LOVE SICK to Make Its World Premiere this January

LOVE SICK to Make Its World Premiere this January

Berkeley's Jewish Circle Theatre, in association with John Gertz Productions, announces the world-premiere of Love Sick, a passionate new musical play inspired by the ancient Hebrew text, "The Song of Songs." The production hits Bay Area stages this winter at The Osher Studio in Berkeley, California beginning January 12, 2017 and SecondStage at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts beginning February 23, 2017. Helmed by internationally-acclaimed director Christopher Renshaw (Broadway: The King and I[Best Revival Tony Award, 1996], Taboo; West End We Will Rock You, Zorro: The Musical), the production features the Bay Area's Ofra Daniel in this original story of one woman's journey through a relentless and fervent love affair-and her gradual descent into madness.

Drawing on the passionate poetry of the ancient Hebrew text, "The Song of Songs," Love Sick weaves narrative, poetry, and movement, creating a uniquely original theatrical event set against a backdrop of modern-day Tel-Aviv and a Jerusalem unbound by time. Featuring an unparalleled collection of international and Bay Area artists, Love Sick's story is penned by Israeli born Ofra Daniel, features original music by Daniel and San Francisco based world-musician Lior Ben-Hur, and features a company that includes celebrated world-musician Ali Paris, who has collaborated with such artists as Alicia Keys, Bobby McFerrin, and Quincy Jones, Syrian percussionist Faisal Zedan, London based choreographer Matt Cole, and musical direction by world-renowned composer Yuval Ron (Film: 2007 Academy Award Winner West Bank Story).

"The ancient collection of love poetry preserved in the biblical Song of Songs has long been an inspiration for artists and storytellers of all faiths and cultures-it is timeless," says author and star of Love Sick, Ofra Daniel. "One of the poems describes a woman wandering the streets of Jerusalem, looking desperately for her lover. She cries out to passersby 'If you find this man, tell him I am sick with love'. Of all biblical texts, The Song of Songs expresses perhaps the strongest female voice. But the poems always seemed somehow too perfect for me. I wanted to find the human drama behind them."

Adds Renshaw: ""Producer John Gertz invited me to see a workshop of Love Sick in 2015 and within minutes I knew I had to direct this incredible new work. Ofra Daniel has created a truly unique piece of theater; one that fuses the music and poetry of theater with elements of a live concert. It feels like a completely new genre-one that encompasses rich character and story with a musical landscape that echoes the rhythms of flamenco and unique sounds from throughout the Middle East to traditional modern musical theater. We've assembled a world-class group of artists and musicians-I'm simply thrilled to be presenting it to Bay Area audiences."

The cast of Love Sick is led by Ofra Daniel and Ali Paris with support from Aleksandra Dubov*, Bekka Fink*, Regina Morones and Deborah Del Mastro*. Musical accompaniment will be provided by Ali Paris (Kanun), PatRick Kelly (Bass), David McLean (Guitar), Josh Mellinger (Drums), Qanun Asaf Ophir (Woodwind) and Faisal Zedan (Drums). *Indicates Actors Equity Association

The creative team for Love Sick is led by Christopher Renshaw (Director) and includes Yuval Ron (Musical Director), Jeff Rowlings (Production Manager), Shannon Reilly(Stage Manager), Matt Cole (Choreographer), Erik Flatmo (Set Designer), Connie Strayer (Costume Designer), Kate Boyd (Lighting Designer) and Brendan Aanes(Sound Designer).

Love Sick is made possible by executive producers John Gertz, Seavan Sternheim, Arje Shaw and Ofra Daniels.

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