8567 Coral Way #355
Miami, FL 33155
Cultural Arts Center
10950 SW 211 Street
Cutler Bay, FL 33189
THE GATES OF CHOICE by Michelle Rosenfarb
November 13 - December 14, 2008
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Directed by Ricky J. Martinez*
Scenic Designer: Dudley Pinder & Jesus Casimiro
Lighting Designer: Jesus Casimiro
Sound Designer: Ozzie Quintana
Costumes: K. Blair Brown
Production Stage Manager: Clint Hooper*
Assistant Stage Manager: Jessa Thomas
House Manager: Juan C. Sanchez
Photography: Eileen Suarez* (marketing & publicity) and
Dr. Norman Gorback (lobby display)
Exhibiting Lobby Artist: Ana Carolina Moreno
ZISSEL ABROMOWITZ - Kim Ehly*
MEHIRA STEIN - Valentina Izarra
MENACHEM STEIN - Bill Schwartz*
ORI-BEN NATAN/MOISHE BERKOWITZ - David Sirois
SORAH STEIN - Laura Turnbull*
* members of Actors' Equity Association
Special Thanks to Henry Hernandez, Clint Hooper, Ozzie Quintana, Ricardo Rodriguez, Stephanie Rodriguez, Kyle Thomas, Vanessa Thompson, Florida Grand Opera, and Rabbi Lewis Littman of Temple Bat Yam.
Notes from the Playwright
The conception of The Gates of Choice arose almost ten years ago after returning from a study abroad program in Israel. During my month in Israel, I experienced my first true glimpse of my faith and a reawakening of my connection with my Jewish heritage. Somehow, every time I pressed my pen to paper I found myself exploring the landscape of Israel, examining issues of identity, religion, culture, and demarcations within a faith. In particular I was fascinated with the intricacies of the Ultra-Orthodox population. While I was raised secular, and had a minimal understanding of what it meant to be "Jewish," I related to stories I read about observant Jews who were trying to "lose their faith," stories that addressed feelings of entrapment and repression, stories that conveyed the hypocrisy of their world. At the same time, I could not help but see the beauty in their seemingly insular lives, the rituals that brought meaning to every aspect of their existence, and of course the importance of family, community and tradition. The story I wanted to tell had to exhibit a fine balance between practice of a belief and the judgment of it.
After ample time researching the community of Mea Shearim, Israel, the Haredim (or observant population that habitats the area) and studying the conflicts of young people fighting in the Israeli army, I crafted a short, short story, a screenplay then multiple versions of a play to finally reach my current work, The Gates of Choice.
The Gates of Choice underscores the lengths that people go though to define their own path and the sacrifices that are made for self fulfillment. The play has modeled my own life in many ways as I found the strength to pursue my passion in writing and follow my heart against many, many odds. While the play spotlights a specific population, it is universal in its message - There are consequences we must all face in pursuing our destiny.
Michelle Rosenfarb (Playwright) is a graduate of psychology at GWU and a Master's graduate of Interdisciplinary Arts at NSU, where she received attention for her play, 100 Gates. After an incredibly close encounter with law school, Michelle embarked on her passion for theatre, serving as Assistant Stage Manager to Mosaic Theater's productions of Amadeus and Memory of Water. She served as the Education Coordinator at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, facilitating visual and performing art programming for adolescents. Directorial and choreography credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Aladdin, Once on This Island Jr., and The Music Man. New Vista Theatre embraced Michelle as their Associate Artistic Director and their Project Director for the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts - joining a research team in Germany to film a documentary on a significant Holocaust artifact. Most recently Michelle joined the David Posnack JCC as their Assistant Director for Cultural Arts. Michelle is a recipient of the Emerging Artist Foster Fellowship granted by the Broward Cultural Arts Foundation as well as the winner of the 16th Annual Florida Playwright Competition. Michelle has also been selected to participate in the 2008- 2009 Playwright Development Program funded by Miami Dade Cultural Affairs and will receive an award for Lifetime Achievements of honor for Jewish artists and benefactors from Beth David Congregation in January.
Ricky J. Martinez (Director) is New Theatre's Artistic Director. New Theatre audiences witnessed Martinez's direction recently in The Rant, The Mission, A Nervous Smile, For Better... , and Likeness. He has also directed previous season's Melt, Sin Full Heaven, Just a Kiss, Elliot: A Soldier's Fugue, Lincolnesque, Madagascar, Paradise, Day of Reckoning and the three short plays for New Theatre's annual fundraiser event, Miami Stories. Some of his directorial credits in South Florida includes: Bump, Retch, One More Cloudy Day, Jack, the Bitter Tears of Petra van Kant, The Stronger, and he has staged some of his own multi-media productions such as Postlude 1, .EPAR, Concerning Phaedra, Snow and ED.L for Coral Castle. Younger audiences have seen his work as director & choreographer on Captain Nemo, Narnia, Scrooge, Anne of Green Gables, Ferdinand the Bull, The Secret Garden at Actor's Playhouse and Hollywood Playhouse, the latter of which he was the Artistic Director for Imagination Theatre's for Young Audiences. Other credits included on the Staff page.
Clint Hooper (Production Stage Manager) is a proud member of Actor's Equity and excited to be taking part in The Gates of Choice as Production Stage Manager after serving as Stage Manager for The Rant. Though audiences may remember Clint from his performances in this summer's production of As You Like It (Jaques/First Lord), and last season's production of A Nervous Smile (Brian), he is no stranger to the technical side of theatre. Clint has designed sound for several productions at New Theatre including Elliot: A Soldier's Fugue, Just a Kiss, and I Have Before Me A Remarkable Document... from Rwanda. As a Stage Manager, he has worked on several productions including numerous dance concerts for various local studios and choreographers including Gary Lund, Ron Headrick, Leslie Neal, Jane Carrington, Kofi Leo and Pat Penenori. Clint is also a Theatre Arts instructor at Southwest Miami High School.
Kim Ehly (Zissel Abromowitz) is thrilled to be on stage again at New Theatre, after having portrayed Ana in Fill Our Mouths, a role which earned her Best Supporting Actress of '08 from Miami Sun Post and Best Ensemble in Miami New Times. Kim is grateful to Ricky for the opportunity to work under his insightful direction and with an exceptional playwright, cast and crew. She was last seen in the Naked Stage's 4.48 Psychosis. Some Florida credits include: Sister Cities, Julie Johnson, and Aunt Dan and Lemon... NYC Theatre: Steel Magnolias, Pains of Youth, Lysistrata... Film: Mona Lisa Smile, Stepford Wives...TV: Sex & the City, Law & Order SVU... Kim's mission is to encourage, empower and inspire the awakening of the Human Spirit with the gift of her voice and the voice of her actions. Mazel Tov!
Valentina Izarra (Mehira Stein), a native of Venezuela, is delighted to be making her New Theatre debut. Her South Florida credits include Uncommon Women and Others at Women's Theatre Project, Madeline's Christmas, White Christmas, No Dogs Allowed and House & Garden at Actors' Playhouse, and And Then She Moved the Furniture and Barefoot Boy With Shoes On at Public Theatre. Last year Valentina studied Shakespeare at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. Locally she studied acting at the University Center for the Performing Arts in Broward. A dancer and choreographer, she has also worked in Spanish television and independent films.
Bill Schwartz (Menachem Stein) was professionally active on stage in the 1970's, appearing in dinner theatre, at the Coconut Grove Playhouse and Vinette Carroll's Theatre in New York City. He also performed with Sarasota's Asolo Touring Theatre in a nine-month run, which included the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Since returning to the professional theatre in 2003, Bill has appeared in The Value of Names and Words of Mass Deception (Hollywood Playhouse), Wait and See, Clarence Darrow's Last Trial, Madagascar, Lincolnesque, and Likeness (New Theatre), Romance and Betrayed (GableStage). Bill is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association. Thanks Ricky!
David Sirois (Ori-Ben Natan/Moishe Berkowitz) is happy to be returning to New Theatre after recently being seen in As You Like It (Charles/Silvius). A recent graduate from New World School of the Arts, his roles included, Roy Cohn (Angels in America), Justice Overdoo (Bartholomew Fair), Piero (Big Love) and Dorimant (Man of Mode). He began his education at Broward College, playing many roles, his favorites were, Peter Van Daan (Diary of Anne Frank), Berenger (Rhinoceros), and Erskine (Smash).
Laura Turnbull (Sorah Stein) is very pleased to be making her New Theatre debut and is delighted to be working with Ricky again. This past summer she was seen in Summer Shorts with City Theatre, True Blue at the Women's Theatre Project and, most recently Lying In State at the Caldwell Theatre. Laura has been fortunate enough to work on Broadway, Off Broadway, tour nationally and work in regional theaters in addition to other South Florida theaters including Actor's Playhouse, Florida Stage, Gablestage, New Vista Theatre, Palm Beach Dramaworks and Shores Performing Arts Theatre. She is a long standing and active member of Actor's Equity, the stage actor and stage manager's union, and despite winning awards for her work, she is most proud of her two incredible daughters who bring her great joy on a regular basis!