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White Theatre Presents World Premier Of SURVIVING HITLER, April 9-14

The play is the story of the co-founder of Midwest Center for Holocaust Education.

White Theatre Presents World Premier Of SURVIVING HITLER, April 9-14

The White Theatre presents world premiere of "Surviving Hitler" April 9-14; the play is the story of the co-founder of Midwest Center for Holocaust Education.

It was 1939 when a 12-year-old Jack Mandelbaum's world was completely turned upside down. The Nazis invaded his Polish home sending his family to the death camps changing his life forever. Six million Jews would die at the hands of Hitler, yet Mandelbaum survived the horrors of the concentration camps. Mandelbaum created a new life for himself with a family of his own. He became a successful businessman and co-founded the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, an organization that teaches the history of the Holocaust, applying its lessons to counter indifference, intolerance and genocide.

Mandelbaum's amazing story comes to life in a world premiere production of "Surviving Hitler" that will be presented in a limited engagement by The Lewis and Shirley White Theatre at The J April 9-14 (the Sunday April, 10 matinee is sold out.) Tickets are now available at The theatre is located at the Jewish Community Campus, 5801 W. 115th Street in Overland Park, KS.

"Surviving Hitler'' is a stage adaptation of the award-winning book of the same name by acclaimed author, Andrea Warren. This new work was commissioned by The White Theatre at The J, and the production is being underwritten by The Midwest Center for Holocaust for Education, as well as several private donors.

The play has been adapted for the stage by Warren with the help of Kansas City veteran director and producer Tim Bair, who also directs this production. "Surviving Hitler'' is a moving tale of ingenuity and courage in the face of overwhelming adversity and evil - a tale that should never be forgotten. It follows Mandelbaum's journey from an idyllic childhood in the port city of Gdynia, Poland with his parents and two siblings, through his ultimate survival of not one, but seven different concentration camps

Coincidently, The White Theatre's production of "Surviving Hitler" comes on the heels of the poignant Auschwitz exhibit at Union Station, "Not Long Ago. Not Far Away."

"Bringing this story to the stage was originally my wife, Anne's idea, and the concept has been 'percolating' for many years," said Keith Wiedenkeller, Director of Arts + Culture for The J. "Given the rise in hate crimes and antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world, it seems especially important today to find new and innovative ways to share important stories like Jack's."

Director Tim Bair has been working with a dedicated troupe of local performers to bring "Surviving Hitler" to life.

"This has been an amazing experience for me. Not only have I had the good fortune of working with Andrea, but I've been given the opportunity to help tell the extraordinary story of an incredible man. Surviving Hitler is a memory play. I think the audience will be moved by the main character of Jack (based on the real Jack Mandelbaum) telling the story as they watch the story being woven together by a group of very talented actors. So, much of the story of Jack as a young boy -- and then in his teen years -- is both tender and heart-wrenching. I think we all feel a great responsibility in how we tell Jack's story."

"Surviving Hitler" represents the first effort in what Wiedenkeller plans to be a new tradition of The White Theatre at The J, producing new and original works of special significance.

"We're hoping that, with all the potential stories - and talent - out there, and with the support of organizations like The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, we can make this new work initiative an annual endeavor here at The J."

Each performance of "Surviving Hitler" will be followed by a conversation with the show's creators and some of the performers.

Now in its 17th season, The White Theatre's regularly offers everything from entertaining self-produced Broadway shows and lively concert fare, to educational programs and once-in-a-lifetime visiting artists for all to enjoy. Parking is convenient and free.

The White Theatre offers a Theatre Series, a Concert Series and lineup of Special Engagements and is produced by The J's Arts + Culture Department in a state-of-the-art 500-seat performing arts community theatre. Tickets are now available for this show and all productions either online at or by calling the box office at (913) 327-8054.

The White Theatre is both welcoming and inclusive, providing handicap-seating options, access without steps, assistive listening devices, and The J's signature open captioning system at select performances, making live theatre accessible for all patrons.

As part of The White Theatre's COVID-19 vaccination policy for the 2021-2022 season, all guests must wear masks, and either be fully vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. For more information, visit

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