Naomi Karz Jacobs
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kenneth Lee, President
Howard Teichman, Artistic Director
Ruth Flinkman Marandy, Treasurer
Naomi Karz Jacobs
Peter Mark Richman
Rabbi Jonathan Aaron
Rabbi David Baron
Rabbi Ken Chasen
Rabbi Allen I. Freehling
Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Assn. for Jewish Theatres
L.A. Stage Alliance
The West Coast Jewish Theatre is a California non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation devoted to the quality production of dramatic and comedic plays, musical theatre, revues and special performances.
Our mission is to portray Jewish history, philosophy and culture through theatrical productions dealing with Jewish life in days past, present and future. Through these presentations we hope to foster a respect for and understanding of the Jewish heritage. In carrying out this mission, the West Coast Jewish Theatre has the following objectives:
- To keep alive dramatic works of the past, and to promote and encourage new and contemporary playwrights whose plays deal with Jewish themes;
- To reach out to members of the Jewish community and their children and offer them an opportunity to connect positively with their roots, their ethnicity and their family; and
- To portray to the non-Jewish community the unique qualities of the Jewish people, and those qualities shared with everyone that make us all equal in the family of man.
In accomplishing these objectives through entertaining and enlightening theatre, we hope to be a source of pride for both the Jewish community and the community at large.
The West Coast Jewish Theatre was founded in 1993 when Naomi Karz Jacobs assembled a group of friends with Yiddishkeit and love of theatre in their hearts. They wanted to find a way to start a permanent Jewish theatre in Los Angeles. At that time, Los Angeles was the second largest Jewish community in the United States, with a pool of the most talented people in the film, television and theatre industries and was the home of major Hollywood studios. Yet it had no Jewish theatre. Furthermore, there were over forty-five Jewish theatres throughout the United States and Canada, including smaller communities like San Antonio, Texas, which has three Jewish theatres. Despite the fact that several previous attempts by others had failed, Naomi garnered support from many talented, dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers of all ages who felt strongly about this need and its importance to Jewish cultural continuity. They wanted to carry on Jewish traditions through the arts, specifically Jewish theatre. Education was also a major objective. For those who may not be affiliated with Jewish organizations or synagogues, the opportunity to experience provocative theatre can broaden perspectives and interests in Jewish culture.
The West Coast Jewish Theatre began with staged readings, musical and comedic performances. Always with an eye on quality, the productions involved talented performers and directors such as:
Corey Allen, Bea Arthur, Edward Asner, Barbara Bain, Shelley Berman, Bonnie Franklin, Budd Friedmann, Arlene Golonka, Elliott Gould, Harold Gould, Estelle Harris, Monty Hall, Rocky Kalish, Hal Kanter, Bernie Kopell, Valerie Landsburg, Len Lesser, Rue McClanahan, Sammy Shore and Bryna Weiss; And featuring works of writers such as: Sholom Aleichem, Carole Braverman, Allan Byrns, Marvin Chernoff, Ron Friedman, Ernest Joselovitz, Peter Mark Richman, James Sherman, Howard Teichman, and Skip Usen. After successful co-productions of “The Chosen” by Chaim Potok and “Rocket to the Moon” by Clifford Odets, in 2005 we began full seasons of award-winning productions, which have continued to the present day. See our Past Productions page for more information.