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Jake Epstein to Premiere New Work THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE in Toronto

The Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company will present the world premiere of mother and son writing team, Kathy Kacer and Jake Epstein's THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, which will also launch the company's residency at the new Greenwin Theatre at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

Holocaust survivor Joseph moved to Canada and made a life for himself, settling down with Evelyn, a charming Canadian woman. Together they raised a son, Sam, and taught him the three tenets of life: health, freedom, and taking care of your family. Armed with a quick wit, Sam tries to make it through the day-to-day grind with the bright and optimistic, Suzanne at his side.

When a letter from Joseph's past arrives unexpectedly, he is faced with the heartbreaking dilemma of leaving his family for his first and true love, Chava, who he thought perished in the Holocaust; or choosing to stay with his wife of 25 years, their son, and the life they have built together. Inspired by true events, THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE questions the values of love and the importance of choosing life.

THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE stars Gemini Award winning actor, Jake Epstein (Degrassi: The Next Generation, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Stephen Sondheim Theater) as Sam; Dora, Gemini and Genie Award-winning actress Sheila McCarthy (Little Mosque on the Prairie, The Arsonists, Canadian Stage) as Evelyn; Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company co-artistic director, Avery Saltzman (Stars of David, Harold Green Jewish Theatre, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Livent) as Joseph; Amelia Sargisson (If We Were Birds, Imago Theatre, The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh, Carousel Players) as Suzanne; and Dora Award-winning Lisa Horner (Les Miserables, The Wizard of Oz, Mirvish) as Chava.

Kathy Kacer (playwright) is a multi-award winning author of more than a dozen books, all of which focus on stories of the Second World War and the Holocaust, many which are written for young readers. A child of Holocaust survivors, she has written unforgettable stories inspired by real events. Among other awards, she is the recipient of the Jewish Book Award and the Yad Vashem Award for Children's Holocaust Literature. THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE is Kathy Kacer's second play and her first collaboration with her son, Jake Epstein.

Jake Epstein (playwright/actor) recently finished a year on Broadway originating the role of Gerry Goffin in the Tony nominated Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Prior to that he starred as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. On television, he is best know for playing Craig Manning on Degrassi: The Next Generation, which earned him a Gemini Award. A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, this marks Epstein's first professionally produced play, and first time collaborating with his mother, acclaimed writer Kathy Kacer.

Rachel Slaven (director) is a Canadian director based in Toronto and New York. She has worked regularly with Broadway director Daniel Sullivan as his assistant director on Glengarry Glen Ross starring Al Pacino, Good People starring Frances McDormand, The Columnist starring John Lithgow, and Accent on Youth starring David Hyde Pierce, among others. She was the youngest inaugural member of Stratford Festival's Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction in 2010, and a Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow.

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