Moses Man: A Musical Journey of a Holocaust Survivor Premieres Today at JCC's Hart Theatre
Based on the story "An Odyssey to Italy, Cyprus, Palestine, and Africa: The Story of Lily and Kalman Haber" from Perilous Journeys: Personal Stories of German and Austrian Jews Who Escaped the Nazis (published in 2001 by The Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information of the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester), Moses Man's book and lyrics were written by the Habers' daughter, Deborah Haber.
"I've wanted to pay tribute to my parents' story for a very long time," says Haber, who is also the founder and producing artistic director of Rochester Children's Theatre, which is producing the musical. "This true Holocaust story is about the strength of the human spirit as demonstrated by one man - my father - who led his family through the darkest of chaotic times to the light of freedom and liberty."
Haber has partnered once again with award-winning Rochester composer, Casey Filiaci, with whom she wrote Sweet House, a message musical for kids based on the "Hansel and Gretel" tale. Award-winning documentary film director, Dave Marshall (The Blue Sky Project), is also a local partner in this multi-media, New York City-bound production. JCC CenterStage reached out to present this minimally-staged, workshop debut, which will offer a talk-back after each performance to get audience feedback.
"We're beyond excited to be part of such a ground-breaking project." says JCC Artistic CenterStage Director Ralph Meranto. "Moses Man is at the same time intensely personal and broadly universal, and I cannot imagine anyone who will not be moved by this story of hope and perseverance."
While some may question the decision to tell the story of her parents' perilous flight from Vienna, through Europe, Cyprus, Palestine, Africa and finally to America in the form of a musical, Haber points to Les Miserables as an example of how effectively the genre can tell a darker, more emotional tale.
Moses Man has already attracted national recognition with a development grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), as well as interest from The National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. It has also received generous local support from The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, The Ames Amzalak Memorial Trust, The Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester, Rochester Area Community Foundation, and many others.
The cast includes: Fred Nuernberg, Mary Tiballi, Danny Hoskins, Scott Scaffidi, Cindy Lull Hill, Sammi Cohen, Richard Scooter Rosenthal and Bobby Maville. Performances are tonight, March 30 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, March 31 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m. The production is recommended for ages 12 and up. Tickets are $26 or $18 for students, and available at the JCC Box Office at www.jccrochester.org or 585-461-2000, ext. 235.