Philadelphia, PA (October 3, 2018) — Congregation Rodeph Shalom presents four-time Tony Award nominee Tovah Feldshuh starring in a one-night only play reading of DANCING WITH GIANTS on Wednesday, November 14 at 7 p.m. at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad Street in Philadelphia. The play was written and will be directed by Tovah’s brother, David Feldshuh, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for MISS EVERS’ BOYS. The performance is one of the centerpiece events of the synagogue’s year-long 90th Anniversary celebration of its sanctuary and is supported by First Trust Bank.
Tovah Feldshuh is an actress in theater, television and films as well as a cabaret performer. In addition to receiving four Tony Award nominations, she also received two Emmy nominations, won four Drama Desk awards, four Outer Critics Circle Awards, the Obie, the Theatre World Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actress. (See bio below.)
DANCING WITH GIANTS begins in 1928, coincidentally the same year that the Rodeph Shalom sanctuary opened. It is set against the background of the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany in the dangerous world of the late 1920’s and 1930’s. The play explores the survival of an incongruous and remarkable friendship of three very different men–Max Schmeling, the German boxing champion and Hitler’s favorite boxer, Joe Louis, the American Boxing Champion, and Joe “Yussel the Muscle” Jacobs, a small-time, wise-cracking, Jewish boxing manager. All three were enemies of the powerful Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, who was determined to destroy their friendship with his ruthless manipulation of the truth.
Tovah Feldshuh plays Joe “Yussel the Muscle” Jacobs, who finds himself dancing at the feet of three giants of history. She is joined by Sam Bardwell as Max Schmeling, Ricky Morisseau as Joe Louis, James Cunningham as Joseph Goebbels and Steven Hauck as the Narrator.
DANCING WITH GIANTS had its world premiere at the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Both Tovah and David Feldshuh studied at the University of Minnesota as McKnight Fellows and worked at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. All the actors appearing in Philadelphia (except the Narrator) performed in the play’s world premiere.
There is a much enthusiasm about the performance of DANCING WITH GIANTS taking place at Congregation Rodeph Shalom. Catherine Fischer, Director of Membership and Philanthropy, said, “Congregation Rodeph Shalom is committed to engaging the community in support of Jewish arts and culture as an expression of our values and tradition, and we look forward to presenting this moving play in our sanctuary, whose grandeur magnifies the power of the drama.” Senior Rabbi Jill Maderer added, “We are grateful for this opportunity to invite the Philadelphia community into our sacred space and to find meaning in this powerful experience.”
Tickets range from $25 to $250 with a student price of $18. Tickets are available for purchase on-line at rodephshalom.org/dancingwithgiants or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 267-930-7289.
ABOUT THE CAST:
TOVAH FELDSHUH (Joe “Yussel the Muscle” Jacobs)
A multi-award-winning actress, Tovah Feldshuh is, perhaps, best known in theater for the Broadway play about Golda Meir called GOLDA’S BALCONY, which set a record for the longest one-woman play in Broadway’s history on October 3, 2004. A few years ago, Feldshuh stopped the show as the trapeze-swinging Berthe in the Tony Award-winning musical revival of PIPPIN. Prior to that, she played Lady Politic in the acclaimed revival of Ben Jonson’s VOLPONE at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. In the New York Times, Jason Zinoman raved, “No one earns more laughs than the marvelous Tovah Feldshuh. Her diva-like flourishes are precisely timed, her entrances and exits designed for maximum impact.”
Feldshuh has starred on Broadway in such plays as YENTL, SARAVA! LEND ME A TENOR and IRENA’S VOW. She toured GOLDA all over the world. In San Diego, she was honored with the Theatre Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance, and in Washington, D.C.,
the Helen Hayes Award for Best Actress. Her one-woman show, TOVAH: OUT OF HER MIND! sold out in London’s West End at the Duke of York’s and culminated in a symphonic concert with Billy Crystal at Los Angeles’ Royce Hall. Her latest act, TOVAH IS LEONA! brings back the infamous Leona Helmsley, direct from Purgatory for an evening of fun, frolic and foreclosure.
A seasoned cabaret artist, her concert entitled TOVAH: ON, OFF, AND NOW UNDER BROADWAY brought her debut at 54 Below in New York, where she returned for two more sold-out engagements with AGING IS OPTIONAL (cause God I hope it is!) that she also performed in Philadelphia. She is known to TV audiences for her roles IN LAW AND ORDER, THE WALKING DEAD, and the Golden Globe winning series, CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND. Ms. Feldshuh is married to New York Attorney, Andrew Harris Levy. They have two children, Garson Brandon married to Jami Kirk and Amanda Claire married to Joel Ryzowy. Follow TOVAH’S adventures all over the world on Instagram @Tovahfeld or visit her website www.tovahfeldshuh.com
SAM BARDWELL (Max Schmeling)
Sam Bardwell is an actor, educator, and theater maker. Favorite roles include Turner Buckminster in the world premiere of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy at Children’s Theatre Company, Corbin Teel in Things of Dry Hours at Frank Theatre, and Actor 1 in We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 at the Guthrie. Sam received his BFA from the U of MN/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program.
JIM CUNNINGHAM (Joseph Goebbels)
Jim has been an actor and performer for 35 years. He has played such roles as Groucho in The Cocoanuts and Bill W in Bill W & Doctor Bob. He was Tony in Tony & Tina’s Wedding and was one of the 3 Guys in Tights In The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged). In addition, Jim can be seen and heard in Radio and TV commercials.
STEVEN HAUCK (Narrator)
Steven has appeared on Broadway in The Velocity of Autumn and Irena’s Vow. Off-Broadway credits include One Arm (New Group/Moisés Kaufman, director) and The Screwtape Letters (Westside Theater). Film: 2018 Sundance Grand Jury winner The Miseducation of Cameron Post. TV: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Mr. Robot, The Blacklist, Elementary, The Americans, and the Emmy-Award winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Steve has featured roles in Spike Lee’s Oldboy, The Sweet Blood of Jesus, and She’s Gotta Have It.
RICKY MORISSEAU (Joe Louis)
Ricky is from Delray Beach, FL where he earned his BA in Theatre Performance with a minor in Dance from Florida A&M University. Ricky was recently in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat as Gad/Company. Other credits include Stages Theatre Company: Magic TreeHouse: A Night In New Orleans (Dipper/Louis Armstrong), Mixed Precipitation: Mozart’s Donald Giovanni (Tommy), History Theatre: Complicated Fun (Terry Lewis/Alexander O’Neal), Lyric Arts Main Street Stage: Shrek The Musical (Donkey).
ABOUT DAVID FELDSHUH, PLAYWRIGHT/DIRECTOR
The play was written and is directed by David Feldshuh, whose 1992 play, Miss Evers’ Boys (based on the Tuskegee syphilis experiment) was a finalist for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The 1997 HBO adaptation of Miss Evers’ Boys (adapted by Walter Bernstein) won four Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe Award. David Feldshuh’s work also includes the 1994 documentary, Susceptible to Kindness, which won a CINE Golden Eagle Award and an Intercom Gold Plaque. In addition to his artistic work, he is also a practicing physician and a professor of theater at Cornell University’s Department of Performing and Media Arts.
ABOUT CONGREGATION RODEPH SHALOM
Congregation Rodeph Shalom (RS), founded in 1795, is the oldest Ashkenazic congregation in the Western Hemisphere and the largest synagogue in Philadelphia. RS creates a Jewish community of profound connections through transformative study, prayer and urban engagement.
For further information, please contact Congregation Rodeph Shalom at 215-627-6747 or visit www.rodephshalom.org