True Colors

Humorous, revealing and inspiring stories from Jews of Color exploring identity, community and being a Jew in modern times.
May 4 – May 21, 2019
Sept. 19 – 22, 2019

PRESS

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THE PROGRAM

Material Adapted, Curated, and Produced by Ronda Spinak
Produced by Eric Greene
Directed by Susan Morgenstern
Dramaturges Lisa Rosenbaum & Susan Baskin
Literary Manager Suzanna Kaplan
South Bay Producer Liz Altman
San Francisco/Bay Area Producer Carol Kirsh
Assistant Producer Barbara Koletsky
Associate Producers Rose Ziff & Susie Yuré
Artistic Associate Daphna Shull
Assistant Artistic Director Andrew Fromer

WELCOME – Ronda Spinak, JWT Artistic Director

The Color of Love Adapted from The Color of Love: A Memoir of a Mixed-Raced Jewish Girl, (Agate Publishing, Inc., 2019).
Written by Marra B. Gad. Performed by Brie Eley, Heidi Mendez, and Kimberly Green.

El Beso Adapted from Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in Between Journeys, (Duke University Press, 2013).
Written by Ruth Behar. Performed by Heidi Mendez.

True Colors
Used by permission of songwriter, Billy Steinberg. Performed by Katherine Washington.

Sabbath Peace
Written by Larry M. Sanders. Adapted from an interview by Ronda Spinak. Performed by Joshua Silverstein, Brie Eley, Katherine Washington, and Heidi Mendez.

The Men in My Life
Written by Marissa Tiamfook Gee. Performed by Kimberly Green.

Beit Din
Written by M. A. Hosein. Performed by Brie Eley, Heidi Mendez, and Joshua Silverstein.

Eli, Eli
Written by Hannah Senesh. Music arranged by Marcos Cohen, a/k/a Mor D. Hai. Performed by Katherine Washington.

Both/And
Written by Maria Ramos-Chertok. Performed by Heidi Mendez.

No Joke
Written by David Chiu. Performed by Joshua Silverstein, Kimberly Green, Brie Eley, and Katherine Washington.

Hanukkah, Bakersfield Style
Written by Courtenay Edelhart. Performed by Katherine Washington.

Kimchi on the Seder Plate
Written by Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl. Adapted from an interview by Ronda Spinak. Performed by Kimberly Green and Ensemble.

Special — A Commission of Jewish Women’s Theatre
Written and performed by Joshua Silverstein.

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.

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. “I, Citizen,” her last piece for Jewish Women’s Theatre, was commissioned for the 2018 Annual Fall Party. She is currently at work on a novel.

RUTH BEHAR (Writer) is the Victor Haim Perera Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellows “Genius” Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A traveler, storyteller, poet, educator, and public speaker, her books include The Presence of the Past in a Spanish Village, Translated Woman: Crossing the Border with Esperanza’s Story, The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology That Breaks Your Heart, An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba and Traveling Heavy: A Memoir In Between Journeys. She is the editor of the pioneering anthology, Bridges to Cuba and co-editor of The Portable Island: Cubans at Home in the World. Her documentary, Adio Kerida/Goodbye Dear Love: A Cuban Sephardic Journey, distributed by Women Make Movies, has been shown in festivals around the world. Her debut novel for young readers, Lucky Broken Girl, the coming-of-age story of a Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl, won the Pura Belpré Author Award from the American Library Association. Her bilingual poetry collection, Everything I Kept/Todo lo que guardé, is a new release with Swan Isle Press. For more information: http://www.ruthbehar.com/.

RABBI ANGELA WARNICK BUCHDAHL (Writer) joined Central Synagogue as senior cantor in 2006 and in 2014 was chosen by its congregation to lead them as senior rabbi. Born in Korea to a Jewish American father and a Korean Buddhist mother, Rabbi Buchdahl is the first Asian American to be ordained as cantor or rabbi in North America. She has been nationally rec- ognized for her innovations in leading services, which draw large crowds both in the congre- gation’s main sanctuary and via live stream and cable broadcast to viewers in more than 100 countries. She has served as faculty for the Wexner Heritage Foundation and for the Union for Reform Judaism Kallot programs and has been featured in dozens of news outlets, including the Today Show, NPR, and PBS. Listed in 2012 by Newsweek as one of America’s 50 Most Influen- tial Rabbis, she serves on the boards of Auburn Theological Seminary, Avodah Jewish Service Corps, AJC, and UJA-Federation of NY.

DAVID CHIU (Writer) is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles. He and writing partner Patrick Wall wrote an episode for the Amazon Prime series LORE and recently sold a VR project to Dreamscape Immersive for development with Sam Raimi and Walter Parkes. Together, David and Patrick are represented by Authentic Talent & Literary Management. David is a member of Temple Isaiah, whose board of trustees he was nominated to this year. Through his work with the Temple Isaiah Green Team, he has personally advocated for environmental policy at City Hall and in Sacramento. A weekly attendee at his shul’s Torah study minyan as well as Shabbat services, he was honored to receive Temple Isaiah’s 2019 Emerging Leaders Award. Also a member of the Los Angeles Jews of Color group, David is thrilled to help celebrate the Jewish community’s diversity.

MARCOS COHEN, a/k/a MOR D. HAI (Songwriter) is an actor-singer and songwriter who was born in Uruguay and is currently living in Los Angeles. In 2008, he produced his first CD album in Latin Jewish music, Diaspora Sur, and since then has been presenting his contagious music across South and North America. Cohen started his artistic career as a playwright and director of musical theater. He has written the music and book of more than ten plays for children and adults, including Al Jolson, The Show Must Go On, Trapped at Tea Time, A Magic Book, Robotic Park, CooCoo Beat Show, and The Creation. His “Hay Que Cantar” was awarded best original song at the 2000 World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Since his Hollywood acting debut in the movie The Good Shepherd (Universal, 2006), directed by Robert De Niro, he has appeared in the TV shows Jane the Virgin, Dharma & Greg, Ally Mc Beal, Angeles, and Locked Up Abroad, to name a few.

COURTENAY EDELHART (Writer) is the biracial daughter of two social worker parents, one black and one an Ashkenazi Jew. She and her twin sister grew up in Chicago and Albuquerque. Courtenay majored in journalism at Northwestern University before embarking on a nearly three-decade-long career as a newspaper reporter. Now in her 50’s, she’s gone back to school and is working toward a credential to teach middle or high school English. She lives in Lancaster, California, with two adopted teenagers, a vicious little Chihuahua-terrier mix, and assorted dying houseplants.

BRIE ELEY (Actor) is a comedic actress/creator with dramatic tendencies. She trained at Marymount Manhattan College and the British American Drama Academy at Oxford University. Upon graduation, she apprenticed at Actors Theatre of Louisville before performing regionally at the Kennedy Center and across stages in New York. Done with the snow and tiny rooms, Brie made her way to LA for sunshine and closet space. Since arriving, she’s appeared in commercials and film/tv and was just on the “Staycation” episode of NBC’s Brooklyn 99. She continues to act onstage at spaces like Skylight Theater and A Noise Within while flexing her comedy chops at Comedy Central Stage, Second City, and The Pack. As a creator, her rom-com Blind Date Rules is now streaming on Amazon Prime, and her latest short, Acceptance, now lives on BET. Website: brieeley.com Instagram: @brieeley