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Broadway, TV Actors Come Together for BY WHEEL AND BY WING Industry Reading, 11/3

Broadway, TV Actors Come Together for BY WHEEL AND BY WING Industry Reading, 11/3A stellar cast of Broadway, film and television actors will come together under the direction of two-time Tony Nominee Jayne Atkinson on Monday, Nov. 3 to present By Wheel and By Wing, an original production that had its birth in front of sold-out audiences in Atlanta, Ga. (

The invitation-only staged reading will be held at 6 p.m. in the Edmond J. Safra Hall of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, New York, NY 10280 ( This will mark the musical's first New York performance with an Equity cast, but many involved with the production believe it is Broadway-bound. To request an invitation, contact

Cast members include actors from 13 the Musical, 30 Rock, Gossip Girl, Grease the Musical, House of Cards, Louie, Matilda the Musical, Ragtime the Musical, Sesame Street, Shrek the Musical, Spring Awakening, WICKED the Musical and more.

Broadway, TV Actors Come Together for BY WHEEL AND BY WING Industry Reading, 11/3"Once we got the word out about this extraordinary play, we were thrilled at the response from New York's acting community," said Atkinson, an award-winning Broadway actress and cast member of Gossip Girl and House of Cards, among numerous theatrical, TV and film productions. "The true story of a family's successful fight to survive and stay together during one of the most horrific periods of modern history really resonated with the actors, and they were eager to take By Wheel and By Wing to the next level through this staged reading for industry professionals."

Act3 Productions has invited Holocaust survivors to the musical's dress rehearsal at 2 p.m. A partial list of the participants includes:

Director - Jayne Atkinson (TV's 24, House of Cards, Criminal Minds, Broadway's Our Town, Enchanted April, Film's Free Willy and Free Willy 2)

Music Director - Geraldine Anello (Co-founder of

Stage Manager - Marci Skolnick

Reader - Michael Gill, (House of Cards, The Good Wife, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, All My Children, L.A. Law, Guiding Light)


The Parents:

ESTHER PARNES: Elyssa Brette Mactas (Off-Broadway: The Yellow Brick Road, CHIX 6, The Happy Hooker, Film: A.C.O.D.)

MICKEY PARNES: Ben Liebert (Broadway: WICKED, International Tour: Grease!, National Tour: WICKED)

The Children (oldest to youngest):

MOISHE PARNES: Connor Crank (Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre (MAT) Awards Nominee, member of acapella group UGA Accidentals)

SALLY PARNES: Remy Zaken (Broadway: Spring Awakening OBC, Off-Broadway: Spring Awakening, Freckleface Strawberry, The Anthem)

IZZY PARNES: Joey LaVarco (Broadway: 13 The Musical, TV: "30 Rock")

CLARA PARNES: Hayley Feinstein (National Tour: Shrek the Musical, Off-Broadway: A Little Princess, TV: "Louie," "Sesame Street")

JOHNNY PARNES: Matt Alea (Metropolitan Atlanta Theatre (MAT) Youth Award Winner), TV: Cartoon Network),

TONIA PARNES: Tori Feinstein (Broadway: Matilda, Madison Square Garden: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, TV: "30 Rock," "Small Miracles," "Sesame Street")

GENIE PARNES: Charlie Judelson (Ford Model: Target, Tommy Hilfiger, OshKosh B'gosh)

The boy from the wrong side of the tracks:

AZRIEL BAUER: Jeremy Sevelovitz (National Tour: We The People, Regional: Hello! My Baby (Goodspeed))


FEMALE ENSEMBLE: Natalie Peyser (Off-Broadway: The City Club, TV: "SMASH," "Magic City")
MALE ENSEMBLE: Abe Goldfarb (Off-Broadway: The Threepenny Opera Revival, Bunnicula, We The People)

KATYA (Act II Only): Rachel Weisbart
READER: Michel Gill (Broadway: A Man For All Seasons, TV: "House of Cards" (President Walker))

The musical relates the struggle of the Parnes family who lived on the Polish-Ukraine border at the outbreak of World War II. Through luck, coincidence and the family's insistence on staying together, they found themselves traveling always eastward. Although the Jewish family remained only a few days ahead of the Nazi invasion, they were never caught or imprisoned, and survived, family intact, at the end of the war.

Just as the family's survival included more than an element of chance, the creative spark for the play came about by chance, as well. A few years ago, Jeannie Parnes Wechsler found herself seated on an airplane next to Patti Mactas, artistic director of Atlanta's Act3 Productions. During the flight, Wechsler shared the World War II experience of herself, siblings and parents with Mactas.

"I was blown away by Jeannie's optimism and faith in humanity, despite all she and her family had been through. I immediately thought we had to share this triumphant story, and I was humbled and gratified when the family agreed to let Act3 Productions create a musical based on their experiences and published memoir."

The Atlanta production was created by a talented group of students, under the professional guidance of Act3 Productions staff. It previewed as a staged reading in May 2011, and a member of the audience was so impressed, he secured substantial grants from two foundations. With the financial support, Act3 hired both Equity and non-Equity actors and brought in professional musical arrangements, staging and costumes. When the musical had its official premier in June 2012, nearly all of the surviving Parnes siblings, their spouses and adult children attended the performance.

"It was a magical night," remembers Mactas. "During the lengthy standing ovation, there wasn't a dry eye in the house."

Since then, Act3 has secured funding to bring in a professional team to polish the book, music and lyrics. Atkinson became involved in the process and was invaluable with her guidance and direction, according to Mactas. The goal of the staged reading in New York is to generate additional support and take the play to the next stage.

"Everyone who is involved in this play, from the very beginning to now, has been deeply touched by its themes of family, resilience, faith, hope and love. I truly believe there is something magical about the story and hope it will continue to engage audiences for many years to come," said Atkinson.

Based on the true story of the family of Esther and Samuel Parnes' escape during World War II.

Informed by direct interviews with surviving family members and interviews conducted for the book about the Parnes family, One Step Ahead, by Avraham Azrieli.

BY WHEEL AND BY WING premiered on June 21, 2012 at Act3 Playhouse in Sandy Springs, Georgia with Creative Direction by Corey-Jan Albert.

The original writing team included: Book by Cameron Albert-Deitch, Haley Chung, Dara Epstein, Leah Quattrochi, & Parrish Turner; Music by Sam Barge, Leslie Doctor, Justin Nash Fisher, & Greg Windle; Lyrics by Cameron Albert-Deitch, Sam Barge, Leslie Doctor, Haley Chung, Maital Gottfried, & Greg Windle.

Additional Book, Music, & Lyrics by Corey-Jan Albert, Jayne Atkinson-Gill, Elyssa Mactas, Patti Mactas, & Dan Marmor. New Music & Lyrics by Shami Arslanian & Steve Weisbart (The Rabbi's Blessing, We Are Not Alone, There's Not A Thing...For You).

Act3 Productions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in the State of Georgia, USA. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowable by law.

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