Hanna and the Moonlit Dress

Sunday, March 18 | noon & 2 p.m.  

Hanna and the Moonlit Dress is based on the beloved Israeli book Hanna’s Sabbath Dress by Itzhak Schweiger-Dmi’el and is adapted for the stage by Ronit Muszkatblit and Yoav Gal. Hanna is a fantastical, interactive musical for children about the magic of a good deed. Directed by Ronit Muszkatblit, the cast features actors Case Watson as Hanna, Kate Mulberry as the Mother, and Matt Webster as Zuzzi the Dog and the Coalman, under the music direction of Peter Hodgson.

LABA Workshop Jan 2016

Overjoyed with her new dress, Hanna runs to show it to her friends: Zuzi the dog and Edna the cow. Little does she know what a meaningful adventure awaits her… In this immersive experience with beautiful special effects, music, and design by award-winning artist Yoav Gal, children will help to create Hanna’s enchanted world by crafting paper masks, costumes, and set pieces with the actors. The show is 50 minutes with no intermission. Recommended for ages 2-8.

“We want to make something of the concept of Shabbat… Above all, it’s a day for the family to be together. We want the children to understand the importance of good deeds…to learn that if you put out positive energy or a positive action, something good will come back to you. It’s a simple story, this cycle, were the goodness that [Hanna] gives to the old man, comes back to her through the moon. It’s a simple message, and there’s the emphasis on play and draw, and that’s why everything is made out of paper, to show that we can create a world, and a play, and a set, just from paper and glue and a black pen. Hanna does a good deed, and something good comes to her, and she shares it with her mom, and they spend time together. It really, for me ,is that sense of time together more than the religious thing. And it’s good that you have a marker, one day a week for rest. If it’s not a Saturday, if it’s a Wednesday, I don’t care. Take time for each-other,” said Ronit Muszkatblit, Director of Hanna and Artistic Director of the 14th Street Y.

LABA Workshop Jan 2016

Hanna’s Sabbath Dress is a classic Israeli folk tale and a staple in Israeli culture, a show created by Israelis to share Israeli culture. The original story, “Hanal’e Ve Ha Simlat Shel Shabbat” (Hanna’s Shabbat Dress) was first published in Hebrew in the 1930s in the pages of Davar, which was the first workers’ newspaper in Palestine during the British Mandate. It captured a new generation of American readers in the 1990s, when it was translated into English and illustrated by Ora Eitan; it is now one of the books given to children through the PJ Library program in hundreds of Jewish communities nationwide. Written in the pioneering days of the State, it reflects a time of idealism and hopefulness. Hanna and the Moonlit Dress brings this magical tale to America for the first time, and will include the first English translations of classic Hebrew songs written for an Israeli TV special about the book. This is a chance for the American Jewish community to experience Israeli culture, together, in a positive, beautiful way.

Ronit Muszkatblit and Yoav Gal are Israeli New Yorkers, who have a mission to investigate Jewish stories and culture in an original and unexpected way. They are Israeli Americans connected to their past always questioning what it means to be a Jew in America and how to make Israeli culture a living and breathing thing – how to reconnect to Israel from an American perspective.

Hanna & the Moonlit Dress, LABA (Basil Rodericks Images, faceitfoto.com ©2016)

The Jewish Values explored in the Musical are those of loving your neighbor or friend as you would love yourself, doing and seeking righteousness (Tzedek), free acts of loving kindness (Chessed), healing the world (Tikkun Olam), honoring one’s parents, and Shabbat.


Ronit Muszkatblit (Creator, Director) was born in Germany and raised in Israel. She is a theater director and the founding member of woken’glaicer theater company and Operatzia as well as a member of posttheater ny/berlin. Ronit curates and directs in various capacities with a focus ion opera, theater and multi-disciplinary events. Her most recent directing credits include all the LABALive events and the operas “SPHINX” (Culturemart HERE) and “3WEEKS” (MAP grant, 14th st Y) both by Yoav Gal . Her most recent theater credits include: “Hanna and the Moonlit Dress” by Itzchak D’miel (14th St. Y), “Nature of Captivity” by Mathew Paul Olmos (Mabou Mines Suite @ PS 122), “Cantaloupe” by Gina Bonati (Boston ); “ON ART,” an adaptation of “Art” by Yasmina Reza(Rohkunst Bau, Berlin); “It is said the men are over in the steel tower” by Hideo Tsuchida,(TBG Theater, NYC); Struwwelmensch (Rohkunst Bau Festival, Berlin);) “Matchmaker Matchmaker” (Stadts Bank Berlin); “Quartet” by Heiner Müller (Westbeth Theater, NYC); “The Child Dreams” by Hanoch Levin (Staged Reading 59E59, NYC). Ronit received her MFA in directing from The Actors Studio Drama School and trained at La Mama Umbria (Italy) and with Siti Company.

Yoav Gal (Composer) Composer and multi-disciplinary artist Yoav Gal specializes in the marriage of music and image, and the creation of “indie opera,” a contemporary genre that aims to create the “operatic” experience in alternative spaces and for new audiences. He accomplishes this by utilizing a range of new media, such as video projections, computer graphics, web and performance art, while also drawing on traditional practices – especially those of Baroque Opera – vocal virtuosity, highly stylized dramatization and polyphonic settings cast in a clear harmonic language. Gal’s operas and instrumental works have been presented by the New York City Opera, Bang on a Can, The Whitney Museum, the HERE Arts Center, The Now Ensemble, ICE, and many others. Of MOSHEH, Gal’s most recent opera, Allan Kozinn, in an article about the most memorable operas of 2011 writes in the New York Times that it was a “postmodern, exotically ritualistic multi-media portrait of Moses.” The opera premiered at the HERE Arts Center and was performed before sold-out audiences during its January through February 2011 run. Born in Israel, Gal has been a New York resident since 1988. He holds a BA in composition from Manhattan School of Music and earned his MA from Queens College. He is a recipient of grants from the MAP Fund, The NEA; Bang on a Can “People’s Commissioning Fund,” Meet the Composer, American Music Center, Harvestworks, Franklin Furnace and BCAT/Brooklyn, and others. His music is published by Good Child Music, and his recordings are available on Innova, and CD Baby.

Matt Webster (actor) is a New York City based writer and actor. His first musical, Kingdom Come, won “Best Musical” at the 2012 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival in NYC. His second musical, Propaganda! The Musical, was an official selection of the 2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival, where it won several awards, including best actress (Broadway’s Kenita Miller) and best choreography. Matt’s new show, a fast-paced, four-actor version of Cinderella, featuring songs from the Great American Songbook, premiers in March 2017 in Washington, DC with the American Pops Orchestra. As an actor, Matt has been seen with Vital Theatre, Rescue Agreement, 8 Players, and LaMama. Matt played the role of Glad Hand on the Broadway National Tour of West Side Story. Matt has also been seen in featured films, short films, commercials, a VEVO series, comedy shorts, and several concerts and readings. Matt is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild and a graduate of West Virginia University (BFA). http://www.theothermattwebster.com/

Kate Mulberry (actor) is a New York City based actress originally from Rochester, NY. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre and a minor in Dance from the State University of New York at Fredonia. Past favorites include Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Urinetown (Pennywise), Cartoon (Yumi, NY premiere), Marat/Sade (musician/inmate), When Push Comes To Shove, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged]. She also works in voice over, film, and on various webseries, and has studied at UCB and Actors Connection. Kate taught classes for four years in Rochester’s SummerStars program, has choreographed numerous community theatre shows, and has sang with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. Kate also sings in a benefit concert every fall to raise money for school children who want to be involved in the arts.www.katemulberry.com.

Case Watson (actor) is an actress, singer, and writer based in New York City. She graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Drama and studied filmmaking at Prague Film School. She trained at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art and as an apprentice for One Year Lease Theater Company. http://www.casewatson.com/

Peter M. Hodgson (Music Director) hails from Sacramento California, and currently resides in New York City working as a writer and music director. He received both his BA in Music Theory and Composition and MFA in Musical Theater Writing from New York University. Favorite credits: Pippin (Broadway), West Side Story (NYU)

Joshua Benghiat’s (Lighting Designer) work includes theater, opera, concert halls, dance, and live events. Theatrical design and associate work includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional including Center Theatre GroupSeattle Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory TheatreGoodman TheatreALLIANCE THEATRE, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Syracuse StageMcCarter Theatre, and Geva Theatre Center. Josh was a resident assistant at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and currently designs regularly for the Lincoln Center White Light Festival and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He is an Artistic Associate of the Jewish Plays Project, playing an active role in new play development. Faculty: Fashion institute of Technology & Yale School of Drama . A.B., University of Chicago; M.F.A., NYU Tisch.

SPONSORED BY JFamily & PJ Library of Metropolitan Detroit

John Lennon & Me

Performed by the students of Frankel Jewish Academy

March 22 | 7:30 pm 
March 25 | 2:00 pm

This uproarious play about life, death, power and first boyfriends was adapted by the author from her book, Good-bye, Best Friend (Harper Paperbacks, 1993)

Hollywood-wannabe Star, the ultimate Beatles fan, has her path stymied by cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that assures a young death. She spends most of her time in the hospital, where she confronts fate with imagination by surrounding herself with MTV-inspired bodyguard Flunkies and ‘morphing’ her dreaded therapy nurse into a pro-wrestler. Then, Star gets a new roommate, Courtney, who is Star’s opposite—a pretty cheerleader and apparently not very sick. Neither girl knows much about the other’s world, but eventually they come to understand each other, and ultimately, themselves.