Debra, a struggling food writer, has returned to her childhood home in Ohio’s rust belt to care for her declining mother Rose, an exacting cookie baker. When Jennifer, Debra’s very successful older sister, arrives for Rose’s funeral, shared memories and old sibling grievances boil to the surface. As the sisters confront their loss, a startling secret about their mother’s most-treasured Passover recipe emerges, which changes everything they thought they knew about their family. Spiced with poetry and smatterings of Yiddish and Spanish, Madeleines tells the story of a family of Jewish women grappling with how to love each other through haunted pasts, shared grief, and the solace of baking together.
Thursday, August 17 following the reading of Madeleines
Directly following the presentation of Madeleines, please stay for a conversation with TheatreWorks’ Artistic Director Giovanna Sardelli, the Jewish Play Project’s Artistic Director David Winitsky, and playwright Bess Welden. Welden’s play Madeleines won the 2022 National Jewish Playwrighting Contest held by the JPP.
David Winitsky is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of the Jewish Plays Project, the nation’s leading development house for contemporary Jewish theater. Since founding the JPP, he has been a Storahtelling/LabShul Maven, a 2014-17 UpStart National Fellow, a 2013 LABA Artist Fellow, and a 2011 PresenTense New York City Fellow. Currently, he is a Fellow at UJA’s Institute for Jewish Executive Leadership at Columbia Business School. David held leadership positions at Playwrights Theater of New Jersey (Producing Director), What Exit? Comedy Theater (Co-Artistic Director), and the Obie Award-winning HERE Arts Center (General Manager), in addition to positions in commercial theater (Broadway on Broadway, Chicago, Rent, Miss Saigon, etc.) Read his full bio on the JPP website.
Bess Welden (Playwright, she/her) won the 2022 National Jewish Playwriting Contest with her play Madeleines, which was also a finalist for the 2021 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Death Wings, her play with songs, won the 2020 Maine State Prize of the Clauder Competition for New England Playwrights and was recently produced at The Theater Project and Meetinghouse Arts in Maine. A finalist in the 2020 National Jewish Playwriting Contest, her play Refuge Malja premiered at Portland Stage Company in 2018. She has toured extensively with her solo comedies Passion of the Hausfrau and Big Mouth Thunder Thighs. Welden was a 2022 Creative Community Fellow with National Arts Strategies, and has been teaching in the Department of Performance, Theater, & Dance at Colby College since 2010. www.besswelden.com
LESLIE MARTINSON (Director) is a freelance Bay Area director. Her work with TheatreWorks includes over thirty years on staff as Associate Artistic Director and Casting Director, and fifteen years as New Works Festival Coordinator. Her TheatreWorks directing credits include the world premiere of The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga, Frost/Nixon, The 39 Steps, Proof, Water by the Spoonful and Superior Donuts. Martinson leads workshops for many universities and theatre companies. She has also directed for City Lights Theatre Company, including the world premiere of Waiting for Next by Jeffrey Lo, First Seen, Oakland Opera and SPARC Theater company. A graduate of Occidental College and the University of Sussex, she has been a Watson Fellow, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab and attended the La Mama International Directing Symposium.
BRYAN P. CLEMENTS (Stage Manager, they/them) TheatreWorks Silicon Valley: Words We Believe (SM). San Francisco Playhouse: Indecent (PA), Follies (PA). Geffen Playhouse: Man of God (PA), The Thanksgiving Play (PA). The Fountain Theatre: Hannah and the Dread Gazebo (PSM). Chalk Repertory Theatre: Death & Cockroaches (PSM). They are also the Production Coordinator at TheatreWorks.
DANIELLE LEVIN (Debra Moritz) has performed with TheatreWorks in several New Works Festivals, as well as Emma, Jane Eyre, and All My Sons. She has appeared with Marin Theatre Company, Center REPertory Company, SF Playhouse, Aurora Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, and Crowded Fire. Danielle is also a dialect coach and has worked with companies such as SF Playhouse, Shotgun Players, and Ross Valley Players. She received her MFA from UC Davis in Dramatic Art.
TERESSA FOSS (Jennifer Moritz) performed with TheatreWorks in Tuck Everlasting (Betsy Foster) and Rags (Anna/Ensemble). Her numerous regional credits include Fullerton Civic Light Opera (Phantom/Christine), PCPA Theatrefest (four productions, including My Fair Lady/Eliza), the Hollywood Bowl (Sound of Music/Sister Sophia), GeVa Theatre, Lamb’s Players, and Phoenix Theatre (Light in the Piazza/Franca). Performances around the Bay Area include Sacramento Theatre Company (A Christmas Carol/Mrs. Fezziwig), 42nd Street Moon (four productions including 2020’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Berkeley Rep (Master Class with Rita Moreno), Indra’s Net Theatre, Woodminster Musicals, Opera San Jose, Livermore Valley Opera, and Festival Opera Walnut Creek. She currently serves on the Napa County Arts & Culture Advisory Committee, and is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and AGMA.
LYNNE SOFFER (Rose / Lilia) has performed with TheatreWorks in Silent Sky (Wilhemina) and Ambition Facing West (Josephine). She has acted with the American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, San Francisco Opera, Sacramento Theatre Company, Arizona Theater Company, Magic Theatre, The Aurora, Word for Word, Campo Santo, PCPA Theaterfest, Alaska Repertory, Sherwood Shakespeare Festival, Acadia Repertory Theatre of Maine, and in New York City with the Direct Theatre and the 29th Street Project. She also has served as dialect and/or text coach on over 300 theatre and opera productions around the country including several for TheatreWorks. Ms. Soffer holds an MFA from A.C.T.
CARLA BEFERA (Understudy for Rose / Lilia) has worked for many years in radio, television, and theatres around the Bay including TheatreWorks, Magic Theatre, A.C.T., 42nd Street Moon, Marin Theatre Company, SF Shakespeare Festival, and others. Favorites include The Women (BATCC Award Best Actress) at Marin Theatre Company, Isn’t It Romantic? and Stepping Out at TheatreWorks, Spookhouse at Theatre Rhinoceros (Bette Award), Gay Divorce and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (BATCC Nomination) at 42nd Street Moon, Spoils of War (BATCC Nomination) at Magic Theatre. Recent appearances at Foothill Theatre include Angels in America (Hannah/Rabbi/Ethel Rosenberg/Henry), Our Town (The Stage Manager), It Can’t Happen Here (Lucinda), Bullets Over Broadway (Helen Sinclair) and The Book of Will (Rebecca).
For the August 17 reading, Bess Welden read the roles of Rose/Lilia.
For the August 20 reading, Carla Befera will read the roles of Rose/Lilia.