project Rabbi Lynne A. Kern & Ronda Spinak

Stories From the Fringe: Women Rabbis, Revealed!

The parts of eighteen women rabbis are played by:
Abby Freeman, Bari Hochwald, and Kate Zentall
All Male Roles played by: Robert Trebor

One: Who Was the First?
Two: The Calling—Why a Rabbi?
Three: God
Four: Obstacles
Five: Being Counted
Six: I Enjoy Being a Girl, Woman.
Seven: Marrying the Rabbi
Eight: Motherhood
Nine: In The Service Of
Ten: Holy Moments
Eleven: Radical Rabbi
Twelve: Rabbi as Social Activist
L’ Dor V’ Dor: From Generation to Generation

Closing Remarks Ronda Spinak
Closing Song Cindy Paley
Intermission
Q & A with the Audience

GALLERY

Rabbi Lynne Kern discussing the process of the documentary and stage play

Musician Cindy Paley

Actress Bari Hochwald

Actor Robert Trebor

Actress Kate Zentall