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An exciting new translation of one of Yiddishkeit’s greatest playwrights! 

A community gathers in a destroyed synagogue at the end of a war. They have seen violence and death, are unsure who remains and who is gone, and have nothing to cling to but a vague sense of a better future. Then a young soldier – thought lost in the war – returns from the front, offering to take them all to a new world that sounds almost too good to be true. Will they go where there is no suffering or pain and everyone worships as they wish to in peace? Or will they confront the world as it is and try to rebuild? The Dead Man is a poetic tale that is both an elegy for the dead and a cry of hope for the living. 
 

Thanks to Yiddish Book Center for their collaboration on this Salon!
Yiddish Book Center Logo
May 18th at 8pm
Congregation Beth Am Israel 
1301 Hagys Ford Road, Penn Valley
May 19th at 1pm*Public Venue in West Mt. Airy
(Venue info released to ticketholders)
*please note earlier start time

STAGEBILL

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THE DEAD MAN

by Sholem Asch, Translated by Caraid O'Brien

Directed by Jesse Bernstein

Assistant Directed by Esther M. Cohen

 

THE CAST

Jesse Bernstein - The Foreigner, First Merchant
T.C. Caldwell - Reb Nehemiah

Ben Cohen - The Second Child

Alec Farquharson - Yosef

Jim Golden - Third Jew

Jemma Bleu Greenbaum - The First Child

Jeff Kudisch - The First Jew, Third Merchant

Dana Liu - Madwoman, Second Woman, Second Merchant

Susan Moses - The Mother

Aneesa Neibauer - Dina

Emily Schuman - The First Woman
Belle Starr - Girl

Beau Starr - Boy

Rebecca Fox Starr - The Third Woman

Alan Susser - The Second Jew

Tom Teti - Reb Khonen

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Sholem Asch (PLAYWRIGHT) From radical ex-yeshiva student to provocative dramatist, bestselling novelist, and embattled prophet, Sholem Asch (1880-1957) was born in Kutnow, Poland. He abandoned his religious studies as a young man to become a Yiddish writer. He penned The Dead Man in New York City while also writing serialized novels for the Forward newspaper. The play’s premiere in 1922 coincided with a 12 volume publication of Asch’s complete works, which included plays, novels and short stories. A global artist, Asch’s plays have been performed in many languages throughout the world. The Vilna Troupe started their very first season with Asch’s play The Landsman. Maurice Schwartz’s 2000 seat Yiddish Art Theater produced more plays by Asch than by any other writer, adapting his novels Three Cities, The Witch of Castille, The Sanctity of God’s Name and Uncle Moses for the stage as well. Asch’s plays were originally championed by the world theater scene, however. On the Road to Zion, Asch’s first full length drama was produced in Polish and then in Russia by actress-producer Vera Komissarzhevskaya before Jacob Adler debuted it in Yiddish in New York City in 1906. Director Max Reinhardt premiered God of Vengeance in German in 1910 to great acclaim. Its English language Broadway cast was famously arrested for indecency in 1923, the subject of Paula Vogel’s recent hit Broadway play Indecent. Throughout his lifetime, Asch wrote over two dozen plays, many of them hits. Legendary actors who starred in Asch’s works include Paul Muni, Rudolph Schildkraut, Joseph Buloff, Celia Adler, Stella Adler, Sara Adler, Luba Kadison, David Kessler, Jacob Ben-Ami, Paul Baratov and many others. In addition to God of Vengeance, Asch is also remembered for his much-translated novels – The Nazarene, Mary and The Apostle examining the Jewish roots of Christianity. (Courtesy Yiddish Book Center)

Caraid O'Brien (TRANSLATOR) Galway born actor, translator, writer and director Caraid O’Brien is known for her "lithe, exceptionally actable translations" of the daring Yiddish playwright Sholem Asch.  Her debut translation, god of vengeance, opened in a strip club in Times Square and "set Show World aflame" according to the Village Voice.  Variety dubbed her second Asch translation, Motke Thief, "not your bubbe's Yiddish theater." Caraid has translated seven of Asch's dramas, three of which are available in Sholem Asch: Underworld Trilogy from White Goat Press.  You can listen to her translations of The Dead Man (Carnegie Hall's Voices of Hope Festival) and On the Road to Zion, Asch's first full length play which was his response to Chekhov's The Sea Gull.  Caraid received three new play commissions from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, was a translation fellow at the Yiddish Book Center and was commissioned by Theater J and Solas Nua in DC to translate and adapt Sholem Asch's drama Rabbi Doctor Silver. This past year, Caraid worked with Sholem Asch’s great grandson, David Mazower to curate the theater section for the Yiddish Book Center’s acclaimed new exhibit Yiddish: A Global Culture.  She also developed a series of audio highlights for the exhibit including recreating the voices of Y.L. Peretz’s Warsaw literary salon at the turn of the twentieth century.  Caraid staged and adapted scenes from Chava Rosenfarb’s World War II drama “The Bird of the Ghetto” for Di Froyen Conference of Yiddish women writers. You can listen to Caraid perform her translation of Klara Klebanova's memoir about the first Russian Revolution, The Last Maximalist.  She has hosted many radio programs on WBAI, most notably Radio Bloomsday, marathon performances of James Joyce's Ulysses where she performed the complete three hour Molly Bloom. In addition to their New York City premieres, Caraid’s translations have been performed at Theater J in DC, Berkeley’s Yiddish Theatre Ensemble, Theatre Ariel in Philadelphia, The Justice Theater Project in North Carolina and at Brown University and Augustana College.  For ten years, Caraid studied Yiddish theater with Luba Kadison, the last surviving member of the famed Vilna Troupe and for six years, she studied Yiddish musical theater with crooner Seymour Rexite while performing in the store front theaters of NYC’s Lower East Side. She writes and performs in English and Yiddish.

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Jesse Bernstein (DIRECTOR) is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Speech and has over 30 years’ experience working in film, TV and theatre. He has performed at the New York Shakespeare Festival (alongside actors such as Mandy Patinkin and Denzel Washington), the Berkshire Theatre Festival, the Arden Theatre Company, Ventura Theatre Company and the Walnut Street Theatre Company. In 1999, he originated the role of Reuven in Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok’s stage adaptation of The Chosen. His TV credits include appearances on Law & Order, Veronica Mars and Days of Our Lives. Directing credits include Shipwrecked!, It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play, Gifts of the Magi, and several children’s musicals for the Walnut Street Theatre; The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) (Cardinal Stage); Heathers: The Musical (Penn Players), Member of the Wedding (Rutgers-Camden) and more. Writing credits include several outreach plays and the solo shows Ethics of the Fathers (aka The Gangster and Grandpa) and The Scribe. Jesse wrote and directed the short film Allergy (official selection, Audience Awards and LA Comedy Shorts Fest) and wrote, produced, and starred in the short alongside Alison Brie and Liza Weil in the short film Us One Night (official selection: Williamstown Film Festival, NewFilmmakers LA). He has taught for theatres and organizations in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia as well as at Northwestern University College, the Cherub program, and University of the Arts. Jesse is a member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA and serves on the board of the Alliance for Jewish Theatres.. 

Esther M. Cohen (ASSISTANT DIRECTOR) is a Philadelphia-based director, dramaturg, and arts educator.Recent favorite projects include directing Small Mouth Sounds at Penn, teaching script analysis at Drexel University, and directing Theatre Ariel's spring 2023 salon. She is an inaugural member of the 2019/20 Roundabout Directors Group, a member of the 2019 Williamstown Theatre Festival Directing Corps, and an alumna of the National Theater Institute and the University of Pennsylvania. When she's not making theatre, Esther can be found on a walk with her dog Babka, cultural commentary podcast playing and iced coffee in hand no matter the weather. 

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T.C. “Storm” Caldwell (Reb Nehemiah) T.C. (also professionally known as “Storm E. Weatherz) is a multi-faceted performer, producer, director, radio and television personality and content creator. The youngest son of Philadelphia Music Hall of Fame inductee Stephen J. Caldwell Sr. of the famous Doo Wop group “The Orlons” (“South Street”, “Wah-Wahtusi”), T.C. moved away from acting in the 1990's to pursue interests in music. Returning to acting in 2011, T.C. has been cast in over 130 stage plays, appeared in over 50 short & feature length films, TV series and internet skits. T.C. is a former bodyguard, ordained Deacon, and  Founder/ C.E.O. of Storm E. Weatherz Entertainment.

Alec Farquharson (Yosef) is a Philadelphia-based actor, originally from Boston. He was last seen in Fever Dream’s production of Merry Wives of Windsor. Favorite roles include Mark Antony (Julius Caesar), Ophelia (Hamlet), and Doug (Gruesome Playground Injuries).

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Dana Liu (she/her) (Madwoman, Second Woman, Second Merchant) is a multi-faceted artist originally from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Most recently she was in South Camden Theatre Company's production of "A Curious Incident of The Dog In The Nighttime." Previously, she was in Theatre Ariel's Salon Reading of "Amsterdam". Dana is also an Intermediate Actor Combatant with Fight Directors Canada and an Advanced Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors. Instagram: danaddliu

Susan Moses (The Mother) has appeared off-Broadway, in Regional theaters, Film and TV. Some favorite credits include: Off-Broadway: Yentl (36th St. Theatre); Shore Points (Irish Arts Center); From Door To Door (Westside Theatre). Regional: I Hate Hamlet (Deertrees Theatre, Maine); Last of the Boys (InterAct Theatre Co, Phila); After-Play (Walnut Street Theatre, Phila); Sleeping Arrangements (Theatre J, DC); Moon Over Buffalo (Bristol Riverside Theatre). Film: Invincible, Killer Instinct, Mafioso… The Father the Son and TV: Hack and Forensic Files.

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Aneesa Neibauer (Dina) is an actress and theatre artist based in Philadelphia.  In 2021 Aneesa launched a project called Black and Unknown Bards which uses theatre theatre and film to bring works of historical Black literature into the spotlight.  Last Spring, Aneesa made her directorial debut with the Black and Unknown Bards production of The Purple Flower.  Aneesa's most recent acting credits include the Quintessence Theatre productions of No Exit (Estelle) and Major Barbara (Sarah Undershaft/Jenny Hill) and the Philadelphia Artist's Collective presentation of The Dog in the Manger (Marcela).  Aneesa is a graduate of West Virginia University's BFA Acting program.

EMILY SCHUMAN (First Woman) Emily is thrilled to be working with Theatre Ariel! Recent credits: Cymbeline, Merchant of Venice (Delaware Shakespeare), Christmas Carol (Walnut Street Theatre), Love’s Labour's Lost (Revolution Shakespeare), The Nose (EgoPo Classic Theatre), Misalliance (IRC). She is also a freelance props artisan and folk singer-songwriter. Her EP, Full Fathom Five, features songs inspired by Shakespeare's works. Upcoming: Cassius in Julius Caesar at the Delaware Shakespeare Summer Festival. emilyschuman.net

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Tom Teti (Reb Khonen) has been an actor director and teacher in professional theater since his friend Moses led his people out of Egypt. He has worked in Philadelphia and all over the East coast. He is a member of the People’s Light Company since its  inception. He is also a fiction writer and reads his work in presentations called Fiction Live! Great to be with Theater Ariel again!

Jemma Bleu Greenbaum (The First Child)

Is honored to be part of this meaningful project! Professional actor, singer, dancer, model, voiceover artist. Favorite credits: Matilda in the first regional production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical at Walnut Street Theatre, Fox Chase Boy, Nike, BaiBai, Crayola. Competitive athlete: tennis, soccer, track/XC, softball. Member: National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Creative Writing Circle. Active member of Congregation Adath Jeshurun and its Kikar Teen Program. Loving this full-circle moment having worked with Jesse in 2018 when Jemma’s award-winning play was produced by Philadelphia Young Playwrights! Representation: Rebel Creative Group Management (NY & LA) and Take 3 Talent Agency (NY & LA). Instagram: @jemmableu. Thanks, Bravo & XOXO to all!

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Ben Cohen (The Second Child) has played Michael Banks in Mary Poppins with the Mitzvah Players at Adath Israel. He is really good at Math, hopes to travel to Hawaii, and plans to adopt a leopard gecko soon.

Jim Golden (the Third Jew): Jim debuted as the small-time gangster Uncle Louie in Neil Simon’s Lost In Yonkers. He explored the mysteries of communication and existence in David Ives’s Sure Thing and The Philadelphia at Old Academy Players, where he also appeared in Almost Maine, Rumors, Earth and Sky, God of Carnage, Looking,

Ripcord and Old Ringers. In a stretch he played the confused client in Race at The Drama Group. He was Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank. At Colonial Playhouse he worked Santa’s Ho-Ho-Hotline as Aaron Lefkowitz in Implausible Claus, and was in The Cemetery Club and The Dining Room.

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JEFF KUDISCH (First Jew and Third Merchant) – Jeff is delighted to debut with Theatre Ariel in The Dead Man, portraying a member of the general “crowd”. His previous stage experience includes the role of Judah in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El. Offstage, Jeff is a Teaching Professor and Executive MBA Faculty Director at Villanova’s School of Business, with past roles at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is honored to contribute to Theatre Ariel’s vibrant celebration of Jewish storytelling.

Beau Starr (Boy) is excited to be making his theatrical debut in this performance! You’ll typically find Beau on the basketball court, playing piano, or tearing up the dance floor while listening to Eminem. And you should hear his standup comedy (which he debuted at the campfire at Pine Forest Camp in 2023). He is in 4th grade and dedicates his performance to his friends and family. 

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Belle Starr (Girl) is thrilled to be performing in this production. Belle is currently performing in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Wolf Performing Arts Center, where she also recently acted in “The Alibis.” Her favorite roles have included Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” Elsa and Anna in “Frozen,” and Charlie and Veruca in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Belle can be seen on AppleTV’s “Lessons in Chemistry” and hopes to do more theater as she grows up.

Rebecca Fox Starr (The Third Woman) is a local mom, wife, author & therapist, passionate about mental health for all. She is proud of her children and her Judaism and is honored to be part of this experience.

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Alan Susser (Second Jew) is excited to join the cast in this performance.  Alan has acted and sang in several theater performances, and has been a part of the Har Zion Purimshpiel cast for over 15 years!  Alan attended LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts as a Vocal major and sang Baritone with the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club, performing in 20 states and 7 countries in Russia and Eastern Europe.  Alan has also served on the board of Theatre Ariel for over 3 years.

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