AZCentral.com: Play about Scottsdale resident's life to be tested
Love doesn't die because a person does.
This is what makes a play being workshopped next week in Scottsdale so bittersweet, said Gerda Weissmann Klein. The play focuses on the heroic love story between Klein and her late husband, Kurt.
"I'm still in love with him, after all," Klein, 84, said.
Her late husband, who died in 2002, was a German-born American soldier who rescued her in 1945 after six years of living under Nazi rule. More...
Jewish News of Greater Phoenix: Living the hours after
The true tale of how Gerda Weissmann and Kurt Klein met, fell in love, married and lived out a life together is the kind of story that can restore a person's faith in the human race. Indeed, it is the kind of story that others have falsely laid claim to in recent weeks which makes spreading the Kleins' story that much more important. More...
Casting call for play workshop
SCOTTSDALE - Producers of a new play about Scottsdale author and Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein will hold a non-Equity casting call Monday at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
Gerda's Lieutenant is based on the lives and love letters of Klein and her late husband, Kurt, who rescued her from a Nazi work camp after six years of slave labor and starvation. Their romance lasted almost six decades.
Klein came to national renown with the 1957 publication of All But My Life, her memoir on teen life after Germans invaded her Polish town, enslaved her and murdered her family.
Written by Ellen Gordon Reeves and Bennett Singer, the play will be developed in a workshop at the center Jan. 5-19. Director is Leigh Fondakowski (The Laramie Project).
Lynn Cohen ("Magda" in Sex and the City and "Golda Meir" in Munich) and her husband, Ron Cohen, will play Gerda and Kurt.
To schedule an audition appointment, review casting details at www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org and call Ally Haynes-Hamblen at 480-874-4681.
Click here for PDF announcement.
NEW PLAY ABOUT KURT AND GERDA KLEIN
IN DEVELOPMENT AT THEATER 4301
Inside the Creative Process:
Telling the Kurt and Gerda Weissmann Klein Story on Stage
Jan. 14–16, 2009
Wednesday and Thursday @ 7:30 p.m., Friday @ 8 p.m.
Theater 4301, Galleria Corporate Centre, Scottsdale
(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts will present Inside the Creative Process: Telling the Kurt and Gerda Weissmann Klein Story on Stage from Jan. 14–16, 2009, at Theater 4301 in downtown Scottsdale. The performances are presented with corporate support from Greenberg Traurig, The Inn at Pima and Chaparral Suites Resort Scottsdale.
Single tickets are available for $25 through the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Web site at www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org or the box office at (480) 994-ARTS (2787).
The result of a two-week collaborative development session at Theater 4301, Inside the Creative Process offers the public a behind-the-scenes look at an innovative new play, Gerda’s Lieutenant, which is based on the love letters of 84-year-old Scottsdale resident and Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein and her late husband Kurt Klein. The couple met in the spring of 1945, when Kurt, a German-born American soldier, liberated Gerda from six years under Nazi rule – and then fell deeply in love with her.
Inside the Creative Process will feature scenes by the ensemble cast and discussions with Director Leigh Fondakowski (head writer and director of numerous productions of The Laramie Project) as well as playwrights Bennett Singer and Ellen Gordon Reeves, the cast, creative team and members of the Klein family. Actress Lynn Cohen (Golda Meir in Steven Spielberg’s film Munich and Magda in the television and feature film productions of Sex and the City) and her husband actor Ron Cohen will play Gerda and Kurt. They will be joined on stage by Chicago-based actress Kelli Simpkins (The Laramie Project/Tectonic Theater Company) and the locally cast Scottsdale ensemble. The play shifts between past and present, showing Gerda in public and private moments at home, as everyday objects and actions trigger memories of her extraordinary past.
GERDA AND KURT KLEIN
In 1939, 15-year-old Gerda Weissmann’s life changed forever as German troops invaded her hometown of Bielsko, Poland. After being forced to live in the basement of her childhood home for nearly three years, Gerda was separated from her parents and brother. She spent the next three years in a succession of slave-labor and concentration camps, until she was forced to walk in a 350-mile death march in which 2,000 women were subjected to exposure, starvation and arbitrary execution and fewer than 120 of them survived. Klein’s account of her experience is documented in her classic autobiography All But My Life, which is now 51 years in print in 62 editions. It was the basis for the Oscar- and Emmy-winning HBO documentary One Survivor Remembers.
One of the most remarkable chapters in Gerda’s life began when her future husband, Kurt Klein, a U.S. Army intelligence officer – and himself a refugee from Germany – liberated her in May 1945. Their story of meeting, falling in love and living together as husband and wife has been featured on numerous television shows, including Oprah, 60 Minutes and CBS Sunday Morning. Kurt’s story is chronicled in the acclaimed PBS documentary America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference. A book of their letters, The Hours After: Letters of Love and Longing in War’s Aftermath – a poignant collection of correspondence between Gerda and Kurt Klein following the war – is the inspiration for the play Gerda’s Lieutenant.
In 2004, Gerda Klein released A Boring Evening at Home. This book of essays offers glimpses into her life and into the thoughts that have always vindicated her belief that the most treasured place on earth is home and that the most desirable aim for people is to spend “a boring evening” there with family. The book is dedicated to her late husband, to whom she was married for 56 years. The Kleins’ story is portrayed in the film Testimony, a permanent exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. In 1998, the Kleins founded the Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation, which is dedicated to teaching tolerance, lessening prejudice and encouraging young people to engage in meaningful community service. The Klein Foundation partnered with Southern Poverty Law Center and TIME Classroom to create two teaching kits that address the issues of anti-Semitism and intolerance in a larger context. To date, there have been more than 122,000 requests for these unique educational curricula. These materials are available at no charge to every school/educator upon request and have also been distributed to the United Nations and countries around the world.
The following receptions will be held during the run of Inside the Creative Process.
Post-Performance Opening Night Reception on Jan. 14 with the cast, director, producers and playwrights and members of the Klein family. $100 per person (ticket to the performance included). Tickets available through the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts box office at (480) 994-ARTS (2787).
Post-Performance Champagne and Dessert Gala Benefit on Jan. 15 with the cast, creative team, sponsors and members of the Klein family. From $250 per person (ticket to the performance included). Proceeds support the production of Inside the Creative Process. For information please contact Ellen Reeves via e-mail at email@example.com.
This project is made possible through the generosity of many contributors. Supporting Sponsors include Cheryl and Robert Carr, Greenberg Traurig, The Harold and Jean Grossman Foundation, Sonia and David Landes, The Ress Family Foundation and Sheila Schwartz. Champions include The Marla Bennett Memorial Fund (San Diego, Calif.), Audrey and Fred Horne, Al and Fran Sachs, Judy and Bill Schubert, Mary and Steve Serlin, The Singer Family and Lynne Turner Tennenbaum. In-Kind Donors include Renee Buffington, Chaparral Suites Resort Scottsdale, Erika Gronek, The Inn at Pima, Steve Marks/Bravo Bistro, Penny and Richard Post and Rachel Marie Smith.
LOCATION AND PARKING
Theater 4301 is located in the Galleria Corporate Centre at 4301 Scottsdale Rd. on the corner of Drinkwater Boulevard and Fifth Avenue in downtown Scottsdale, one block east of Scottsdale Road. Free parking is available in the Galleria Corporate Centre parking garage.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts offers performance accommodations to enhance audience members’ experience, including American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation or live audio description with two weeks advance notice. Assisted listening devices and wheelchair seating are always available. Visit the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ Web site at www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org or contact the box office at (480) 994-ARTS [TDD: (480) 874-4694] for further details. Please inquire about services when ordering tickets.
A $3 discount per ticket is available for groups of 15 or more (subject to restriction and limitation). Call (480) 874-4690 for more information.
SCOTTSDALE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Opened in 1975, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents a dynamic, culturally diverse season of dance, jazz, classical and world music, theater and satire. Approximately 1,000 performances, educational programs, festivals and other events are showcased annually serving more than 300,000 people and contributing substantially to Scottsdale’s high quality of life and vibrant arts scene. Performances take place in the Center’s 838-seat Virginia G. Piper Theater (closed for renovation during the 2008–09 season) and 136-seat Stage 2 as well as the 2,200-seat amphitheater on the grounds of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall and the 326-seat Theater 4301 in the Galleria Corporate Centre. The Center’s youth education and outreach programs reach more than 40,000 school children each year, and its free programs are available to the entire public. Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts also produces the popular Scottsdale Arts Festival every March; Sunday A’Fair, a series of free outdoor music festivals held on Sunday afternoons from January to April; and Native Trails, a collaboration with the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau that features free demonstrations of Native American arts and culture from January to April. Open daily and during performances, The Store @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts offers hand-crafted jewelry, accessories for the home, toys for imaginative young minds, recordings, books, greeting cards and more.
The Scottsdale Cultural Council, a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is contracted by the City of Scottsdale, Arizona, to administer certain City arts and cultural projects and to manage the City-owned Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Public Art Program. The programs of the Scottsdale Cultural Council are made possible, in part, by the support of members and donors and grants received from the Arizona Commission on the Arts through appropriations from the Arizona State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
|HOW TO REACH US
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
7380 East Second Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Box Office: (480) 994-ARTS (2787)
TDD: (480) 874-4694
Fax: (480) 874-4699
For interviews, digital photographs or additional information please contact:
Public Relations Manager
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Phone: (480) 874-4626