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VUTheatre's A SHAYNA MAIDEL explores impact of Holocaust on family

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VUTheatre's A SHAYNA MAIDEL explores impact of Holocaust on family
Director Santiago Sosa

VUTheatre, in partnership with the Vanderbilt University Holocaust Lecture Series, presents the emotional drama, A Shayna Maidel, opening November 4 at Neely Auditorium on the Nashville campus.

Playwright Barbara Lebow's play offers the audience a timeless reflection on sisterhood, family and the horrors of the Holocaust. Her play inspired the Emmy-winning film Miss Rosie White.

Actor and teaching artist Santiago Sosa serves as the Fred Coe visiting director-in-residence for A Shayna Maidel, which runs November 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 at 8 p.m. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, November 6.

"A Shayna Maidel continues to engage and fascinate me with every rehearsal as it explores the power of hope and the importance of forgiveness in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances," Sosa says. "The memory of loved ones gives a reunited family the strength to carry on in this touching and compelling play."

The plot revolves around two sisters who are reunited after living extremely different lives. One has survived a Nazi concentration camp while the other has enjoyed a safe life in the United States. Over the course of one very intense evening, they achieve a closeness much stronger than the walls of their 1946 New York City apartment.

Theatre groups where Sosa (a 2016 First Night Star Award winner) has performed or taught has worked include the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, where he is head teaching artist; Oregon Shakespeare Festival; American Players Theatre; Tennessee Performing Arts Center; Nashville Children's Theatre and Nashville Repertory Theatre.

VUTheatre's A SHAYNA MAIDEL explores impact of Holocaust on family
Actor Henry Haggard

Actor Henry Haggard, a second Fred Coe visiting artist-in-residence, will play the sisters' father, Mordechai Weiss. Haggard has performed with the Nashville Children's Theatre, Nashville Repertory Theatre, Kentucky Repertory Theatre and Nashville Opera. He has also held roles in several films, including Boulevard and Blood Rogues.

Other cast members include Lauren Hurley as Rose Weiss, the younger sister who has lived in America; Alex Wolfe as Lusia Pechenik, the older sister who was in the concentration camp; and Stephanie Carlson in the role of Liba Weiss, their mother. In addition, Lillian Dennison plays Hanna, a childhood friend and Andrew Hey has the role of Duvid Pechenik, Lusia's husband from whom she was separated during the Holocaust.

General admission for A Shayna Maidel is $10. Tickets are $7 for Vanderbilt graduate students and free for undergraduates with a Vanderbilt ID.

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