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Box Office (216) 241 6000

Subscriber Services (216) 400 7096


CPH Brings Yentl to Stage

Posted December 23, 2013 in Press Releases




Press Opening Night: Jan. 15

CLEVELAND, OH (Dec. 23, 2013) Cleveland Play House (CPH) will begin the New Year with a captivating production of Yentl. Based on the short story “Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy” by Isaac Bashevis Singer and adapted for the stage by Leah Napolin and Singer, Yentl tells the story of a young Jewish woman rebelling against the limitations placed upon her gender by society. This incredible CPH production will be directed by Michael Perlman and will run from Jan. 10 – Feb. 2 in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.

CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley proclaims: “Young love abounds in this passionate, moving and funny coming of age story. Continuing our commitment to Jewish themed plays that speak to the universal human condition, Yentl compassionately illuminates the need to both respect and challenge traditional ideas of community, gender and sexuality. I have been a fan of this play since rediscovering it 2 1/2 years ago and am thrilled to be producing it with the season's largest cast of actors.”

Yentl is set in a small Jewish village in Poland in the early twentieth century. The title character, Yentl, the daughter of a rabbi, is unhappy with her predestined future as a housewife and defies tradition by studying the Torah and other holy texts with her father. After his death, she takes on the guise of a young Jewish boy named Anshel, and sets out to find a yeshiva (an all-male school for studying Jewish law) where she can spend her days studying the Talmud. During her time at the yeshiva, Yentl becomes a brilliant student and develops a complicated relationship with her study partner, Avigdor, and the woman he loved and lost. This thought-provoking production is also a witty comedy, which incorporates music (although this production is NOT a musical), intrigue and drama.

Yentl contains mature themes and nudity.


The large ensemble cast of 17 includes an accomplished list of both local and New York-based actors. Guest artist Rebecca Gibel will take on the role(s) of Anshel/Yentl. Other guest artists include Bonnie Black, Samuel Cohen, Mitch Greenberg, Suzanne Grodner and Ben Mehl. The notable actors comprising the local cast include acclaimed actress Dorothy Silver, who will play the role of Yachna, Bob Abelman, Donald Carrier and Marc Moritz. Rounding out the cast are all seven members of the third-year graduate ensemble of the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House Master of Fine Arts Acting Program. Members include Therese Anderberg, Bernard Bygott, Drew Derek, TJ Gainley, Sarah Kinsey, Christa Meyers, and Stephen Michael Spencer.

For complete cast bios and headshots, please visit

Creative Team

ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER (Playwright/1902–1991) is among the most important writers of the 20th century and was winner of the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for literature. His stories speak to Jew and non-Jew alike. Even today, readers find his writing powerful and provocative, filled with ideas and passions that resonate as freshly as when he first wrote them. A prolific writer, the main theme of Singer’s works is the clash between tradition and renewal — preservation versus regeneration — that serves as a backdrop to storiesdelving deeply into the grip of human passions that unleash the destructive, yet constructive, force of the emotions. Singer’s profound talent allowed him to manage these weighty topics with a light, often comedic, touch.

LEAH NAPOLIN (Playwright) made her Broadway debut in 1975 with Yentl in a production that starred Tovah Feldshuh. Yentl returned to New York for a successful run at The National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene in 2003. In 2012, Florida’s Asolo Repertory Theatre mounted a fresh production of Yentl with an original score by Jill Sobule. Other plays by Napolin include Lost Island; Trash and Treasures; Aristophanes’ Retreat; Split at the Root,a Novel in Three Acts; and Twister. She is a member of PEN American Center and the Dramatists Guild, and winner of the John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award for her musical The Dogs of Pripyat, which was part of the 2011National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals.

MICHAEL PERLMAN (Director) has directed at Trinity Repertory Company, Kitchen Theatre Company, Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Boise Contemporary Theater, Creede Repertory Theatre, Swine Palace, Maples Repertory Theatre, Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep and the Brown/Trinity Master of Fine Arts programs, as well as workshops with The Playwrights’ Center, Magic Theatre and Young Playwrights, Inc. He recently associate-directed Fiasco Theater’s Into the Woods at McCarter Theatre Center. His assistant-directing credits include The Public Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company and Fiasco Theater. Perlman’s play From White Plains is the recipient of a 2013 GLAAD Media Award, and was nominated for New York Innovative Theatre Awards: Outstanding Premiere Production and Outstanding Full-Length Script. In addition, his one-person show, Flying on the Wing, was presented at New York International Fringe Festival, where it won Outstanding Solo Show. Perlman is an Artistic Associate with both Fiasco Theater and Fault Line. He is a proud member of Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers and a Drama League Directing Fellow. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and an MFA, Brown University.

The design team for Yentl includes Robin Vest (Scenic Designer), Jenny Mannis (Costume Designer), Burke Brown (Lighting Designer) Elisheba Ittoop (Composer/Sound Designer). Also on the team is Thom Jones (Voice and Speech Director), Ron Wilson (Fight Choreographer), Amy Compton (Choreographer), John Godbout (Stage Manager) and Assistant Stage Managers Bruno Ingram and Jennifer Caster.

Yentl Special Events

Script Club: Yentl

January 05, 2014 @ 2:00pm - 3:15pm
RSVP required. Registration opens one month before the event. Contact the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Beachwood Branch at (216) 831-6868 or register online at

Script Club: Yentl

January 07, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 8:15pm
RSVP required. Registration opens one month before the event. Contact the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Beachwood Branch at (216) 831-6868 or register online at Note: This is a Script Club OUTloud event, for the LGBT community and allies.

Tech Tuesday: Yentl

January 07, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Hear from the director, then sit in on a technical rehearsal ("tech") to see how set, lights, sound, costumes and actors all come together as opening night nears! RSVP required

Script Club: Yentl

January 08, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 8:15pm
RSVP required. Registration opens one month before the event. Contact the Lakewood Public Library at (216) 226-8275, ext. 127 to register. Note: With special guest, Rabbi Enid C. Lader of Beth Israel The West Temple.

Script Club: Yentl

January 08, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 8:15pm
RSVP required. Registration opens one month before the event. Contact the Cleveland Heights - University Heights Main Branch at (216) 932-3600 or register online at

Season Extra: Inside Yentl at the Maltz Museum

January 16, 2014 @ 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Yentl director Michael Perlman and members of the cast share scenes and discuss their work on this unique ensemble production. Registration required at

Behind-The-Scenes: Building Ensemble

January 18, 2014 @ 11:30am - 1:00pm
Even when a play isn't set in a Polish shtetl it takes a village to bring it to life. Get on your feet with our CWRU/CPH MFA Graduate Acting Ensemble's students and leaders, andYentl actors, to discover what it means for a "cast" to become an "ensemble," and how an ensemble becomes more than the sum of its parts. RSVP required

TalkBack: Yentl
January 19, 2014 @ 4:30pm - 5:00pm
January 21, 2014 @ 9:00pm - 9:30pm
January 26, 2014 @ 4:30pm - 5:00pm

Pre-show Conversations - Free for all ticketholders!

These fun and interactive 25-minute conversations happen right before the show in the Allen Theatre Complex. Pull back the curtain early and connect with the play in an engaging and relaxed setting, beginning 45 minutes before every performance of Yentl.

Ticket Information

Yentl will take place Jan. 10 – Feb. 2, 2014 in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Tickets range in price from $45-$72 each. Students under the age of 25 with a valid ID will be offered a special $15 ticket price. Tickets are also just $25 for anyone under age 35, sponsored by Scene Magazine. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

Founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, Cleveland Play House has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. It has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,300 CPH productions. Cleveland Play House looks toward its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at PlayhouseSquare in downtown Cleveland.

The Ohio Arts Council helped fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. We also thank the residents of Cuyahoga County for supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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