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UNDER THE CROSS To Run At Havoc Theater 6/3-25

New Worlds Theatre Project (Ellen Perecman, Founder & Producing Artistic Director) will present the first ever English adaptation of the nearly century old but timely and gripping Yiddish drama UNDER THE CROSS from June 3rd-25th at the June Havoc Theater. A powerful tale of family, rebellion and religious persecution that takes place over the course of a tumultuous day in a rural Russian village, UNDER THE CROSS will feature direction by David Winitsky and a cast in which the play's only three Jewish characters are portrayed by African-American actors. Winitsky has been an Assistant Director for Tony Award-winner Anna Shapiro at Paper Mill and Steppenwolf, was a PA for Henry Krieger on Sideshow and was a Stage Manager for Rent early in the Broadway run. Originally titled Untern Tzeylem in Yiddish, the play was published in 1923 by I.D. Berkovich who was born in Belarus in 1885 and had a long career as a writer & translator all over the globe. Untern Tzeylem premiered at the Irving Place Theater in NYC in 1924.

Set in the 1920's, UNDER THE CROSS centers on the troubled relationship between successful businessman Moshke Ferapontov and his son, Yakov. Moshke was born and raised Jewish until his rebellious behavior got him sent off to the Russian army, after which he converted to Christianity, settled in a rural village & married a devout Christian woman with whom he had Yakov. 25 years later, Moshke has found a young Christian bride for his son and underlying tensions between the two men erupt when Moshke begrudgingly opts to harbor a young Jewish woman fleeing a pogrom. Unbeknownst to Moshke, the woman was raped by his own vengeful son. During this first contact with a Jew in twenty-five years, Moshke confides in her his secret longing to renounce his Christian conversion and take his family to Palestine. But when he realizes that his son was an active participant in the pogrom, he loses his mind and makes the ultimate sacrifice.

The non-traditional cast of UNDER THE CROSS will be lead by Charles Roby as Moshke, Anthony Laurent as Yakov and Trish McCall as pogrom victim Rokh'l Leye. Joining them will be Dan Bielinski, James Nugent, Caroline Ryburn (national tours of Gypsy and Fiddler on the Roof), Timothy Roselle, and Sonja Rzepski (the aerial choreographer for the current Broadway revival of How to Succeed). The creative team includes Broadway scenic designer Bill Clarke (A Walk in the Woods and Abby's Son), lighting designer Josh Benghiat (who has assisted on productions at the Met and Lincoln Center Theater), and costume designer James McDaniel.

UNDER THE CROSS will run from June 3rd thru June 25th at the June Havoc Theater (312 West 36th Street, 4th Floor) with performances Tues-Thur at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. There will also be 8pm performances on Fridays June 3rd and 24th and Saturdays June 4th and 25th as well as a special matinee performance on Tuesday, June 7th at 2pm followed by a talk back. Tickets are priced at $18 ($10 for NYC public school students/members of the military) and can be bought online at or by phone at 212-868-4444.

New Worlds Theatre Project is a 501(c)3 not for profit theatre company committed to giving voice to the extraordinary legacy of authentic Yiddish culture by making early 20th century Yiddish plays accessible to diverse contemporary artists and audiences in modern English adaptations. For more information, visit

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