2019-2020 Season

2019 – 2020 SEASON

“In the Jewish Culture, when someone is grieving, we let them speak first. We let them drive the conversation.”

These words by former Executive Director, Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, were words of comfort and preparation after the unexpected and personal loss of my father. In her tenure at the 14th Street Y, Rabbi Shira provided insurmountable support for the community and her lasting impression will be a driving force for our values at the 14th Street Y for years to come.

The Arts + Culture + LABA Team would like to dedicate our 2019/2020 Season of Life + Death to Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein as she continues to inspire the world on an international level.

As we see in the 2019/2020 Season, different cultures honor and celebrate the life cycle in many ways. Our diverse artists wrestle with how we can learn from the traditions of previous generations and pay tribute through living life to its fullest. While at times the pieces we read made me suddenly remember my own grief, it was a refreshing discovery that our artists are drawn to tales of survival and remembrance to explore the theme. There is humor in the life cycle as well as joy and courage.

We have productions about surviving cancer, recovering from drug addiction, a son learning about his father’s battle with AIDS, a darkly humored ghost story from the Bronx, and a rich and lyrical play about love and loss from acclaimed playwright/director José Rivera. Join us as we explore these themes with innovative new works of theater, dance and opera. We’ll see you in the Theater.

—David Stallings, Director of Arts + Culture

Flex Pass

Check out our upcoming season below. PLUS! Subscribe and save with the 14Y Flex Pass. For the low price of $42, choose any 3 shows from our upcoming season of LIFE + DEATH. That’s $14 per show. A savings of at least 33% per ticket!


14th Street Y Talks Back

Our theater season for 2019-2020 will deep dive into the bold themes of Life and Death. Join us for our Talkback Series where we find hope, sorrow, humor, strength and ways to support the in between in an ever changing world order, with tangible engagement and activism tools to continue the conversation.

Learn More

Get Your Flex Pass

Subscribe and save with the 14Y Flex Pass. For the low price of $42, choose any 3 shows from our upcoming season. That’s $14 per show. A savings of at least 33% per ticket!


Earlier This Season:

First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune

First By Faith: The Life Of Mary McLeod Bethune // theater

A Part of the Women’s History Solo Series

Richarda Abrams

February 25 – March 15

2018 Winner of United Solo Theatre Festival’s Best Educational Show Award. A part of the Women’s History Solo Show Series, Abrams uses storytelling/song, bends time/ gender, explores Bethune’s journey from an uneducated child to a world renowned educator; returning to earth to share one last lesson.

Richarda Abrams | Performer, Playwright and Producer
Dina Vovsi | Director
Amina Claudine Myers | Music Director


Equally Divine: The Real Story of the Mona Lisa

Equally Divine: The Real Story of the Mona Lisa // theater

A Part of the Women’s History Solo Series

Presented by Jenny Lyn Bader

February 26 – March 14

Paris, 1911. The art heist of the century triggers a national manhunt. As police interview everyone from J.P. Morgan to Pablo Picasso, the story travels back in time to 1503, introducing us to the visionary artist Leonardo da Vinci, the apprentice who would become his lover, and the secrets behind the creation of La Giaconda. Along the way, the woman in the portrait solves mysteries that have baffled fans and stumped scholars for centuries: Why Leonardo never delivered the painting to the man who commissioned it. Who she is. And why she’s smiling. EQUALLY DIVINE is a time-traveling, gender-bending drama about art, inspiration, and becoming who we are.


Cheer from Chawton: A Jane Austen Family Theatrical

Cheer from Chawton: A Jane Austen Family Theatrical // theater / family theater

A Part of the Women’s History Solo Series

Love Arm’d Productions Theater

February 27 – March 15

A part of the Women’s History Solo Show Series, Cheer from Chawton is the 2010 & 2019 Finale Production of the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England and has toured to Universities & Theatres from coast to coast as well as Bath, England for more than a dozen years. Meet novelist Jane Austen at her brother’s mansion in this hour-long comedy about the famous author. Ages 8 & up!

Karen Eterovich | Playwright, Actress, and Producer
Susan Pilar & Amy Stoller | Direction, Dialect Design, and Choreography


Lovesong (Imperfect)

Lovesong (Imperfect) // theater

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

February 8 – 22

Playwrights For A Cause writer José Rivera brings a new play to our season. Death has been declared illegal by the U.S. government. Trees grow lights instead of leaves. Ghosts love the living. And in heaven you can taste the wind. Two impetuous lovers look for a love that lasts forever in this fantastical comedy about imperfect relationships, by the author of The Motorcycle Diaries and Marisol.

José Rivera | Writer and Director

Dark Planet


Dark Planet: Not Your Mother’s Valentine’s Day // theater

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

February 5 – 21

Award Nominated Planet Connections writers present new short form playlets.

Glory Kadigan | Series Curator

Esther Saves the Day

Esther Saves the Day! // family theater

Presented by WonderSpark Puppets

February 22 and 23

When the evil Haman threatens the Jews of Persia, it’s up to the brave Esther and her clever uncle Mordecai to save the day in this Purim Shpiel. Beauty contests, a forgetful King and a lottery of DOOM comprise the traditional story of Purim, based on the Book of Esther. Can our heroes unravel Haman’s plot in time, or will all the Jews of Persia be destroyed? Go, Esther, Go!

Chad Williams | Writer, Director and Performer

Recommended for ages 3+


The Case of the Missing Dinosaur // family theater

February 15 and 16

Presented By WonderSpark Puppets

A Dinosaur has gone missing, and only you can find it! Join detective Mystery Max as he searches for clues to find the missing dinosaur. The audience will sing songs and call out to help Max and solve the case. Themes include making friends, saying sorry, and the scientific method.

Chad Williams | Writer, Director and Performer

Recommended for ages 3+.


Princess Petunia & the Dragon // family theater

Presented by WonderSpark Puppets

February 8 and 9

Once upon a time, there was a valiant princess who saved the Kingdom of Lockheart! It’s up to Princess Petunia to defeat bullies, help wizards, ride a dragon and save the day. This medieval adventure includes lots of laughter and a cast of hilarious characters.

Chad Williams | Writer, Director and Performer

Recommended for ages 3+

Three Little Pigs

The Three Little Pigs // family theater

Presented by WonderSpark Puppets

February 1 and 2

“Little Pig, Little Pig, Let me in!” Three Little Pigs build their houses of hay, wood, and bricks – but will they withstand the Big Bad Wolf? The classic tale retold with hilarious puppet pigs and a silly wolf – with an emphasis on ‘being prepared’.

Chad Williams | Writer, Director and Performer

Recommended for ages 3+

Sallah Shabati

Sallah Shabati
The Israeli Film Series: Immigrant Stories

January 28 | 7:30 PM

Shalla Shabati, a Mizrahi Jewish immigrant, arrives to Israel with his family. Upon arriving he is brought to live in a ma’abara, or transit camp. He is given a broken-down, one-room shack in which to live with his family and spends the rest of the movie attempting to make enough money to purchase adequate housing. His money-making schemes are often comical and frequently satirize the political and social stereotypes in Israel of the time.

Scenes from Childhood

Scenes from Childhood // theater / LABA 2nd stage

Ari Brand

January 10 – 25

Set amidst the AIDS crisis in NYC, this semi-autobiographical play reveals a family of performers wrestling with ambition, tragedy, and the stories we tell about who we are. Alongside an ensemble cast, Ari Brand plays two roles, based on himself and his late father, the concert pianist, Natan Brand.

Ari Brand | Writer
Eugenia Manwelyan | Director

A Golem from Buenos Aires

A Golem from Buenos Aires // family theater / dance

Carina Toker

December 14 – 22

A Golem in Buenos Aires is a multidisciplinary theater play for the whole family, inspired by the Jewish legend of the Golem of Prague. In this original performance, an unexpected event unfolds a new hilarious, poetic, moving story.

Carina Toker | Writer, Director and Choreographer
Gabriel Toker | Music Composer

Straight Faced Lies

Straight Faced Lies // theater

M-Squared Productions

December 12 – December 22

Grab a plate for an unforgettable holiday with the Ryans, where family battles and deep secrets are the most delicious things on the menu.

“Passionate, biting and deeply funny, this play is equal parts fresh and familiar…” — The Villager

Mark Jason Williams | Playwright
Andrew Block | Director

State of the Jews

State of the Jews // opera // LABA 2nd stage

Alex Weiser

December 5 – December 8

A semi-staged preview performance of “State of the Jews”, an opera by composer Alex Weiser and librettist Ben Kaplan which follows Theodor Herzl, visionary of the Jewish state, in the last year of his life, as his efforts to secure a Jewish homeland become increasingly desperate.

Alex Weiser | Composer
Ben Kaplan | Librettist


Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew
The Israeli Film Series: Immigrant Stories

November 26 | 7:30 PM

The Journey of an African Jew is a film that follows the backstory and personal journey of Mekonen Abebe, a young African-Israeli Jew, once a young shepherd in Africa and now a commander in the Israeli Defense Forces. The film accompanies Mekonen back to Africa on an emotional journey. He explores his roots, makes peace with his past and embraces his future in Israel.


Riyaaz/Practice // dance

Courtyard Dancers, Dakshina Dance Company, Sakshi Productions, and Sattriya Dance Company

November 15 and 16 | 7:30 PM
November 16 | 1 PM

With bharatanatyam, kathak, odissi, and sattriya as foundational training, four east coast, contemporary dance companies collaborate to explore the rigor and sanctuary of a daily, physical and intentional practice.

75th anniversary of Jerome Robins

75th Anniversary of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division // dance

From The Horse’s Mouth

November 6 – 10

The next edition of From The Horse’s Mouth is proud to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the country’s most prestigious repository of dance materials at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the Library of Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. This production will be in collaboration with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Linda Murray, Curator.

Ominous Men (MultiStages New Works Winner)

Ominous Men // theater


October 19 – November 3

MultiStages New Works Winner. It was the wrong night and the wrong place for these OMINOUS MEN to be playing a game of “Bones” when the 1977 NYC Blackout hits the Bronx! Overtaken by their demons, they descend into a supernatural night of the soul. Told through a magic realism lens, “Ominous Men” is a gothic horror tale about race, poverty, drugs, misogyny and violence in America.

Desi Moreno-Penson | Playwright
Lorca Peress | Director

Pink Hulk

The Pink Hulk: One Woman’s Journey to Find the Superhero Within // theater

October 8 – October 13

Written and Performed by Valerie David

A cancer diagnosis means only 1 thing: Time to get laid! This award-winning solo show follows Valerie’s triumphant journey to become a 2-time cancer survivor & redefines what it means to summon the superhero within. An inspiring story that’s been touring the globe!

Valerie David | Performer/Playwright
Padraic Lillis and Maris Heller | Directors of The Pink Hulk

The Stray

The Stray // family theater

Rebel Playhouse

September 28 –  October 6

The conflict between wolves and humans has existed for years, but can an unlikely friendship mend the rift between them? A new folk musical about love, loss, and the power of understanding, “The Stray” shows us growing pains lead to remarkable change.

Arif Silverman | Book, Music and Lyrics

Бабушка | BAb(oo)shka

Бабушка (BAb(oo)shka) // theater

September 26 – October 5

Бабушка tells a true story about Jewish life in the USSR onstage—in Russian. Her story is live translated into klezmer music, gibberish, poetic text, and puppetry, creating a meta conversation on the act of translation and historization.

Anna Lublina | Theater Creator
Julia Danitz | Composer
Elena Rose Light | Choreographer

…it’s time…

…it’s time… // dance

Freemove Dance

September 19 – 22

Following a sold-out run in 2018, Freemove Dance returns to present this gutsy and percussive dance piece. It is a call-to-arms for redefining how and why the clock has a titan grip on our life experience.

Jenn Freeman | Director and Choreographer
Dani Markham | Composer


Recovery // dance

Johari Mayfield Dance

September 12 – 14

Blending movement and technology “Recovery” unpacks the container of addiction through the lens of a woman struggling with substance abuse. Where does she belong in a world where legalized drugs and alcohol are so readily accessible? Is she good or evil? The urge to explain and define the addict, society and recovery is cracked open and explored in this hybrid work.

Johari Mayfield | Choreographer
Milica Paranosic | Composer

National Winner of the 2019 Jewish Playwriting Contest

National Winner of the 2019
Jewish Playwriting Contest // theater

Jewish Plays Project

September 5 – September 8

David Winitsky | Artistic Director
Joshua Benghiat | Artistic Associate

7 cities, 1000 people, 1 Winner. Crowd-sourced and audience vetted, the Winner of the 2019 Jewish Playwriting Contest will be announced in June of 2019, and comes home to the 14th Street Y in September for the JPP’s featured workshop production. Come be a part of the movement for contemporary Jewish theater!