Marla Feinstein, the only Jewish kid in her fourth-grade class, knows what this holiday season will be like–for everyone else it’s decorating a tree and hanging stockings; for her, it’s forgetting to light candles and staring at a big plastic dreidel. But when Marla decides to learn what Hanukkah traditions are really about, things change fast. Soon she’s got her family turning latkes into Hanukkah Performance Art and doing a wild hora.
“How I Saved Hanukkah” is a book written by Amy Goldman Koss, cover illustrated by Diane deGroat, adapted for the stage by Jennifer Kersey. Performance rights have been granted by Penguin Random House.
Storybook Children’s Theatre is a new professional theater company in Los Angeles. Our longterm goal is to become a full-fledged Actors Equity TYA company right here in Los Angeles. For the time being, we are producing under the Los Angeles Actors Equity Self Producing Code, which means that us actors are doing this on our own! No producers, no professional fundraisers. This is truly a work of passion.
As a group, we produce children’s plays that aim to entertain, delight, and educate. What sets us apart is what we ask of our audiences after seeing our shows. We believe children learn by doing and experiencing, and that they desire to have a positive impact on the big, grown-up world around them. So, let us introduce our Kindness Initiative. We ask that our audience members perform an act of kindness, or an act of tikkun olam, based upon a theme, an idea, or a learning, from the play (or the source book, when applicable). Schools and groups will be provided a Kindness Guide to help guide them discover some ideas, themes, activities, but each school/group is welcome to create their own project. Individual audiences and families will be directed back to our website, where the guide can be downloaded for free!
We hope children will learn about compassion and kindness, and are inspired by our productions to be kind and to do kind.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.”
How This Project Came to Be
There is actually quite an interesting longer story about how this project came to be. I would love to treat you to coffee, and to tell you all about it! But here is the short version:
This project came to be after we set out to produce a Hanukkah-inspired show in the winter of 2018. We collectively spent 6 months scouring high and low for a Hanukkah play, and then searched for ANY play, for kids, that was Jewish or Jewish inspired. We went to every licensing company we could find. We asked in over a dozen facebook groups for writers, artists, directors, Jewish artists, etc. We found a few cool purim shpeils, but no Hanukkah. So, we began reading books. And found this book. Jennifer chose it, got permission to adapt it, and got it approved for the go-ahead (many thanks to the folks at Penguin Random House)! So this is, as of now, one of likely only a few rare Hanukkah finds for children in a sea of dancing rodents and laughing elves.
Call to Action: Goals
We need your help to bring this show to children all over LA, and perhaps to more cities in the future. But for now, our children need to see themselves, and their families, represented on stage. We need your help to bring this piece to local audiences, especially at little or no cost to them.
Funding this project also helps support additional goals:
-Bringing professional theater to children in Los Angeles.
-We will be employing Actors Equity (AEA) actors and stage managers once we are in full production mode, bringing desperately needed union jobs to our union family right here in Los Angeles. Professional Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) companies are very rare throughout Southern California. This is one step closer to being a job provider right here in LA, as well as bringing professional theater to our local children.
– We are a woman and mother run organization, and will support parents working in the arts.
How the Money Will Be Used
This fundraising effort accounts for all sets, rehearsals and rehearsal spaces, props, programs/playbills, and accounts for 3 performances, which we will be donating to local organizations. If we are able to raise more than $2800, we will be adding additional performances, and again, all donations $200 and over get a performance at the location of your choice!
Professional Actors/Stage Manager: $1800
Rehearsal Space: $500
Misc (for any emergency that may arise!): $100
Script Printing: $100
Any amount will help us bring the magic of Hanukkah to our youth all over Los Angeles! Any amount we raise over $2800 will be put towards bringing the show to as many audiences as we can, with the lowest possible cost to them (if any cost at all!).
Nicholas Lux as Ned
Nick Lux recently moved to Los Angeles from San Diego, California where he got his start in the theatre industry. Some of his favorite recent credits were “The Diary of Anne Frank” with The Moxie Theatre and the W.O.W. Festival with The La Jolla Playhouse. Huge thanks to Debralynn Findon and the Discover Management team for supporting him in his journey!
Aviva Pressman as Mom
Aviva Pressman is an actor, singer, clown, calligrapher, and Voiceover Artist based in LA. She has performed everywhere from Madison Square Garden to the Kennedy Center to South Coast Rep. She was recently seen in 33 1/3: House of Dreams at San Diego Rep and will be performing in Ballroom at Coachella Valley Rep next. Her voice can be heard on commercials, animes, and even a toy you might have at home. Chag Sameach!
Kammy Flynn as Lucy
Kammy Flynn is an avid actor and environmentalist. She recently performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival as Chang’e: Goddess of the Moon, a Producer’s Encore Winner. She is credited in music videos, independent projects and theater works both in Los Angeles and New York City, with her versatility in both dancing and acting. Kammy is excited to work on such a passionate endeavor with the Storybook Children’s Theatre! Thank you all for your support.