The Way Home

Whether searching for community, embracing shelter, grappling with tradition or venturing into the unknown, home is personal and powerful to us all. What does it mean, physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually, to find your way home?
June 8-18, 2919

PRESS

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THE PROGRAM

Produced by Andrew Fromer
Material Adapted & Curated by Daphna Shull, Ora Yashar & Chandler Turk
Directed by Aysha Wax, Julie Lanctot & Arnon Shorr
Co-Producers  Kyra Morling & Judith Goldstein
Artistic Director Ronda Spinak
Producing Director Susan Morgenstern
Managing Director
Sharon Landau
Consultant Tabby Refael
Associate Producers  Rose Ziff, Susie Yuré

This show is made possible with generous support from
the Department of Cultural Affairs of Los Angeles, Erwin Rautenberg Foundation,
Y&S Nazarian Initiative, a program of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
and Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, and Gail Solo.

Welcome – JWT Assistant Artistic Director Andrew Fromer

Shtetl & Poverty
Written by Alexander Nemser.  Performed by Aneesha Madhok, Sam Mandel, and Jasmine Curry.

Making A Home
Written by Marissa Tiamfook Gee.  Performed by Sionne Elise.

No Longer Home
Written by Tabby Refael.  Performed by Jasmine Curry and Sionne Elise.

Cyclone
Written by Nina Raynor.   Performed by Aneesha Madhok and Sam Mandel.

Nowhere to Go
Written by Joshua Reuben Silverstein.  Performed by Sam Mandel.

Alchemy
Written by Susan Baskin.  Performed by Jasmine Curry and Kyla Schoer.

Fusion
Written by Aneesha Madhok and Daphna Shull.  Performed by Aneesha Madhok.

Absolution
Written by Marc Shkurovich.  Performed by Sam Mandel.

Heavier Than Expected (Excerpted from Jennifer Liff’s memoir, currently in process
to be published in 2021)
Written by Jennifer Liff.  Performed by Jasmine Curry.

On My Way
Music and Lyrics by Daphna Shull.  Performed by Sionne Elise.

Owning Hearst Castle
Written by Deenah Vollmer.  Performed by Kyla Schoer, Jasmine Curry, and Sam Mandel.

Whales
Written by Cole Kazdin.  Performed by Sionne Elise, Sam Mandel, and Ensemble.

ARTIST BIOS

SUSAN BASKIN (Writer) 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. Her piece, I, Citizen, was commissioned for the JWT’s 2018 Annual Fall Fundraiser. The Perfect Dive, Susan’s last piece for JWT, was performed in the It’s A Life salon show.

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 Groundlings Theatre and iO West. Jasmine has worked in educational theatre with Writers Room, California Weekly Explorer, and The Imagination Machine. Most recently she has appeared in Top Girls and Blood Wedding at Pierce College, as well as lending her voice to audiobooks and voice-over projects. She is currently co-authoring a book with her mother, inspired by their travel adventures in Ireland.

SIONNE ELISE (Actor) graduated magna cum laude from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film, and Television and has been acting her heart out ever since. She was most recently seen on the LA stage as Tara in the world premiere of Showpony at the Victory Theatre Center, currently nominated for Best Play by the Valley Theatre Awards. Her film Patch of Grass was recently screened at the Noho CineFest, for which she acted, co-wrote, and co-produced. As one of the tribe, Sionne is more than excited to be a part of Jewish Women’s Theatre, telling incredible stories with incredible performers. Thank you and enjoy! IG: @sionneelise.

ANDREW FROMER (NEXT Producer & Program Facilitator/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 acting career began in plays and musicals. After completing his BFA in Theater at UC Santa Barbara, and an exciting year of living in Israel, Andrew took a dive into filmmaking and has since branched into production by helping prepare for distribution two feature films he has acted in: AMP Creative’s Highway to Havasu (dir. Jeff Janke) and Mockingbird Pictures’ The Sweet Life (dir. Rob Spera). Andrew also edits, directs, and is very excited to be coordinating this year’s iteration of NEXT @ The Braid. Find out more info at www.jewishwomenstheatre.org/next.

MARISSA TIAMFOOK GEE (Writer) grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with an Ashkenazi Jewish New York mother and a half black, half Chinese Catholic father from Trinidad. She has always been active in the Jewish community, from being on the board of the Jewish Multiracial Network (JMN) to volunteering with IKAR, her current spiritual home. Marissa is a lawyer, teacher, runner, coach, and an outdoor adventure enthusiast. She runs, climbs, and explores every mountain and hidden trail she can find. She has traveled the world, worked in health care in Uganda (volunteering through American Jewish World Service), taught English in Asia, was a legal intern at the UN in Geneva, studied abroad in Jerusalem and Amsterdam, and backpacked through the Pacific Rim, Australia, and Europe. She now has a more conventional life (although no less active!) and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

JUDITH GOLDSTEIN (NEXT Producer & Art Curator) Calling herself a modern-day gypsy,  Judith has lived in four countries, four states, and countless cities, absorbing the culture, art, and the food industry as a cook, food writer, and historian. In 2014, she graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences with a master’s in food culture and communications. In addition to her passion for gastronomy, Judith immerses herself in photography, writing, and dance. Her love and enthusiasm for art and food has always been the anchor that united her dynamic journey, and she hopes to bring her passion, world experience, and love for the humanities to the NEXT @ The Braid community.

COLE KAZDIN (Writer) is a writer, performer, and four-time Emmy-winning television journalist living in Los Angeles. She is a regular contributor to VICE, MEL Magazine, and Refinery29 and has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Cosmopolitan and has been featured on NPR. Cole tells stories live on The Moth’s Mainstage across the country, on The Moth Radio Hour, and she performs storytelling all over Los Angeles, where she is a proud three-time Moth GrandSLAM champion. She is a contributing author in the bestselling Moth book, All These Wonders: True Stories About Facing the Unknown. She has produced television for HBO documentaries and ABC network news.  Cole is currently an instructor at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and coaches and teaches writers all over the world. www.colekazdin.com.

JULIE LANCTOT (NEXT Director & Marketing/Actor), a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film, and Television, has participated in the LA theater community as an actor and assistant director. Most recently, she played Rosaline in Chase What Flies’s production of Love’s Labor’s Lost and Isabella in Method and Madness’s production of Measure for Measure. Julie assistant-directed Dangerous Liaisons at Antaeus last fall and is currently assisting on a staged reading of the Jacobean tragedy Women Beware Women. Now dipping her toes into the world of writing, she is developing an original web series with some of her closest friends. Julie is enjoying the process of becoming a hyphenate and looks forward to continuing her journey with JWT.

JENNIFER LIFF (Writer) is a mid-thirties woman who’s finally sitting her butt down to write a memoir. Most of the year, she devotes her time to teaching squirrely middle school students. Aside from teaching and writing, Jen loves to travel, hike, ride her bike, do yoga, and spend time with friends and family. Although she has no cats, Jen has at times been called a crazy cat lady, as she has been known to meow at random.

JESSICA LUCK (Writer) has had work performed at Primary Stages, the Playground Experiment, ESPA, TinyRhino, Playwrights at the Grand, Red Caravan, and the Big Apple Theater Festival. Her short play, Lilies, was published by Smith & Kraus. Jessica is a graduate of Yale College and was a Louise Rockwell Scholar at ESPA/ Primary Stages. As an actor, she recently performed in the pre- mieres of Lisa Lampanelli’s Stuffed at the WP Theater and Gracie Gardner’s Hate Baby at EST. Jessica is a proud member of the Beehive Playwrights Collective and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice. For perpetually out of date info on what she’s up to, check out JessicaLuck.com.

ANEESHA MADHOK (Actor/Writer), an actress and comedian known for the play Aliza-Free, graduated from University of Southern California in May 2018 and is making her Hollywood debut as the main lead in the feature film Bully High. She runs her own show called The Mad Hawk at Flappers Comedy Club along with doing stand-up comedy at various clubs in Los Angeles.

SAM MANDEL (Actor) is a SAG-AFTRA actor of 15+ years with 40 union film, TV, commercial, theatre, print, and voice-over credits. Recent noteworthy projects include an award-winning, critically acclaimed performance as lead actor in The Chosen, adapted by Aaron Posner from Chaim Potok’s novel. The show enjoyed a six-month sold-out run at the Fountain Theatre, earning the LA Times Critics Choice and an Ovation recommendation. Sam is Mr. July in the Nice Jewish Guys Calendar 2019, which can be purchased on Amazon and in stores nationwide. Ellen DeGeneres showcased the calendar on The Ellen Show, so Sam created a sketch with the other NJGs that Ellen named Video of the Week on EllenTube, earning 24,000 views in three days. Sam is grateful to Jewish Women’s Theatre for the opportunity to be part of The Way Home and thanks YOU for supporting live theatre. Learn more and connect at imdb.me/Sam-Mandel and www.SamMandel.com.