THE SOAP MYTH Premieres At Dog Run Rep 7/10 Thru 8/2
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by BWW News Desk
DOG RUN REP at South Street Seaport (Deanna Henson, Producer), in association with Pat Blake, is pleased to announce the world premiere of The Soap Myth, a provocative new play about the Holocaust written by Jeff Cohen and directed by Larissa Lury. In The Soap Myth, a young Jewish journalist and a Holocaust survivor search for evidence in an age of denial, and the truth about the Nazi atrocity of manufacturing soap from the fat of Jewish corpses. Along the way, they become entangled in the politics of Holocaust scholarship and Holocaust denial. The Soap Myth will play a four-week limited engagement @Seaport, 210 Front Street (@ Beekman Street), South Street Seaport This production, part of Dog Run Rep's 2009 season at South Street Seaport, is presented, in part, through the generous support of General Growth Properties. Performances begin Friday, July 10 and continue through Sunday, August 2. Opening Night is Monday, July 13 at 7 pm. Advance tickets can be purchased through Smarttix at 212-868-4444 or online at www.smarttix.com.
The Soap Myth is a play about evidence and it is a search for the truth - did the Nazis commit the hideous atrocity of manufacturing soap from the corpses of murdered Jews? What are the evidentiary standards that apply to Holocaust research? Do Holocaust deniers, with their credo "false in one, false in all," play a role in determining those evidentiary standards? And if they do, should they?
The play is also a search for Jewish identity as a young journalist is enlisted to write an article about a Holocaust survivor and his crusade to have the atrocity of soap included in Holocaust Memorials and Museums.
The Soap Myth is inspired by Mr. Cohen's own encounter with a Holocaust survivor who witnessed the Halachic burial of soap as a young boy, and a magazine article about his crusade to have the atrocity of "soap" given the attention he thinks it deserves. Told from the point of view of a young journalist, Annie Blumberg, the provocative story interweaves disparate elements of Jewish life, including stand-up comedy, a debate among Holocaust scholars, transcripts of testimony from the Nuremberg Trials, a celebrity Rabbi's television show and a chilling encounter with a Holocaust denier.
Jeff Cohen is the founder and artistic director of Dog Run Rep and was the founder and artistic director of Worth Street Theater Company, The Tribeca Playhouse, and The RAPP Arts Center (now the Connelly Theatre). Notable and award-winning productions include the revival of The Normal Heart (The Public Theater - Drama Desk nomination, Best Revival), Four by Christopher Shinn (Lortel Award), The Moonlight Room (2 Lortel nominations, Outer Critics nomination), The Mystery of Attraction by Marlene Meyer (Obie Award) and The Tribeca Playhouse Stage Door Canteen (special 2002 Drama Desk Award). His plays include Men Of Clay (Best New Play 2005 - Baltimore City Paper), and adaptations of Chekhov including Uncle Jack (published in Playing With Canons) and The Seagull: The Hamptons (with various casts including Neil Huff, Marin Hinkle, Tammy Grimes, D.B. Sweeney and Laura Linney's stage debut in 1990).
The cast of The Soap Myth is led by Louisa Flaningam and Joel Friedman. Ms. Flaningam's numerous Broadway credits include Guys And Dolls, Brigadoon, The Most Happy Fella and The Magic Show. National tours include Little Women, Torch Song Trilogy, Company and Pippin. Regionally, she was nominated for the 2007 Barrymore Award for Driving Miss Daisy. Mr. Friedman, at 88 years old, has a long and distinguished career in the American theatre. He, his wife Sylvia Gassell, and Joe Papp were the founding members of the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1955. As an actor, he has performed at some of the country's most illustrious theatres including the Guthrie, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, George Street Playhouse, The Huntington, The New York Shakespeare Festival, The American Globe and many others. Also featured in the cast are Katia Asche, Victor Barbella and Aaron Costa-Ganis.
The director is Larissa Lury and the design team for The Soap Myth includes Heather Wollensky (set design) and Jay Scott (lighting design).