Play With Songs Inspired by Israeli Documentary Comes To Mosaic Theater Company

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Play With Songs Inspired by Israeli Documentary Comes To Mosaic Theater Company

The sixth production of Mosaic Theater Company's third season will be Paper Dolls, written by Philip Himberg (Producing Artistic Director of The Sundance Institute Theatre Program) and directed by Broadway veteran Mark Brokaw. This uplifting, entertaining, and thought-provoking play with songs illuminates the world of five gay male Filipino nurses in Tel Aviv who care for elderly Orthodox and Chasidic men six days a week-and headline a drag show on their day off!

"Paper Dolls represents all of our key values at Mosaic Theater Company," says founding Artistic Director Ari Roth. "It's an exuberant, highly entertaining theatrical event that also touches on many important themes: how immigrants reconstitute family in a strange land; our longing and need for a sense of home; the evolving nature of social dramas impacting life in Israel; and how important and challenging it can be for an individual to find his or her place in a community."

Paper Dolls was inspired by and adapted from the award-winning 2006 Israeli documentary by Tomer Heymann and produced by Stanley Buchthal, who later executive produced the stage adaptation in conjunction with Bob Benton of Bob & Co Parners. The stage adaptation had its world premiere at the Tricycle Theatre in London in 2013, and was called “both achingly intimate and rich in universal themes” by The Times. Paper Dolls was further developed by the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. Buchthal and Benton will again join forces as executive producers on Mosaic’s American premiere production.

While Paper Dolls is not a traditional musical, the play features live performances of a diverse combination of Israeli popular music (including songs from the balladeer Sarit Hadad), Traditional Hebrew and Israeli pioneering music ("Dona Dona" and "Tzena Tzena"), American/British popular music (including Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Lou Reed, Mika, and Shirley Bassey), and songs in Tagalog. Mosaic's American premiere production will be helmed by the celebrated Broadway director Mark Brokaw and choreographed by Jeff Michael Rebudal (Artistic Director of Rebudal Dance; credits include the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Lincoln Center). The design team includes: set design by James Kronzer (Glory Days at Signature Theatre/Circle in the Square), costumes by Frank Labovitz (In the Heights at Olney Theater Center/Roundhouse), lighting design by Brittany Shemuga, projection design by Sarah Tunderman (Queens Girl in Africa), and David Lamont Wilson (Queens Girl in Africa). The cast includes: Ariel Felix, Kevin L. Shen, Evan D'Angeles, Rafael Sebastian, Jon Norman Schneider, John Bambery, Chris Bloch, Lise Bruneau, Elan Zafir, Brice Guerriere, Chris Daileader, and Dallas Milholland.

"We are thrilled to have such a talented team coming to Mosaic from all over America (and London too) to tell this inspiring, true story that is also a perfect fit for our Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival," added Roth. "Paper Dolls is a rousing celebration of a fusion of cultures within modern-day Israel, and how cultures can both clash and come together while crossing both literal and figurative borders. It is an honest and empowering production that will also feel shockingly relevant to American audiences and we can't wait to bring it to DC!"

Additional Information about Paper Dolls

Opening Night: Tuesday, April 3 at 7:30 PM

Weekly Schedule: performs Wednesday-Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 3 PM and 8 PM; Sunday at 3 PM and 7:30 PM

Ticket Prices: $20-$65

Special Performances and Post Show Discussions: PWYC preview on March 29 at 8 PM; Weekday Matinee at 11 AM on Thursday, April 12. Open-Captioned performances on Saturday April 21 at 3 & 8 PM and 3 & 7:30 PM. A full list of discussion dates and discussant bios will be available on

By Philip Himberg | Directed by Mark Brokaw
Based on the Film by Tomer Heymann
In association with Stanley Buchthal and Bob and Co, Ltd
Developed by the Sundance Institute Theatre Program



About Philip Himberg

Philip Himberg is the producing artistic director of Sundance Institute Theatre Program where he has created and overseen the developmental theatre laboratories since 1997. Under Mr. Himberg's aegis, this nationally recognized program has successfully developed over 150 new works for the stage, including the Tony Award-winning The Light in the Piazza, Grey Gardens, 33 Variations, Passing Strange, Spring Awakening, and I Am My Own Wife, among many others. Mr. Himberg's directing credits include the world premiere concert of William Finn's Songs of Innocence and Experience at Williams College and Merkin Hall in New York. He directed the world premiere of Terrence McNally's Some Men at Philadelphia Theatre Company, and most recently, Reprise/LA's revival of Flora, The Red Menace starring Eden Espinosa. For Sundance Summer Theatre, he directed Fiddler on the Roof, Funny Girl, and Dear World. He is also an author; his essay "Family Albums" appears in the Dutton anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys. He is a trustee of Theatre Communications Group.

About Mark Brokaw

Mark Brokaw's Broadway credits include Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, The Lyons, After Miss Julie, Reckless, The Constant Wife, and Cry-Baby. New York premieres include works by Douglas Carter Beane, Lisa Kron, Kenneth Lonergan, Craig Lucas, Nicky Silver, Simon Stephens, and Paula Vogel. His regional credits include the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center, the Guthrie, Center Theatre Group, Steppenwolf, Seattle Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Rep, Sundance Theatre Lab, and the O'Neill Theatre Conference. His work has also been seen on the West End, at London's Donmar Warehouse and Menier Chocolate Factory, Dublin's Gate Theatre, and Sydney Opera House. Mark is an Associate Artist of the Roundabout Theatre in New York and a Yale School of Drama graduate.

About Tomer Heymann

Tomer Heymann was born in Kfar Yedidia in Israel in 1970 and has directed many documentary films and series in the past ten years, most of them long-term follow-ups and personal documentations. Paper Dolls won three awards at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival and the audience's award at the Los Angeles Festival. The film and TV series Bridge over the Wadi, co-produced with the American ITVS, won the Israeli Documentary Film competition, participated in IDFA Festival's prestigious competition and won many awards around the world. Tomer's new 8-part series The Way Home was recently broadcast by the Yes Doco Channel in Israel and won the best documentary series award at the 2009 Jerusalem International Film Festival.

About the Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival

Created in 2000 by Founding Artistic Director Ari Roth when he led Theater J to become the largest Jewish theater in the country, the Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival became the critically-hailed yet controversial program that triggered the dramatic inception of Mosaic Theater Company at the end of 2014 after Theater J's parent organization, the DCJCC, canceled the Voices Festival in response to select community pressure and ousted Roth for his protestations. Over 14 seasons at Theater J, the Voices Festival grew to become a hub for civic and cultural drama in Washington, DC, offering 20 provocative productions and 39 workshop presentations to tens of thousands of local and regional audience members. Among the highlights: Motti Lerner's West Bank drama, Pangs of the Messiah (2007); Hadar Galron's cry for feminism within the religious community, Mikveh (2010); The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv's production of Return to Haifa, performed in Hebrew and Arabic and adapted by Boaz Gaon from the landmark Palestinian novella by Ghassan Kanafani (2011); and the acclaimed, controversial 2014 production of Motti Lerner's The Admission, which soon transferred to Studio Theatre, about an alleged massacre outside Haifa during the war of 1948. In Mosaic's inaugural season, the Voices Festival staged five works including Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman; I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish; Hkeelee by Leila Buck; Promised Land by Shachar Pinkhas and Shay Pitovsky; and After the War by Motti Lerner. In Season Two, the Festival marked the 50th anniversary of The Occupation with dual Israeli/Palestinian perspectives, offering Gilad Evron's Ulysses on Bottles and The Return by Hanna Eady and Edward Mast.

About Mosaic Theater Company of DC
Independent, intercultural, entertaining, and uncensored, Mosaic Theater Company of DC is committed to making transformational, socially-relevant art, producing plays by authors on the front lines of conflict zones, and building a fusion community to address some of the most pressing issues of our times. Dedicated to making our theater a model of diversity and inclusion at every strata, on stage and off, Mosaic invests in the new as we keep abreast of our changing and challenging times to ensure that our theater is a responsive gathering space, all the while nurturing and producing art of the highest order. Visit us at

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