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Transcript of interview with Norma Morrow Zuckerman by Barbara Tabach, April 18, 2016 & March 13, 2017

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2016-04-18
2017-03-13
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Norma Morrow Zuckerman is the driving force behind the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Nevada [JRTN], an organization she co-founded with Charlene Sher in 2010. The endeavor coincided with Norma’s pursuit of an MFA at UNLV a couple of years prior. With the commitment to her studies and to bring professional Jewish theatrical performances to Las Vegas, her energetic personality intensified. In 2007, she performed in The Diary of Anne Frank and noted the audience was supporting Jewish Family Services Agency. Norma could sense the community’s eagerness for professional theatre and she was just the one to deliver it. Over the following years, JRTN produced an array of Jewish-themed and acted plays. Since then she tries to bring The Diary of Anne Frank to the stage annually and finds partners to bring 1400 eighth graders to the performance. By 2012, her commute between Los Angeles, where she is a garment designer/manufacturer with her husband Eugene, and Las Vegas had become routine and her passion for professional theatre in Las Vegas increased. This was the year that The Smith Center for Performing Arts opened. The first theatrical production was Golda’s Balcony, a one-woman drama starring Tovah Feldshuh. It was the spectacular co-promotion by Norma’s JRTN and the Smith Center. Norma was smitten with the theatre from a young age and studied with some of the best acting coaches—Milton Kastelas, Stella Adler, Wynn Handman. In this oral history she recalls the people who have helped her, the performances that have charmed audiences and the value of live theatre.

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[Transcript of interview with Norma Morrow Zuckerman by Barbara Tabach, April 18, 2016 & March 13, 2017]. Zuckerman, Norma Morrow Interview, 2016 April 18 & 2017 March 13. OH-02652. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

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An Interview with Norma Morrow Zuckerman An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers and Editors: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White 11 The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first- person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Cl ay tee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas m Preface Norma Morrow Zuckerman is the driving force behind the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Nevada [JRTN], an organization she co- founded with Charlene Sher in 2010. The endeavor coincided with Norma’s pursuit of an MFA at UNLV a couple of years prior. With the commitment to her studies and to bring professional Jewish theatrical performances to Las Vegas, her energetic personality intensified. In 2007, she performed in The Diary of Anne Frank and noted the audience was supporting Jewish Family Services Agency. Norma could sense the community’s eagerness for professional theatre and she was just the one to deliver it. Over the following years, JRTN produced an array of Jewish-themed and acted plays. Since then she tries to bring The Diary of Anne Frank to the stage annually and finds partners to bring 1400 eighth graders to the performance. By 2012, her commute between Los Angeles, where she is a garment designer/manufacturer with her husband Eugene, and Las Vegas had become routine and her passion for professional theatre in Las Vegas increased. This was the year that The Smith Center for Performing Arts opened. The first theatrical production was Golda’s Balcony, a one- woman drama starring Tovah Feldshuh. It was the spectacular co-promotion by Norma’s JRTN and the Smith Center. Norma was smitten with the theatre from a young age and studied with some of the best acting coaches—Milton Kastelas, Stella Adler, Wynn Handman. In this oral history she recalls the people who have helped her, the performances that have charmed audiences and the value of live theatre. IV ;i Repertory Theatre of Nevada fllRTN 1 Norma J. Morrow , Founder/ Artistic Director U, &&1? 'To: sL Ubt uo TtM-fcC ^iLryw'V ( fLfi-f e£ OyJ. AuM^L. fhLja^.xj-T-ty^ 'ti-JLJJtrJL- &-£ fAxA/ cl^kJ-juL /^_ fb . 7 V A tU\xjb-jp. &UlJL^tf a^ru>v^r ^ Ju^JUy^A AK?? 0-^b ! tO-fc~yv-^ (Nf+-bf &- lJnAb~’u^vbf a-Ujji^r o-k. fx*. JnJLo^f U \f<^ M'^ Na fkJbr i-t- b 'ft-iUy. U JNyU, Qvuct fZr/f \yu-^A~r fb, 7>^- ^yu-jx^u^^JL 1£lu«+- b \^J> 1^u %pT7T§. -*h f'jJU ^M^-cv>w ( Iff] <uXw>_ ~tX-*~4~ /'—^-K\_e_ / (n'Nf- L-iXo 'pxfeU.— $-IAviSj-Lry^o , \Jfrv 7>JL~ yOh (so /^Xj"rv' (s / (TyJCU. Xjlu' c.icb-t >~: 'TT\^r^-pU_ 7^_C_ l bL-t_ T-) i/LA-Mrj ff_ fft^nrUL. l^/l-S—ibc-. /OO^t-fu^Jhi ff-TL ?fay' &NX (fsL^yjtz. ‘TcLril 1>Sr/u-ejr- °) ^ ftQur kf^L ~ftc 7noir~ ty\ Tyy‘ Off a, CJU- oo )yu~jy XjvjcT" ~j~b^° luAJA Q^yzb^-u^L^-. QjL^-t^Y^j ( ^ 1%4uf d C S D lvuU~l f fu-v^L, ACCon^O, ft,to pArl-^ih^fy^ ^ 'H-Ajf- ybsdL~ U> No Tolfyzfnice ftirz. XnTVLCie/shruze , NtTL bNfp ^ucbftU^ Jbpiyy^-K. Table of Contents Interview with Norma Morrow Zuckerman April 18, 2016 & March 13, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Barbara Tabach Preface.........................................................................iv A special note from Norma Morrow Zuckerman......................................v SESSION 1 Explains her “Morrow” stage name; married name is Zuckerman; maiden name Schwartz. Shares her vague knowledge of grandparents, who emigrated from Russia and Poland; grew up in Boyle Heights, California and attended B’nai Jacob Synagogue with her paternal grandmother; recalls Canter’s Deli and other memories of her youth there. At age four, her family moved to Beverlywood. Tells story of how in 2007-2008 she became part of the Las Vegas community when seeking an MFA at UNLV; while acting in a benefit performance of The Diary of Anne Frank for Jewish Family Services Agency [JFSA] in Las Vegas; friendship with Charlene Sher, also new to Las Vegas helped create the foundation for the future Jewish Repertory Theatre of Nevada, encouraged by Elliot Karp, Jewish Federation CEO....................................1-5 Talks about recent JRTN production of My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, actor Stephen Macht; how she selects plays about and/or by Jews; Bad Jews another JRTN production in 2017, its universal theme; The Diary of Anne Frank performance in May 2016 for 1400 eighth graders from Clark County School District; her personal connection with the Anne Frank play and working with the schools and Holocaust education; mentions Yom HaShoah Remembrance program for survivors living in Nevada; local actor Rebecca Reyes portrayal of Anne Frank; drama presentations for Holocaust Education annual meeting; mentions Raymonde Fiol, local survivor; Elevate: Youth Education Through the Performing Arts; reflects on lessons for young people from theatre performances such as My Name is Asher Lev and The Diary of Anne Frank.......5 - 16 Talks about plays from 2015 and 2016 seasons; Kindertransport by Diane Samuels; The Mikveh Monologues by Anita Diamant; Still Jewish After All These Years by Avi Hoffman; Bad Jews performed by local actors and generational shift in dialog of the play. Discusses Las Vegas’ Jewish population, number of synagogues, and low affiliation rate; observation of increased Hasidic presence both in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, cultural education she has gotten from plays she has produced; friendship with fellow actors Michelle Azar, who’s rebbetzin in Los Angeles and Stephen Macht, who is also a Jewish chaplain, (both acted in My Name is Asher Lev),.17 - 22 vi Explains her acting class studies with Milton Katselas in Los Angeles; friendship with fellow actor Donna Mills; studies with Stella Adler in New York; graduate of University of Southern California; studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London; studied with Wynn Handman over the years. Meanwhile, she is raising her sons [Todd and Kirk Siegel] with her supportive husband, Eugene Zuckerman, a garment manufacturer in Los Angeles area. Mentions Patrick Swayze, Anne Archer, Gene Reynold, Zoe Saldana; her Katselas acting class story about Doris Roberts. Casting Stephen Macht in JRTN production of Rumors (by Neil Simon) and then in Asher Lev; talks about Michelle Azar, Jeff Leibow, who were both in Asher Lev, which had two capacity performances in the small theatre at The Smith Center.....................................23-29 More about the May 2016 production of The Diary of Anne Frank; demand for performances. Talks about the value of live theatre experience for young people; financial support need for live theatre; mentions Buffalo NY and Minneapolis MN local theatre; doing performances at Temple Sinai and in Troesch Studio. Costs involved, royalties for Light Up the Sky; mentions Chris Hart, son of Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle Hart, Catherine Hicks (actress). Talks about 2013 production of Wiesenthal and playwright/actor Tom Dugan at Troesch Studio Theatre in the Smith Center; Rabbi Yocheved Mintz; Nevada Arts Council and grant writing; Pastor Vicki of Word of Life Church, Night for Israel..................................................................30-37 Explains her feelings about history of Jews and Jewish theatre, Yiddish theatre, mentions Lee J. Cobb (Jewish actor) and his daughter Julie, also an actress; going to Jewish Federation for support; recalls importance of Elaine and Neil Galatz, who became supporters of JRTN’s The Diary of Anne Frank and participating in talks that led to Tovah Feldshuh 2012 performance of Golda’s Balcony at the Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center..........................................38-43 Illustration: photo of May 23, 2016 Proclamation of No Tolerance for Intolerance Day, signed by Mayor Carolyn Goodman, recognizing the JRTN’s performance of The Diary of Anne Frank for 1400 eighth graders...........................................................................43 SESSION 2 About the relationship JRTN and mission The Diary of Anne Frank performances; partnership with CCSD; how the Holocaust story is relevant today, rise of anti-Semitism, bullying, and intolerance that young people are challenged with; shifts in culture; No Tolerance for Intolerance Day declared by Mayor Carolyn Goodman (May 22, 2016); history of performances); Elliot Karp and Jewish Federation support; Gov. Brian Sandoval, Mutual Respect Week in October, Holocaust survivors flown to Reno on Sheldon Adelson plane. Story of her grandson missing school in California to see performances at Smith Center; Tovah Feldshuh in Golda ’s Balcony was first play production at the Smith Center and was a co-promotion with JRTN.............44-47 Vll Thoughts about her personal Jewishness; working with Dr. Greta Peay CCSD who is head of Equity and Diversity for CCSD, pre- and post-performance surveys given to students. Discusses Holocaust deniers; Nevada’s approach to Holocaust education; Shoah Foundation and Steven Spielberg at USC................................................................48-51 How she chose Las Vegas and UNLV to earn a Master’s degree; Nevada Conservatory Theatre; previous acting studies; goal a ‘true MFA.’ Discusses her thoughts on the future of performing arts and theatre as artistic director of JRTN; balance she works for each season; mentions The Sisters Rosemveig, Act One a book by Moss Hart, Chris Hart who came to direct Light Up the Sky, work with Donna Mills at Mammoth festival, Stephen Macht, Catherine Hicks, Loni Anderson, Michelle (Aaron) Azar, Hal Linden, Tom Dugan and Wiesenthal; Neil Simon plays Rumors, Odd Couple. Talks about other regional Jewish repertory theatre organizations...............52 - 59 Talks about balancing her acting career with a successful manufacturing business in Los Angeles with her husband; offer from Spain to manufacture a leather line on the Island of Majorca; honored designer by Cotton Council of America and Wool USA; London career overlapped; label names include Bodalia, Trinkets, Dakota Kate, Uniform, Hippie Beach Bum - all manufactured in USA; continues to wear multiple work hats............................................60 - 63 Mentions community members who have been supportive, Neil and Elaine Galatz, Heidi and David Straus, being honored by Midbar Kodesh Temple; Las Vegas embrace of theatre with The Smith Center, performance of Golda’s Balcony, support of The Diary of Anne Frank performances for school students; School-Community Partnership Program; mentions Ray Fiol and Esther Finder, Dr. Greta Peay, CCSD Supt. Pat Skorkowsky...............................64-72 vm Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project UNLV University Libraries Use Agreement Name of Narrator: Name of Interviewer: 'IBATfl B ACJ~^____________________________ We, the above named, give to the Oral History Research Center of UNLV, the recorded interview(s) initiated on APZ! Llfrj Z*/C* along with typed transcripts as an unrestricted gift, to be used for such scholarly and educational purposes as shall be determined, and transfer to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, legal title and all literary property rights including copyright. This gift does not preclude the right of the interviewer, as a representative of UNLV, to use the recordings and related materials for scholarly pursuits. I understand that my interview will be made available to researchers and may be quoted from, published, distributed, placed on the Internet or broadcast in any medium that the Oral History Research Center and UNLV Libraries deem appropriate including future forms of electronic and digital media. There will be no compensation for any interviews. Signature of Narrator Date /f 2-0/ Q, / Lf-jg'/L Signature of Interviewer Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Box 457010, Las Vegas, NV 89154-7010 702.895.2222 IX Session 1 Today is April 18th, 2016, and this is Barbara Tabach. I’m sitting with Norma Morrow. Norma, spell your name for us. And we’re going to talk a little bit about how Jewish heritage and your history intertwine. Well, my name is Nonna, N-O-R-M-A. And I use Morrow, M-O-R-R-O-W; that is my professional name. But my married name, which I also use, is Zuckerman, and that's Z-U-C-K-E-R-M-A-N, and that means sweet man. That explains a lot because people ask me if I have interviewed Norma Zuckerman. And I go, ’’Well, I’m interviewing Norma Morrow.’’ One and the same. And you have a professional name because -- why? Because I am an actor. So I don't know if I say I'm an actor or an actress. But I think the official name is that I'm an actor and that is my professional name that I use for my theatrical career. And your maiden name is Zuckerman? No, my maiden name is Schwartz. So I went from Schwartz to Siegel, from my first marriage, to Zuckerman, and Morrow is the name that I use professionally and that was the name that my mother used as an opera singer. So give me the lowdown on your family heritage. What do you know about your Jewish roots? Well, grandparents were both from Russia and from Poland. My knowledge is not really great on them. I've been trying through Ancestry.com to see what I can come up with and there are some very sketchy things of who came at what time and what boat to Ellis Island. My mom just passed away in October and my father twenty years ago, going to be twenty-one years ago. I do 1 remember going, in Boyle Heights, California, to B’nai Jacob Synagogue with my grandmother (my father’s mother) and it was obviously at the time—and I don't know much about this world, because I grew up in a Reform world—but it was an Orthodox synagogue. I vividly remember the men sat on one side and the women sat on the other. Made quite an impression. My grandmother was that very typical old world woman - very large-breasted with the long black dress and the high-button black shoes. She passed away in 1956. That is how I remember her and I was a very young girl at that time. She was my Baba. I remember going with her - walking with her — to the synagogue on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. That synagogue was called B’nai Jacob on Fremont Street in Boyle Heights and was built in 1927. So much Jewish history of Los Angeles began there. My grandmother’s congregation is now a Latino Iglesia called Iglesia Israelite that started in Guadalajara, Mexico. The bema is intact and Mogen David’s in place. All the pews remain as do the menorahs. Many Jewish people are making visits there and I want to do that. I’ve seen the outside. Now I want to go inside and sit where I sat with my grandmother in the 1950s. Boyle Heights was the focal point of where all the Jews came; when they came to California, they settled in Boyle Heights. Canter's Deli; that began there on First Avenue, then moved to the Fairfax District and was and is very famous, world famous really, deli. They have the Kibitz Room where they have music and famous performers on the sly. It's fun and everybody seems to congregate there at two o'clock in the morning. That's one of the only places to really go and eat at 2 AM. It has quite a history. On a brick wall of Canter's Deli, which I find interesting, in the parking lot is a huge mural of the Boyle Heights Breed Street Shul. I have vivid memories of that, too. So that's pretty much what I can tell you about growing up religiously as a very young girl in Boyle 2 Heights. From age four, my family moved into a beautiful home on the West Side in a Jewish area called Beverlywood. It is close to what is called the Pico-Robertson area and is a two minute ride to Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills and Beverly Hills are almost connected, it is that close. My area was Reform growing up but today it is very much more Conservative to Modem Orthodox. The homes are magnificent, large with large families inhabiting. It is a beautiful community. How did you get to Las Vegas? So that's the interesting story. Don't ask me why at this age I decided that I wanted to get my Master's degree. I graduated from the University of Southern California, USC, in drama many years ago. I just decided I wanted this Master's. So I went to USC to see what they had to offer and they were really only doing MFA programs, which I was not interested in doing, and they had a couple of MA programs that just didn't strike my fancy either. UCLA was pretty much the same story. And I knew a gentleman by the name of Robert Brewer here in Vegas. I met him really briefly through other friends. He founded the Nevada Conservatory [NCT], which was attached to UNLV. I called him and I decided I’m going to UNLV. I've always been, as I explained to you a little earlier kind of how my style is—that I would then thought, well, that couldn't be too bad driving up to Vegas two times a week. What's that? You drive up. You leave at six in the morning and get to class. You finish and you drive home. Days done. Oh, wow. You did loop it around. I looped it. Well, I actually started to fly in the very, very beginning, and I decided I didn't like that. I was just beholden to the flight schedules and people—when I say people, trying to get a taxi over here on Maryland Parkway was next to impossible. Then I found a driver that had 3 some kind of a cab at the airport at McCarran. I don't know. It just seemed like such a hassle. I said, "This is not for me; I'm driving," and I did; I did that for two years, back and forth. In the very, very beginning of my first semester, they were putting up The Diary of Anne Frank. And Jewish Family Services -1 didn't even know at the time that there was a JFSA—that our dress rehearsal, the last night dress rehearsal was going to be a benefit for Jewish Family Services; they had purchased the evening. When I went out on that stage and I saw all these people, like six hundred people, I was in awe. I did not know really that there were that many Jews in Las Vegas. I didn't have that concept. I became very good friends with a woman here who is Jewish, a South African woman, who was cast in the play and who became my partner in the theatre for three years. She played Mrs. Frank and I played Mrs. Van Daan, Peter’s mother, a role I re-created many times. And her name is? Charlene Sher. But she had not been here that long herself. They moved from South Africa to the Carolinas, to Duke, and went to L. A. and Reno and then Las Vegas. She had been involved at NCT and we became very good friends. I said to her, "Oh, my goodness, look at all these fabulous people in the audience." After the show, we had a Q and A and we were able to mingle amongst the audience, and everyone, everyone told me that they were either from New York, Philly, Boston, Chicago, L. A., major theatre towns. And I thought: Where is the theatre here? Where for they go for professional?— I don't care what anybody says, there really was not professional theatre here. So what year was all this transpiring? It's 2007. I said, "We have to start a theatre." Charlene said, "Oh, I don't know, I don't know." But again, I'm that forceful person. And we did. It was I think the right thing to do this and the 4 community has embraced it for the most part by attendance. Elliot Karp and the Jewish Federation quickly came to assist by helping to get the word out. But it hasn't been easy; I will tell you that. I thought I would actually have more support than I do have though—both in physical and financial. Let's talk about, first of all, the idea that you're commuting back and forth. That wasn't daunting to you? No, no, nothing is ever daunting to me. No, not at all. To go to the university, you mean? When I was going back and forth? Yes. No. I loved it so much. I love everything that's academic and learning and it came at a great time in my life to be able to do that. And then you're adding this layer of creating the Repertory Theatre. Yes, the theatre - my idea was always professional theatre. I was not interested in doing community theatre even though there are times we do use local actors. But really the focus for me would be to use professional actors. So we ended up with actors from Los Angeles or New York, because L A. are all your television people and the New York actors are On-Broadway or OfF-Broadway, and directors, too, would come from either. That's how we began it. Most everybody was very well-known. You might not necessarily know their name, but you knew them when you saw them. You'd say, "Oh, well, I know that person." Or you'd read an article in the paper and go, "Oh, I know that face." Just like what happened this past weekend with Stephen Macht and My Name Is Asher Lev. Everybody knows his face because he's been in so many things. He has a resume from here to L. A. 5 I found it really fascinating that I recognized his face and then his son is on— On Suits (television show). Suits, yes. Well, they're both on it together. Okay. I haven’t watch it the last— He's on there, too. He's been on there for a long time. He has a recurring role. I don't know the name of the character, but he has been playing a character on there for quite some time. That's great. So what were the obstacles in starting the theatre group here? Well, actually there weren't. I can't say that the plan was maybe so perfect, but it worked. It just seemed to work. I got a hold of the booklet from that night of the gala, the benefit from Jewish Family Services, and I started looking through all the names that were in there. And I decided, well, if they're interested in theatre... They've come here that evening and I thought Jewish people are generally very philanthropic. No matter if it's for five dollars or it could be a hundred thousand or whatnot, they do seem to give back into the community. So that's how I started reaching out to people. And Charlene did know a lot of people. And Charlene lived here at that time? Yes, she lived here. And she still lives here? Yes, she does. Is she still involved? No, she's not at all. All right. So how do you pick the plays that you're going to do? 6 Well, I try and pick something that has to do with Judaism or Jewish life or a Jewish playwright, a Jewish director, and make it that we really are honing in to the Jewish community. But these plays are not just for Jewish people. I mean My Name Is Asher Lev played for months and months and months all over the USA. Bad Jews, for instance, I think was just terrific and just closed here in Vegas at the Smith Center. I was so pleased and honored to have directed that piece. I wasn't going to give that up. I had directors in town call and say, "I want to direct that." I go, "No, sorry, I'm taking that one. That's not happening." Bad Jews has some universal themes and I think that is the reason it is so successful, not because one is Jewish. I know you went to see it. I said when I made my announcements that this play moved three times in London. It was extended seven times in Chicago. It was extended at the Geffen in Los Angeles. And finally these theatres can't either move them or extend them any longer because they have other productions coming in. So that tells you right away that this play reaches a lot of people for many, many different reasons. The extensions in every city made audiences want to see it. Audiences always come up to me and say, "Oh, I'm not Jewish. I love these plays. It resonates with me." Just like in yesterday’s production of My Name Is Asher Lev, the one line that got to me was when he said, "When I was a little boy and I was looking in the mirror." And as he grew up he kept looking in the mirror. Don't we all do that? We want to know, who is that person on the other side? Did we have expectations? Did we have things that maybe we didn't get to that we would have liked? Did it turn out the way we wanted? Maybe it turned out glorious and even better than we ever thought. I think that's so fascinating to be able to have those messages in place. So this season especially these plays have had a lot of meaning and a lot of thought 7 because I think the world today is in a place where we need to think. Now, of course, with the Anne Frank project on May 23, 2016, for 1400 Clark County eighth graders, which I'm very proud about it and it has taken me two years to put together, as you know, I think that that play is about—and as we spoke earlier—more than just the obvious of Holocaust education and anti-Semitism, but acceptance of others, bullying, antisocial behavior. The program is really called No Tolerance for Intolerance, and I think that is really what the world is all about. So this year my season was all about thinking. I hope you walked out of the theatre and you had some thought. Oh, absolutely...Let's just talk about with The Diary of Anne Frank—who do you work with in the schools to coordinate all of this? Well, this program came from association with a Dr. Greta Peay. She is the head of the diversity program in the Clark County School District. She was our liaison with putting this all together. Of course, then we had to go to the board, the school board, and go to the meetings and meet with everybody and all the higher ups. Pat Skorkowsky, CCSD Superintendent, is supporting this. He thinks it's a wonderful program. The children that morning, they'll arrive by bus and they will then have lunch across in Symphony Park when the program is over. Three Square is going to donate drinks; there will be water and milk for them. CCSD is providing the bag lunches. Then they will go back to their schools. They're being prepared now for this May 23rd performance. They're reading The Diary of Anne Frank it in their classrooms. It's an important piece. I believe, next to the Bible, it's the most widely read book published. Talk to me about your connection with that story and that book. My own personal one? Sure. 8 Well, I am here at UNLV as a graduate student in the Master's MA program in the theatre department here. I am doing my thesis on the theatrical legacy of The Diary of Anne Frank because I believe that it's such an important work and Anne has not only a historical legacy, but she has a theatrical legacy - and that's how this book has not only been read so much, but it's performed all over the world. It's been translated into I don't know how many languages that it is extremely important. It tells not only an amazing story, but importantly young people relate to it. They relate to it in so many ways because Anne has a relationship with her mother that she argues with, like so many young people argue with a parent over something. Then, of course, when she and Peter have the first kiss, oh, my goodness, the young people go wild. I mean they're just...Because everybody experiences that. I don't think there's a soul that doesn't experience that first.. .those feelings of something. Then she wants to make a career and she doesn't get that opportunity to do that. She states right off: I want to be a writer. Her message of in spite of all, I believe that all people are good, well, that's a thirteen-year-old girl. So I think it's very powerful. I am drawn to it because of its message. I believe that my role in the Jewish Repertory of Nevada, yes, it's to bring great theatre to the community of Las Vegas, but I think it's my job to also maybe help to educate and to bring things that people might not see. It takes a lot of work to get all those words out there to people to make them have interest to come. But I also think it's the job of the parent to really see that their children—or a grandparent and the schools—to see that children have this arts education, also. So the focus on eighth graders, how was that decision made? Well, that comes from Clark County. Actually, I shouldn't say Clark County. That comes from 9 the Department of Education in the state of Nevada. That's when they read the book. So everybody reads the book in eighth grade? In eighth grade, yes, in Clark County. It's really quite amazing here, I must admit. In the state of Nevada, they have such a strong program on Holocaust education. I'm really a Cali girl, as you know, and I have many . . .I mean much of my life is still there. I have many friends that tell me that there is not Holocaust education in California. Now, my children are already grown; they're parents themselves. But I can tell you when they were younger, when they went to Hebrew school or Sunday school, that's how they would have learned about the Holocaust. I'm embarrassed to almost tell you I don't think we've really discussed this. I mean my husband grew up in Brooklyn and his friend's parents were Holocaust survivors. I didn't really know any Holocaust survivors where I grew up in Beverlywood and Pico-Robertson area. I didn't. I don't really even remember it being discussed much in my parents’ home. I think when my boys went to Hebrew school, maybe that’s the time people started to talk about it more. Maybe it was just a time prior that people just didn't talk about it. For survivors then, I’ve been told didn’t want to talk about the atrocities. There was such a horrible reminder that people just didn't do that. Now we don't want, as the expression is, to never forget. So that is why it is becoming very important and it has that big message today because of the way the world is. But I don't think California has the extensive program that we have here. I do not believe. I could be wrong, and I think I'll check it out, if there really is such a strong governor's council on Holocaust education. I myself, I've been twice to Carson City for Yom HaShoah. Oh, really? Yes, because Sheldon Adelson does fly the Holocaust survivors up there every other year. I've 10 gone now...I went last year and I performed the father's closing monologue for the program that day in the governor's mansion. Actually, I get chills thinking about it because I obviously couldn't be the father, but I said to everybody, "I want you to close your eyes and I want you to think that you are creaking up those creaky stairs up into the attic of where Anne and her family lived and the Van Daan family. And imagine opening up that door and opening your eyes up and see how they lived." And then we went into the monologue of the father and how he spoke about his daughter and finding the diary. It's a very poignant, powerful moment in the play, of course, at the very end and one that people...really brings tears to people's eyes because there's parts of that play that they're very joyful. I mean the relationships of the people and there are funny moments. Mrs. Van Daan is quite a character. Anne and Peter are the love story. So there are joyful moments in there even though it's such an awful thing to try to even imagine and that they did no