ICT reprises A Shayna Maidel for 25th Anniversary season

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ict shayna maidelTwo sisters separated by the Holocaust reunite in the aftermath of World War II in Barbara Lebow’s powerful and profoundly moving A Shayna Maidel. ICT artistic director Shashin Desai directs Liza de Weerd, Larry Eisenberg, Laura Howard, Charles Pasternak, Julia Silverman and Erin Anne Williams in a four-week run June 11 through July 3 at International City Theatre in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Low-priced previews begin June 8.

International City Theatre first presented A Shayna Maidel as part of its 1992 season. “Our audiences were deeply affected,” says Desai. “We wanted to reprise one play from our archives in celebration of our 25th Anniversary, and this beautiful play kept calling to me.”

Rose Weiss (Laura Howard) emigrated to America as a young child with her father, Mordechai (Larry Eisenberg). Ill with scarlet fever, older sister Lusia (Liza de Weerd) stayed behind in Poland with Mama (Julia Silverman), planning to follow later.

Now, it’s 1946 and Rose is a young woman living in Manhattan when she learns that Lusia has been liberated from a concentration camp and is coming to New York. After a 15-year separation, the two women are almost like strangers and must struggle to reconnect. A Shayna Maidel is a bittersweet portrait of a family divided by distance, time, and life experience.

“This is not a depressing play about the Holocaust,” emphasizes Desai. “Lebow develops the relationship between these two women, sisters who are virtual strangers, with insight and gentle humor, and in the end it’s an uplifting, even cathartic experience.”

A Shayna Maidel premiered in 1985 at the Hartford Stage Company in Hartford, CT, and it opened in New York City a year later.  Since then, it has been performed to acclaim in theaters all over the country.

New York Times theater critic Mel Gussow called A Shayna Maidel “a deeply personalized study of sisterhood, family and a crisis of faith. Moving among her characters and shifting back and forth in time, the playwright draws a comprehensive portrait of a family devastated by war.”

“It’s an emotional powerhouse of almost overwhelming proportions,” wrote the Hartford Journal Inquirer.

A Shayna Maidel runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, June 11 through July 3. There will be one Saturday matinee on July 3 at 2 pm. Tickets are $32 and $37 on Thursdays, and $37 and $42 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, except opening night which is $50 and $60 and includes a reception with the actors following the performance.

Preview performances take place on Tuesday, June 8; Wednesday, June 9; and Thursday, June 10 at 8 pm. Preview tickets are $29.

International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach.  For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at (562) 436-4610 or go to www.InternationalCityTheatre.org.

International City Theatre is the Resident Professional Theater of the City of Long Beach, and the recipient of the Margaret Harford Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle for “Sustained Excellence in Theater.”

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