The Accidental Activist

January 20-30, 2018

A moving and humorous show about people who act to right a wrong, help the helpless, or bring forth a smile where there was no hope.

PRESS

Observations Along the Road

DOWNLOAD PRESS RELEASE HERE

THE PROGRAM

Adapted, Curated & Produced by Ronda Spinak
Produced by Suzanna Kaplan
Directed by Susan Morgenstern
Dramaturge Lisa Rosenbaum
South Bay Producer Liz Altman
SF Bay Area Producer Carol Kirsh
Assistant Producer/Stage Manager Barbara Koletsky,
Associate Producers Susie Yuré and Rose Ziff
Artistic Associate Daphna Shull

WELCOME – Ronda Spinak, JWT Artistic Director

Try Not to Get Killed
Written by Linda Geffin.  Performed by Vicki Juditz.

Political Positions
Written by Alan Zweibel.  Performed by Robert Keller and Emma Berdie Donson.

Legacy
Written by Janet Madden.  Performed by Arva Rose.

Green New Day
Written by Vicki Juditz.  Performed by Vicki Juditz, Emma Berdie Donson, and Arva Rose.

Uncle Simon
Written by Arva Rose.  Performed by Arva Rose and Robert Keller.

Accidental Activism
  Worthy of Love written by Mary Mandie Davis.  Performed by Emma Berdie Donson and Vicki Juditz.
Kindness Equals Activism written by Sherri W. Morr.  Performed by Arva Rose and Vicki Juditz.
Hunger to Serve written by Irv Cramer.  Performed by Robert Keller.

My Blessed Journey
Written by Elaine G.F. Hall.  Performed by Emma Berdie Donson and ensemble.

Born and Born and Born and Born
Written by Rossi (AKA Chef Rossi).  Performed by Vicki Juditz, Emma Berdie Donson, and Arva Rose.

Comfort Station
Written by Darcy Heller Sternberg.  Performed by Emma Berdie Donson and Robert Keller.

The Chairs
Written by Libby Schwartz.  Performed by Arva Rose and ensemble.

I Am
Written by Rosanne Ziering.  Performed by ensemble.

ARTIST BIOS

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.

IRVING CRAMER (Writer)’s Eastern European family arrived in Los Angeles 121 years ago, never investing in property, and so he has always worked to sustain his family and community. His career in nonprofits has been immensely rewarding; in the 1970s and 1980s he worked on behalf of a then young Israel, arranging to ransom Jews from Eastern Europe before the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1985 he founded MAZON A Jewish Response to Hunger here in Los Angeles and ran that organization for fifteen years, raising money and funding anti-hunger efforts. After a short stint running a large foundation, Cramer now volunteers for such efforts as J Street and Death Penalty Focus, a statewide organization dedicated to abolishing the death penalty in California.

MARY MANDIE DAVIS (Writer), the founder of Worthy of Love, is devoted to helping children experiencing homelessness feel loved and appreciated. Worthy of Love is a social venture dedicated to sponsoring unforgettable birthday parties for kids who live on Skid Row and who would not otherwise have the opportunity to celebrate. The idea for the parties originated after Mary had a miscarriage and she and her husband decided to help improve other children’s lives rather than focus on their grief. They have held monthly celebrations since January 2013. Mary has also worked with the Los Angeles Poverty Department in the first arts program for homeless people in the city. The organization’s goal is to use theatre and other arts to improve the lives of people who live on Skid Row, raising awareness for the many issues that plague the community, such as gentrification and criminalization of poverty.

EMMA BERDIE DONSON (Actor) grew up in Ossining, NY, and graduated with a BFA in acting (High Honors) from the University of Michigan. Favorite roles include 9-year-old Edward and his mother Betty in Cloud Nine and Amanda in For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, which she had the great pleasure to perform for playwright Christopher Durang. Since moving to LA, Emma has begun a new journey as an independent film producer and casting assistant. She is currently producing her second feature film, Born That Way. She has had the good fortune to work with Christine Lahti (Chicago Hope), Mark Cendrowski (Big Bang Theory), Gregory Doran (RSC), and Charles Haid (Hill Street Blues, Breaking Bad). She loves spending sunny days outside with her 5.5-year-old fox terrier rescue, Winnie. She thoroughly enjoyed performing in JWT’s Matzo Ball Diaries last year. Thousand thanks to Susan and Ronda for the opportunity to work with JWT again! emmadonson.com.

LINDA GEFFIN (Writer) is a former chief of special prosecution unit and assistant district attorney. She filed and won lawsuits closing human trafficking locations; in what is believed to be a retribution hit, Linda was followed home and brutally assaulted. She has drawn national attention to trafficking through television appearances, a documentary, radio programs, and newspaper interviews. Among many honors, she is a recipient of Children at Risk’s Hero of the Month and of Blackwood Land Institute’s award for Outstanding Achievement in Social Justice. Linda currently divides her time driving with her two Dobermans from Houston to the Berkshires, where she delights in her daughter and two grandchildren. When she’s not driving she’s working on a book about her experiences.

ELAINE G.F. HALL “Coach E!” (Writer) is a pioneer in using inclusive theatre to engage individuals of all abilities. A top Hollywood acting coach, Elaine’s life changed dramatically when her son, adopted from a Russian orphanage, was diagnosed with autism. When traditional therapies did not work, Elaine developed a unique methodology to reach him.  She then founded The Miracle Project, an evidence-based theater and film program profiled in the Emmy-winning HBO film Autism: The Musical, based at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts and now replicated nationally and internationally. Receiving numerous honors for her work, Elaine has been featured on CNN, CBS, Oprah Winfrey Network, in the LA Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Jewish Journal among others. Her memoir, Now I See the Moon, was selected by the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day. She lives in Santa Monica with her son, Neal Katz, and husband, Jeff Frymer. Elaine is honored to be part of Jewish Women’s Theatre and often refers to herself as an accidental activist.

VICKI JUDITZ (Actor/Writer) Best known in LA for her one-woman show Teshuvah, Return about her journey to Judaism, Vicki has performed her original stories at theaters and festivals across the country, including the National Storytelling Festival and the Aspen LAFF Festival.  Her story Boca aired on KCRW’s UnFictional and Swing Dancing was featured in an episode of The Moth Radio Hour.  On TV, she has played comic roles on Coach, Everybody Loves Raymond, and My Name is Earl. This coming year Vicki will be performing at the Sierra Storytelling Festival in Northern California and with Storytelling Arts of Indiana in Indianapolis.

SUZANNA KAPLAN (Writer/ Producer) 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.

ROBERT KELLER (Actor) is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from frosty Toronto, Canada. He is an actor, comedian, and WASP-y Jew. He co-starred in the series finale of Beauty &am