A groundbreaking new show from Israel will have its New York Premiere June 23-30th as Mikva the Musical: Music and Monologues from the Deep takes over Manhattan, The Five Towns, Queens and New Jersey for women-only performances.
Presented by Raise Your Spirits Theatre, based in Israel, Mikva the Musical comes to New York on the tailwinds of tremendous buzz and critical acclaim. Featuring women sharing their authentic stories of attending Mikva – the ritual bath that married Jewish women are commanded to visit once a month – the show is revelatory.
Originally conceived by Myra Gutterman as The Mikva Monologues, the production morphed into Mikva the Musical under the aegis of award-winning theater director Toby Klein Greenwald.
“Something magical takes place between the performers and audience at Mikva the Musical,” said Greenwald. “Our actresses are an eclectic group, including women who are Modern Orthodox, Haredi and traditional. The discussions at our rehearsal table – and following each performance — reveals just how complex, personal and impelling
this subject is.”
Most significantly, Mikva the Musical explores the experience of Jewish women at the ritual bath. While some of the monologues are humorous, and uplifting, others are deeply moving. The stories of the women are interspersed with songs that pay homage to beloved melodies. For instance, “Purified,” sung to a newly observant bride riffs on “Popular” from the Broadway show Wicked. A lively “I Feel the Waters Move Under my Feet” is a hat tip to Carole King.
Above all, Mikva the Musical is rich and refreshing, containing the highly-relatable stories of women. It offers a contemporary take on this timeless practice, rendering it important and relevant for the 21st century Jewish woman.
They are looking for other areas across the United States to perform among Jewish women.
The show premiered in Israel with the support of Nishmat. Jerusalem’s NISHMAT is world Jewry’s resource for educating a new generation of confident, creative Jewish leaders, scholars and professionals. Students develop a lifelong passion for Torah study, integrating their university education with religious faith and practice. Nishmat’s 120 Yoatzot Halacha, women certified as Advisors in Jewish Law, practice in Israel, the U.S. and beyond, enriching quality of life and mitzvah observance for Jewish women, their families and communities. Yoatzot have handled some 300,000 questions since they were first certified in 1999. Nishmat’s Alisa International Program welcomes students from across the globe, from beginners to advanced, sharing a deep commitment to Torah, Zionism, Israel and the Jewish people. Americans on gap-year benefit from a diversity of faculty and students and an environment that encourages questions. Nishmat’s program for Ethiopian Israelis provides them with skills and confidence to pursue college education. With a 98% success rate, some 300 of these young women have become teachers, attorneys, social workers and more.
Some reactions from those in previous audiences:
Yehudit Jessica Singer, marketer and public relations, Koren Press: The production showcases women’s creativity and innermost thoughts and feelings about the most personal, intimate ritual in Jewish life – something that we all do, but hardly anyone talks about openly. It was raw, honest, funny and eye opening – all at once. Every Jewish community needs to see this production and more importantly, discuss the messages that the monologues address.
Pnina Mor, CNM PhD, Coordinator of the NOGA clinic in Shaarei Tzedek, for women at high risk for breast cancer: I want to applaud you on a fantastic musical play… It reminded me that years ago I wanted to do something with the narratives of BRCA mutation carriers. Maybe someday I will get you interested.
Ilana Dreyer of Jerusalem: What an amazing show! (And I’m a gal who lived in Manhattan for 30 years and saw any number of off Broadway productions).…for me “Mikva the Musical” brought to the stage the richness, messiness and humanity of every aspect of being a woman, and the amazing support that can potentially come from the mitzvah of mikva. Kol HAKAVOD.
Dr. Naomi Marmon Grumet, Founding Director of The Eden Center: This show raises important conversations about a range of aspects of going to the Mikvah. It combines the funny, mundane scenes we are all familiar with, and touching situations which show how it can be difficult and a window into somebody’s real pain.
Annie Orenstein, co-founder of Spotlight On Women, English Project Coordinator at Emunah, Jerusalem: It was really beautiful, thank you! I especially connected to “Lump at the Lake,” “Stand by Me,” “Nothing”, and “Reclaiming Mikvah” was very powerful.
Paula R. Stern, CEO Write Point, Ltd.: I loved the cast, the place, the dynamic, the relationships. The speed dunking in Aruba was wonderful because I had a speed dunk in the harbor in Croatia that will remain one of my best memories … Michele Thaler’s story… took the audience from horror at what happened to her [being paralyzed] – to laughing because she allowed us to laugh…
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