MOXIE Productions and The Grange Hall Cultural Center Welcome Valerie David's Solo Show, BAGGAGE FROM BaghDAD

The performance is on Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 3:00 pm.

By: Dec. 06, 2022
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MOXIE Productions and The Grange Hall Cultural Center Welcome Valerie David's Solo Show, BAGGAGE FROM BaghDAD

Performer/playwright Valerie David of New York City returns to the Grange Hall Cultural Center on Sunday, December 11, 2022 @ 3 pm performing in her award-winning solo show, Baggage From BaghDAD: Becoming My Father's Daughter, as well as being GHCC's 2022 Artist-In-Residence recipient for the second time. She previously performed her internationally acclaimed inspirational comedy, The Pink Hulk: One Woman's Journey to Find the Superhero Within, an award-winning show that chronicles her journey of kicking cancer to the curb three times. She is thrilled to bring Baggage From BaghDAD to GHCC, which centers around the power of family and perseverance amid a harrowing past.

Audience talkback to follow featuring award-winning filmmakers Carole Basri and Adriana Davis, who have been champions in preserving Iraqi culture.

Ticket price: $15
For info and to purchase tickets:
Runtime: Approx. 60 minutes with talkback to follow performance

Mirroring the struggle of today's Ukrainian refugees and reflecting rising racial and religious discrimination worldwide, Baggage From BaghDAD is one Middle Eastern Jewish family's true inspirational journey of being forced to flee from religious persecution during the 1941 "Farhud" pogrom in Baghdad. It is the story of playwright and performer Valerie David's father and his family's struggle to transcend their harrowing past and build a new home in America. As father and daughter learn to love and to accept their differences, the importance of family takes center stage as she begins to understand how his tale of survival and perseverance shaped her convictions and her future. Some of the themes of this new solo show center around immigration, refugees, social injustice, generational trauma, prejudice, discrimination, bullying, and the love and loss of family.

It is an accepted fact that Hitler had Mein Kampf translated into Arabic and thus began the trouble for the Middle Eastern Jews. There were plans for concentration camps and gas chambers, as over one million Jews resided in the Middle Eastern countries in the 1930's/'40s, and the Middle Eastern Jews' existence in the Middle East dates back thousands of years. Valerie's family were part of that diaspora. Over 1,000 Jews were estimated to have been murdered during The Farhud. Her family fled that night only with what they could carry, never to return.

Baggage From BaghDAD was first presented in April 2018 at the MENASA Artists Coalition cabaret night, with subsequent staged readings at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival (August 2018) and Live & In Color in Connecticut (September 2018), where Valerie was selected as writer-in-residence. In 2021, Baggage From BaghDAD was presented as a filmed staged reading in EAT's New Works Series. It was a semi-finalist for the 2021 Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. In 2022, it was selected for the WHAM (Women's History Artist Month) Festival and The New York Step 1 Theatre Project, both in New York. Baggage From BaghDAD received top theatre honors-The Spoken Word and Theatre Award-and was also nominated for the Grand Prix Award in the 2022 Stockholm Fringe Festival as a full production. The next performance is on March 4, 2023, at the Whitefire Theatre Solofest in Los Angeles. More dates will be announced.

Valerie David (playwright/performer) in 2023 will be performing Baggage From BaghDAD both domestically and internationally to create awareness of the Farhud, an essential part of history that has largely been forgotten. Valerie also wrote and currently performs the award-winning, internationally acclaimed solo show, The Pink Hulk: One Woman's Journey to Find the Superhero Within. She wrote the autobiographical comedic drama The Pink Hulk as a cancer survivor to express the empowerment she felt being able to find humor and superhero inner strength going through three bouts of cancer to become a three-time cancer survivor-first Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, then Stage II breast cancer, and finally Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, all of which she has conquered. Valerie is a true superhero. She currently has no evidence of disease-no trace of cancer as of April 2019. The Pink Hulk has been accepted into nearly 50 play festivals worldwide since its 2016 debut, has been performed in over 25 cities, including tours in England, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden, and is a testament to NEVER GIVE UP! It has won several awards, including the Audience Choice Award in the Shenandoah Fringe and WOW Award in Sweden's Gothenburg Fringe. Valerie has been touring the show since 2016, including performing virtually throughout the pandemic. She won the Act Solo Show Award in the Reykjavik Fringe Festival for her in-person performances in Iceland in July 2021, and she returned to Iceland to perform in the same festival this past August. Valerie and The Pink Hulk have been featured on TV, radio, in publications and on podcasts, including NBC 4 New York, CBS, FOX, amNY, Heal magazine, The IndyStar, Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio Network, Mia's World, First Online with Fran, The Crisis Help Show, the Jim Masters Show! Live, Tamara L. Hunter's Service Hero Show and the Reykjavik Fringe Festival podcast. For more info on Valerie, visit

Maris Heller (director) is the founder of Maris Heller Studios. Maris has performed at Soho Repertory Theater, Primary Stages, and The Gene Frankel Theater under the direction of renowned director Gene Frankel, and she has directed at the American Place Theater with founder/director Wynn Handman. She is a founding member of The First Amendment Comedy and Improvisation Co. and has directed numerous original works, including solo performances, cabaret and, most notably, a special for PBS, "The Consuming Passions of Lydia Pinkham and Rev. Sylvester Graham." Maris has been an adjunct professor of speech and drama at City College of New York. She received a master's degree from San Francisco State University School of Drama. She also directs The Pink Hulk.

Carole Basri (special talkback guest) is a lawyer and award-winning filmmaker. She is a visiting professor at Peking University School of Transnational Law and a visiting professor at Pericles Law School. In 2003, Carole was a member of the U.S. State Department's "Future of Iraq" Project and a member of the Coalition Provisional Authority with the Iraqi Reconstruction Development Council for Ambassador Bremer in Baghdad. She has executive produced a trilogy of films about Iraq's Jewish community and history: The Life of Frank Iny (1995/1999), Searching for Baghdad (2002), and The Last Jews of Baghdad (2005). The trilogy screened in over 80 premiere film festivals in the U.S., Canada, Israel, and Europe, and was featured on PBS and JLTV. Carole received a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. With Adriana Davis, she co-directed and produced Saving the Iraqi Jewish Archives (2020), a journey to rescue the identity of Iraqi Jews and preserve their heritage for future generations.

Adriana Davis (special talkback guest) is a filmmaker, producer, writer, editor, voice-over artist and coach. She is the founder of D-Squared Media, a full-service production company based in New York City. For over 25 years she has co-created feature documentaries including a multi-part series about Iraq's Jewish Community with Carole Basri, most notably "The Life of Frank Iny" (1995/1999), "Searching for Baghdad" (2002), "The Last Jews of Baghdad" (2005) and "Saving the Iraqi Jewish Archives" (2020) which have screened at film festivals worldwide and on PBS television. Among the narrative films she has produced is the romantic comedy "Play It By Ear" (2005) starring Oscar winner Rita Moreno. Her television, radio and corporate communications productions have aired on network, cable and satellite channels with several programs receiving Ciné Golden Eagle and Telly awards. Recently, Ms. Davis directed and premiered a short documentary "Dancing Without Steps: The Art of Improvisation with Margaret Beals" while continuing her voice acting work for radio, podcasts and corporate videos as well as training voice-over talent throughout the world. She is a frequent speaker at independent filmmaking and voice acting seminars.

Logan Chapman (Production Designer) is a Stage Manager and Lighting Designer, and works in mostly Theatre and Dance. He attends Cleveland State University where he is majoring in Theatre Arts with a Design/Tech focus, and minoring in music on his trombone. He has been involved in several productions at CSU, including Sweeney Todd and Lead Electrician, She Loves Me as Master Electrician and Board Opp/Programmer, and Blithe Spirit as Assistant Stage Manager. This is his second time working with Valerie, as he was the Tech Director for her one-woman show The Pink Hulk at the BorderLight Fringe Festival. He Stage Managed Weathervane Playhouse's production of Radium Girls until it was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He has been involved in many other productions at Weathervane; as Assistant Stage Manager, Deck Crew, Light Board opp, Fly opp, and Spot opp.

About the Grange Hall Cultural Center:
GHCC is a multi-disciplinary performance and presentation center for performance, film, visual art, and community expression, illumination, and celebration. Create, Connect, and Celebrate @ the Grange Hall Cultural Center. For more information, contact or