Naomi Patz (Playwright)
NAOMI PATZ, D.J.R.E, reconstructed and reimagined The Last Cyclist from a cabaret of the same name written in the Terezín Ghetto in 1944. Her play, now a film, has been performed since 2009 around the United States and in Mexico City. The Last Cyclist is on the syllabus of courses in genocide and the performing arts at the University of Kansas, Tufts and several other universities. Patz is the editor of Married to the Rabbi¸ a volume of essays by sixty spouses of retired Reform rabbis (of which she is one), scheduled for publication in January 2020.
She has written many books and essays on Jewish themes, including monographs on two pre-World War II Czech Jewish communities, D’vůr Kralové nad Labem and Jihlava. Her Shabbat prayer book, called Siddur Netivot Sholom, is currently being used by Temple Sholom West Essex in Cedar Grove, New Jersey and at Temple Beth Shalom in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She coauthored Explaining Reform Judaism with Dr. Eugene Borowitz and was the editor/writer of an acclaimed seven-year project, known as the Judaica Series, for the United Jewish Appeal National Young Leadership Cabinet. With her husband, she translated from Hebrew the fantasy drama “The Third Cry” by Yaakov Cahan.
Over the years, Patz has created numerous one-act plays, other scripts and parodies on Jewish themes, and a cantata called “A Word to the Wise,” with music by Cantor Stephen Richards.
Her career includes eight years as director of the North American Jewish Forum, which matched key young leaders in the United States and Canada with their counterparts in Israel and, later, Western and Eastern Europe. She then served for eight years as national director of Partnership 2000 (now Partners Together), a project linking communities in American Jewish federations with the cities, kibbutzim and moshavim that work together in regions throughout Israel.
Patz holds a BA in English literature from Barnard College, an MA in English from Old Dominion University, and an MA in Jewish education from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, which awarded her an honorary doctorate. She is married to Rabbi Norman Patz and has two daughters and four granddaughters.
“The Holocaust was the largest organized mass murder in history. Humanity has not yet learned its lessons. For many years, the focus of historians was on the murderers and their crimes. In more recent years, we have begun to recover a sense of the lives that were lost, the human potential that was destroyed. Soon there will be no more survivors to tell the story. We need other ways to remind the world of what can happen when individuals and societies give in to bigotry and prejudice – and also to remember the glory of the human spirit in resisting evil.”
–Naomi Patz, November 2019
EDWARD EINHORN (Director)
EDWARD EINHORN (www.edwardeinhorn.com) is a playwright, director, translator, librettist, and novelist. He is the Artistic Director of Untitled Theater Company #61: A Theater of Ideas, which has been performing in New York City for 25 years.
Some notable Jewish projects include curating the 2009 Festival of Jewish Theater and Ideas and running the concurrent Jewish Theater Conference for The Association for Jewish Theater. He is also the creator and co-director of Cabaret in Captivity, songs and sketches from Terezín, performed at Pangea Cabaret, The Center for Jewish History, the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC, the York Theatre, and Goodenough College in London. He has also written many plays on Jewish themes, from his take on the golem legend, Golem Stories, to his current work on The Exagoge, an opera-theater piece adapted from the 2nd Century CE Greek tragedy about Exodus by Ezekiel the Tragedian.
Other notable projects have been The Václav Havel Festival, a festival of all of Havel’s work, which he curated in 2006 with Havel in attendance, performed at The New Ohio, The Brick Theatre, and Columbia University. A production of The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, which played at HERE Theatre in New York in 2017 and received a Critic’s Pick by the co-chief Critic of The New York Times, was mounted Off-West End at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London in 2022. The Pig, or Václav Havel’s Hunt for a Pig, adapted from the work by Václav Havel and Vladimír Morávek, performed at 3 Legged Dog in 2015, was also a New York Times Critics Pick (as well as in The Village Voice); and The God Projekt, which played at La MaMa Theatre in 2016 and was a Critic’s Pick for Time Out New York.
The New York Times has called his work “exquisitely ingenious,” “dramatically shrewd,” and “almost unbearably funny”; Time Out has called it “challenging, thought-provoking,” “mesmerizing,” and “startlingly intense”; and The Village Voice has called it “hilarious, provocative,” and “Inspired absurdist comedy.” He has received a Sloan Grant, SEED Magazine’s Revolutionary Mind Award, The NY Innovative Theater Award for Best Performance Art Production of the Year, NYTheater.com’s Person of the Year Award and placement in their Indie Theater Hall of Fame. He has a BA in Writing from Johns Hopkins and an MA in Opera Making (with Distinction) from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
STEPHEN FEIGENBAUM (Original Score)
STEPHEN FEIGENBAUM is a composer, songwriter, and singer who works in a variety of disciplines, including classical, musical theater, and pop music. Many of his projects are driven by a passion for turning mainstream audiences into fans of classical music.
Stephen was the composer/arranger of Yeethoven, a 2016 orchestral concert in Los Angeles in which the works of Kanye West and Beethoven were interwoven and compared. The program was widely recognized in publications ranging from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone to USA Today and was reprised in winter 2017-18 in Los Angeles and at New York’s Lincoln Center. Stephen’s project Doctrine, created in 2017 with San Diego choir Sacra /Profana, presented traditional choral textures in an indie-pop format and ascended to the top five in the Hype Machine charts of music blog buzz, an unheard-of feat for a choral work.
As a music producer and composer, Stephen has collaborated extensively with producers No I.D., Mike Dean, and Travis Barker, and with artists including Travis Scott, Nas, Kanye West, Big Sean, Rufus Wainwright, Teyana Taylor, Vic Mensa, and Alessia Cara. He sings and produces for his own project, which has been heard more than one million times on Spotify. Stephen’s Off-Broadway folk-rock musical Independents was named a New York Times Critic’s Pick and one of the Huffington Post’s ten best plays of 2012. Stephen also did music preparation for the score to the Oscar-winning movie The Revenant.
Stephen’s classical music has been performed and recorded by the Cincinnati Pops, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Boston Children’s Chorus, contemporary music pianists Lisa Moore and Vicky Chow, and the string quartet Ethel in venues including Boston’s Symphony Hall and New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Stephen has won two ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and a 2013 Charles Ives award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A native of Winchester, Massachusetts, Stephen holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in music composition from Yale, where he studied with Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang and received instruction in musical theater composition from Fun Home composer Jeanine Tesori.
MARK PODWAL (Cyclist Artwork & Opening Title Sequence)
MARK PODWAL (www.markpodwal.com) is an artist, author, filmmaker and physician probably best known for his drawings on The New York Times OP-ED page. In addition, he is the author and illustrator of books for children as well as for adults. Most of these works — Podwal’s own as well as those he has illustrated for others—typically focus on Jewish legend, history and tradition. Exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the world, his art is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Fogg Art Museum, the Jewish Museum in Prague, and the Library of Congress. Podwal’s artistry has been employed in an array of diverse projects, including the design of a series of decorative plates for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an animation for public television of A Passover Seder with Elie Wiesel (Time Warner). Podwal collaborated with Academy Award winning filmmaker Allan Miller on the documentary House of Life: The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, narrated by Claire Bloom. In 2011, Podwal received a commission to design new embroidered textiles for Prague’s 700-year-old Altneuschul. In 2014, the Terezín Ghetto Museum exhibited Podwal’s cycle All This Has Come Upon Us, a series of 42 paintings and drawings created especially for that venue. The works, which span Jewish history from the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem, through the history of antisemitism and persecution in Europe, culminating in the Holocaust, have been described by the artist as offering “a disturbing reminder of how Europe’s extensive history of ‘Jew-hatred’ laid the groundwork for Terezín and Auschwitz.”
At Prague’s Klementinum, Podwal’s series Mozart and Prague was exhibited along with Mozart’s handwritten manuscripts.
In 2016, Glitterati Inc. published Reimagined: 45 Years of Jewish Art, a 374-page monograph on Podwal’s work. In 2019, the Foreign Ministry of the Czech Republic awarded Mark Podwal the prestigious Gratias Agit Prize. His most recent publication illustrates Heinrich Heine’s Hebrew Melodies, newly translated by Stephen Mitchell and Jack Prelutsky (2019).
His drawings of Prague in Elie Wiesel’s retelling of the Golem story have been described by members of the Czech Jewish community as the best artistic capture of the spirit and character of that beautiful, mysterious city.
Mark Podwal created the iconic design for The Last Cyclist: a stylized bicycle on barbed wire making its uncertain way from Prague to the moated fortress that had become the Terezín Ghetto. The Hebrew letters on the front wheel of the bicycle reference the clock face on the tower of the Jewish town hall in Prague. The sequence was animated for the film by Tom Lee.