Miracle on South Division Street

by Tom Dudzick

direction by Yael Valier

production consultation: John Krug

THE STORY

Fresh from its off-Broadway run at St. Luke's Theatre, Miracle on South Division Street is the story of the Nowak family, living amidst the urban rubble of Buffalo, NY’s East Side. Maybe the neighborhood is depressed, but not Clara, the family matriarch. She happily runs her soup kitchen and tends to the family heirloom – a twenty-foot shrine to the Blessed Mother which adjoins the house. This neighborhood beacon of faith commemorates the day in 1942 when the Blessed Virgin Mary materialized in her father’s barber shop! When the play opens, a family meeting is in progress. Daughter Ruth divulges her plan to finally “go public” with the family miracle by creating a one-woman play about the sacred event. But during the course of the meeting, the entire family’s faith is shaken when hitherto hidden information causes the family legend to begin to unravel. The results are thought-provoking, heartfelt, and hilarious. Will family members reject their faith as their beloved myth crumbles? Will they strive to grasp more tightly at the literal reading of the story that has shaped them? Or will they come up with a path that allows them to maintain faith with integrity? We will be discussing these questions as they pertain to Judaism and to our own faith after each performance.

CAST

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MORDECHAI BUXNER

Jimmie

Mordechai has been acting in the English-speaking community theater in Jerusalem since 2008, beginning with an appearance in Israel Musicals' 1776 most recently as the antagonistic, Dovid, in Theater and Theology's In a Stranger's Grave. He played comic baritone roles in the Encore ETC Gilbert & Sullivan productions Ruddigore, The Sorcerer, Iolanthe and The Mikado. He also performed in the musicals Merrily We Roll Along, Ordinary Days and Free To Be... You and Me for J-Town Playhouse, and played Jaffar in Encore ETC's Aladdin. Mordechai played the lead in the plays The Importance of Being Earnest and The Man From Earth for J-Town Playhouse and The Tenth Man with JEST. He also composed and performed original backing music for J-Town Playhouse's Kindertransport. He is married to the brilliant director of Pygmalion and Irena's Vow, Yardena Buxner. 

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DEVORAH JAFFE

Ruth

Devorah has trained for most of her life as a dancer and singer. She later went on to train in acting at the Aspaklaria School of Performing Arts, where she studied for two years. In 2017, Devorah directed Hannah Senesh with J-Town Playhouse. Previous roles include Chana in  Theater and Theology's In a Stranger's Grave, Mary in Theater and Theology's Off the Derech Dolorosa, Mary in From Door to Door, Inga Johanson in Number the Stars and support roles in Raise Your Spirits productions of Noah! Ride the WaveRuth and Naomi in the Fields of Bethlehem and In Search of Courage.

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ANDREA KATZ

Clara

Andy is a regular performer on the J-Town Playhouse stage and in Theater in the Rough's Shakespeare productions in the park. She is adept at such diverse roles as staid aunties (Pride and Prejudice) and bordello managers (Measure for Measure). Andy is in fact from Buffalo, NY.

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SHLOMIT KOVALSKI

Beverly

Shlomit is a classically trained singer as well as an actor. She is appearing in March 2020 as Mama in Starcatcher's Chicago, and in an original opera at Jerusalem's Music Academy. This is Shlomit's second appearance in an opera after her award winning performance in the Academy's classical competition in 2019 and subsequent radio appearances. Her recent stage appearances include Ilona Ritter in She Loves Me and Sister Felicia in Tom Dudzick's Off the Derech Dolorosa, originally produced as Hail Mary!

REVIEWS

PETER FILICHIA, Theatremania.com:
"Utterly delightful while delivering a solid message on faith, the lack of it, why we believe what we believe, and how we can, or must, adjust to life's surprises."

DANIEL M. GOLD, The New York Times:
"Relatives who are a little too close; a suffocating sense of limits; secrets that, once shared, undo the precepts that defined a way of life: If these sound like elements in a family's deconstruction - the stuff, say, of a Sam Shepard play - they certainly could be. 

But Tom Dudzick's "Miracle on South Division Street," at St. Luke's Theater, is a sprightly, gentle comedy, where revelations that might remake a family's sense of itself are each rolled out in service of laughter."

 

LARRY HARBISON, On the Aisle with Larry:
"A well-constructed and most endearing play. I loved it."
 

JOANNE GRECO ROCHMAN, NewsTimes.com:
"You will quickly fall in love with the characters."

© 2017 by TheaterAndTheology.com.                                                                                                                              Photo Credits: Chana Goldstein  © 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Avrah Levine  © 2018

Karen Feldman  © 2019

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