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City Winery NYC To Host 8 NIGHTS OF EIGHT NIGHTS A National Fundraiser For HIAS


City Winery NYC To Host 8 NIGHTS OF EIGHT NIGHTS A National Fundraiser For HIAS

EIGHT NIGHTS, a new play from award-winning playwright Jennifer Maisel, is having a unique introduction to audiences - a series of benefit staged readings across America. The 8 Nights of EIGHT NIGHTS series will occur on at least 8 different nights in at least 8 different cities, to raise funds and awareness for HIAS in the wake of the Tree of Life shooting in Pittsburgh.

The NYC staged reading of EIGHT NIGHTS will feature stellar performances by Jessica Hecht, Amanda Kristin Nichols, Jeffrey Omura, Ariel Shafir, Shayna Small, Peterson Townsend and Chip Zien, and will be directed by Drama Desk Nominee Will Pomerantz (Associate Artistic Director for Bay Street Theater) with the support of the Jewish Plays Project and Bay Street Theater, and casting by Judy Bowman, CSA.

EIGHT NIGHTS tells the story of a nineteen-year-old German-Jewish refugee, Rebekah Blum, who tried to escape Nazi Germany on the SS St. Louis, only to be sent back to Europe, where she survived a concentration camp and eventually reunited with her father in America. Gracefully weaving heart-aching moments with dark yet life-affirming humor, the play takes place over the eight nights of Chanukah, spanning eight decades of her life. EIGHT NIGHTS explores the refugee experience, not just of Jewish immigrants but also the trauma mirrored in the African-American community, the interned Japanese citizens and the current Syrian crisis.

The "8 Nights of EIGHT NIGHTS" plan came into focus after the horrific shooting in Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue. Rachel Leventhal, long-time collaborator of Maisel's, had attended a reading of Eight Nights at Antaeus Theatre in Los Angeles, and approached Maisel about producing a series of readings to benefit HIAS. "I couldn't get the play out of my mind," explained Leventhal, "I was so struck by the story's relevance to this moment in history."

The first night took place on December 9, 2018 at Denver's prominent Curious Theatre, in association with Theatre Or, and was directed by Amy Feinberg. While the original goal was to do 8 readings of EIGHT NIGHTS in 8 different US cities, this grassroots plan has snowballed with more cities eager to participate. Besides Denver and New York City, other cities that have expressed interest include: Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Portland, Dallas, Stowe, Ithaca, Chapel Hill, and Ashland.

The staged readings will be held in a variety of venues - including several City Winery locations, theaters, synagogues and Jewish Community Centers, followed by panel discussions featuring the playwright, activists, members of HIAS leadership (when possible) and people who have been helped by HIAS.

Tickets available at

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