The Jewish Plays Project (David Winitsky, Artistic Director) is thrilled to announce the line-up for the 6th Annual OPEN: Festival of New Jewish Theater.

"This Festival features the most innovative ideas, the most exciting young talent, and the most diverse array of perspectives in contemporary Jewish theater. Ivanka and Jared on Shabbat? Check. Trans history and the Mt. Carmel cemetery? Check. Black Jews at a white wedding? Clifford Odets in Yiddish? Check and check," said Artistic Director David Winitsky. "On top of that, we've assembled a stellar group of next-generation downtown theater talent. I could not be more thrilled."

The Festival runs June 9 - 17, 2017 at the Theater at the 14th Street Y (344 East 14th Street at 1st Avenue). Tickets are $18 (suggested donation) and can be reserved at: www.jewishplaysproject.org/tickets

The 2017 Festival includes three amazing projects, displaying the range and diversity of the Jewish conversation:

  • New Yiddish Rep Presents: VAHK AYF UN ZING!

(AWAKE & SING!) by Clifford Odets, Translated by Chaver Paver

directed by Johanna Gruenhut

The classic play comes alive in the mamaloshn! Combining stellar language work with riveting acting, the New York Times-lauded company returns to OPEN after last year's smash hit GUT FUN NEKOME (GOD OF VENGEANCE) to give new life to this brilliant play.

  • THE MAH NISHTANAH PLAYS: How does Jewish feel Different Now?

World premiers of four commissioned short plays

Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh

Lead Dramaturg Abigail Katz (Director of New Plays, Atlantic Theater)

Guest Dramaturg Miriam Weiner (Vineyard Theater Artistic Staff)

We challenged four writers - 2 women, 1 trans activist, and 1 Black Orthodox Jew - to tell us "How does your Jewish identity feel different now than it did a year ago?" Even more, "What does your Jewish identity/values/ethic call upon you to do right now?" They responded with four brilliant short plays. 70 minutes of theater followed by wine and conversation.

  • 2017 Jewish Playwriting Contest Winner


by Mark Leiren-Young (Victoria, British Columbia)

Selected by The Combined voices of over 500 judges in seven cities!

Directed by JPP Artistic Director David Winitsky

Joey - a poker-playing divorce attorney - needs a Bar Mitzvah, and he needs it now (he's free tonight). But Rabbi Michael Levitz-Sharon - a woman leading a small synagogue and facing her daughter's cancer diagnosis - doesn't play that way. Can their friendship and their faith survive tragedy?

The 2017 Festival is produced by the JPP and Mr. Winitsky. Festival staff includes:

The OPEN Festival has featured some of the best artists working in New York , including writers David Hein and Irene Sankoff (Come from Away), Robert Askins (Hand to God), and Brooke Berman (Hunting and Gathering); directors Marc Bruni (Beautiful), Daniella Topol (Rattlestick Theater AD), and Tamilla Woodard (Classical Theatre of Harlem, 3LD), as well as actors Andrew Polk (The Band's Visit), Hani Furstenberg (The Loneliest Planet with Gael Garcia Bernard), Ronald Guttman (Mad Men, Homeland), Kirrilee Berger (Amazon's Just Add Magic), and Obie and Drama Desk nominee Marcia Jean Kurtz.

Previous JPP plays have gone on to world premieres or continued development in New York (BAM, The Flea, Abingdon, 4th Street Theater), Washington, DC (Theater J, The Hub), and Tel Aviv (Hazira Art), as well as Vancouver, Toronto, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Cleveland.


The Jewish Plays Project puts bold, progressive Jewish conversations on world stages. The JPP's innovative and competitive development vehicle invests emerging artists in their Jewish identity; engages Jewish communities in the vetting, selecting and championing of new voices; and secures mainstream production opportunities for the best new plays. The JPP's signature method is Jewish Dramaturgy: matching the best minds in the Jewish community with the best 21st Century Jewish plays. If you are interested in becoming a Jewish Dramaturg or an investor in our mission, please visit http://www.jewishplaysproject.org

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