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Charter Oak Cultural Center To Host Interactive Jewish Playwriting Event

Charter Oak Cultural Center To Host Interactive Jewish Playwriting Event

Charter Oak Cultural Center announced today that it will be hosting a virtual edition of the 4th Annual Hartford Jewish Playwriting Contest via Zoom on Thursday, June 18 at 7pm. The Jewish Plays Project has taken its National Playwriting Contest online and is seeking dedicated theater lovers and Jewish culture aficionadas to vote for a winner in the contest.

Interested audiences (from Hartford - and anywhere in the world) can register for the Hartford Event by visiting

"Normally at this time of the year, I would be traveling to Hartford for our Live Contest event - it's a combination of a TED Talk, a play reading and American Idol. It's super fun," said Mr. Winitsky. "Our audiences really look forward to these events, and we heard a real hunger to keep them going."

The JPP invited 7 great directors to record 7-to-10-minute video excerpts from it's National Top 7 plays - all via Zoom. Casting Director Judy Bowman led efforts to engage over 35 actors including Caesar Samoaya (Come from Away), Daniel K. Isaac (Billions), Adam Dannheiser (Fiddler on the Roof), Mitch Greenberg (TikTok's wildly popular @eveandmitch) and Kate Levy (Succession) and Yuval David (One Actor Short).

A panel of Hartford theater lovers and Jewish leaders - including local playwright Jacques Lamarre, UConn Professors Jeffrey Shoulson and Avi Patt, and Charter Oak Board Member Rona Gollob - met in March to select the three plays to be presented from the JPP's list. The Hartford Top 3 will be viewed as part of the interactive event on June 18,.

Charter Oak audiences will enjoy excerpts from three of the selected plays: Moving Pictures, United Nathans, and Settlements.

A MOVING PICTURE by Jennie Berman Eng • directed by Ariane Barrie-Stern

An NYU student screenplay about a Mercedes Benz labor camp during WWII collides with a legendary director/teacher and the dark secret of his Hollywood success.

SETTLEMENTS by Seth Rozin • directed by David Winitsky

A JCC's resident theater commissions a controversial play, and a battle for the institution's soul erupts. How can the center hold in a world of extremes?

UNITED NATHANS by Jason Sherman • directed by Michael Leibenluft with Animations by Colin McGreal

A reunion in Israel for three longtime friends turns into a confrontation over the truth behind a tragic night from their past.

After the live event, all 7 excerpted recordings will be available at, where audiences all over the world can view introductions from the playwrights, watch the plays, and vote on their favorite plays.

The Top 7 Finalists were chosen from over 250 submissions from playwrights in 30 states and 5 countries.

"This is one of our strongest groups of plays," said Mr. Winitsky, "covering the most pressing stories in the Jewish world. Jews taking responsibility for refugees, Jews confronting racial injustice, American Jews and Israel, Jews in the face of anti-Semitism, Jews facing off with each other. This is the reason the JPP exists - to find plays that matter, and to champion them as they move onto the best stages in the world."

Full information about all the plays can be found at the JPP's website,

"The JPC offers something more powerful than exposure: it offers Jewish playwrights a spiritual community, where they can share work and exchange ideas," said Adi Eshman, 2019 Top 7 playwright and writer's assistant for HBO's Mosaic.

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