"Music soothes manners", one would like to say. But let’s not allow this banal truth to deceive us, because the authors' intention was not to calm the turbulent waters of the mutual relations between the Poles and the Jews, but rather try to tap into this non-controversial way, the stereotypes that live in each of us, to cause us to think, and make immune the lies and half-truths that escalate a spiral of hostility.
The dramatic action develops surprisingly, teleporting us to the cruel times of war, engaging the characters' emotions, and, as the genre would imply, leading to the triumph of love. Some might call it naïve and sentimental, others may say that it banalizes evil. "Love is all-encompassing... And this can be fully understood only in extreme situations, when you see that you cannot live without it ...". "If you can succumb to love, offer yourself to another person, you will remain human in the worst conditions" – were the words of Marek Edelman, who would have invited us to the performance, being a great supporter of staging it in the Warsaw theatre.
September 26th 2019
Music and Lyrics – GARY GUTHMAN
Book – DOMAN NOWAKOWSKI / GARY GUTHMAN
Lyric Translations – DOMAN NOWAKOWSKI
Director and Lighting – NATALIA KOZŁOWSKA
Set and Costumes Design – PAULINA CZERNEK
Choreography – BARTOSZ FIGURSKI
Costume Collaboration Designer – ANNA PUCHALSKA
Vocal Coach – AGNIESZKA HEKIERT
Assistent to the Director – MAGADALENA MAŁECKA
Make-up – ANNA SAWICKA
Poster Design – ANDRZEJ PĄGOWSKI
Stage Manager– URSZULA HAJDUKIEWICZ
Project Assistent – MONIKA WINIARSKA
Producer – Fundacja otoKultura.org
– SEBASTIAN KAZUBSKI/ ADRIAN NOWAKOWSKI
Lighting - WOJCIECH ŁYSIK
Sound - SZYMON MONTEWKA
Technical Director - WOJCIECH ŁYSIK
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Granny Sara - AGNIESZKA KUROWSKA
(Polish Jewish Holocaust survivor)
Hannah - IZABELLA BUKOWSKA
(Sara’s daughter born in Warsaw 1944)
Abey - PIOTR BAJTLIK
(Hannah’s son - born in Brooklyn NY 1970)
Director - DAREK KORDEK
(Theatre artistic director in Warsaw)
Alice - SASHA STRUNIN
(Theatre director’s daughter)
Misha - PIOTR CYRWUS
(Theatre building owner before the war)
Young Sara - MAŁGORZATA KOZŁOWSKA
(Warsaw Ghetto 1943)
Kazik - PRZEMYSŁAW NIEDZIELSKI
(Polish freedom fighter)
Marek - SŁAWOMIR MANDES
(Jewish Ghetto Uprising Freedom fighter)
Orchestra, conducted by Gary Guthman
JEKATIERINA DRZEWIECKA - Piano
MATEUSZ KASZUBA - Keyboard
RAFAŁ ŁĘPA - Keyboard
MATEUSZ DOBOSZ - Bass Guitar, Acoustic Bass
PATRYK DOBOSZ - Drums
ABOUT THE MUSICAL
The story that Gary Guthman and Doman Nowakowski created along with their music and lyrics is a quintessential work of a lifetime - and it couldn’t have been written about something more important than their beautiful Poland and its remarkable 1000-year relationship between Catholic Poles and Jewish Poles, unlike any place else in the world. Poland.
A country and its people who are rich in heritage, culture, heart and courage. A country brave enough to constitutionally and democratically protect Jews, give them autonomy and their own culture to flourish for 500 years. Jews themselves during this time called Poland a "Jewish Paradise”, while the rest of the world denied them this, their right to exist. Poland was indeed the Israel of the world for Jews for centuries.
"Letter from Warsaw” underscores the misunderstanding and division of these two great nations told through the experience of a Jewish family living in Brooklyn NY comprised of Holocaust survivor grandma Sarah, her daughter Hannah and Hannah’s son Abraham, who return to Poland and discover how history and tradition on both sides have all but been forgotten and replaced with propaganda and hidden truths, perpetuating centuries long suspicions of hate and distrust. In the end ...they discover the REAL truth!
Gary Guthman describes the results of their creative partnership - "Letter From Warsaw" - is a musical ‘dialog’. Its intent is to keep the lines of communication open. Open dialog is a must-have in order to see to a unified, happier and healthier future of Polish/Jewish relations. Letter From Warsaw - proposes no black and white answers - but it does propose a commitmentto allowing all their voice. It then becomes easier to find a solution to the pathway forward.
CREATORS OF THE MUSICAL
Composer, arranger, orchestrator, and trumpeter. Cooperated in concert with such renowned artists as Stan Kenton, Louis Bellson, The Dorsey Brothers Big Band, Clark Terry as well as the Bee Gees, Tom Jones, Aretha Franklin, Paul Anka, Burt Bacharach, Tony Bennett, Michel Legrand, Anne Murray, Neil Sedaka. From 1999-2001 he was musical director for Michael Bublé. He has composed, arranged and performed for the “ITV in Concert Series”, “Celebrity Review”, “The Palace”, “The Tommy Banks Show” and has written and arranged for premier performances with the Toronto Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic, Portland Symphony, Austin Symphony and the New York Pops.
Playwright, scriptwriter, author of theatrical plays, e.g. "Schroeder's Ketchup", "Some Species of Virgins", and the drama "Mick Jagger’s Mouth" staged in Poland and abroad. Doman has written screenplays for such movies as "White Dress", "Winged Pigs" and "Seven Sins of Popcoolture". He has originated and written a number of TV series, including "Bodo", "39 and a Half", "At Loggerheads", "The Honeymooners", “Kasia and Tomek”.
A graduate of the Directing Department at Warsaw’s Aleksander Zelwerowicz Theater Academy, she has directed 17 shows (including 9 operas), e.g.: "New Don Quixote" by Aleksander Fredro at the Polish Theater in Warsaw, "Agrippina" by G.F. Handel at the Łazienki Królewskie Royal Theater, "Moon Pierrot" by A. Schönberg at the Center for Contemporary Art, Ujazdowski Castle. Her other theater credits include the musical performances; "Baroque Living Room" and "Modny Theater", as well as the radio play "The Door Must Be Open or Closed" (Natalia has directed all three pieces).
Paulina graduated from the Department of Scenography at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She has designed sets and costumes for theater performances and operas, including "Sentimental Work for Four Actors", dir. Piotr Cieplak, "Edmond" and "Jacques the Fatalist and his master", dir. Krzysztof Stelmaszyk, and "Morphine" dir. Waldemar Raźniak. Recognized with many awards and distinctions, Paulina has worked in a number of venues throughout Poland (Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa, Roma Music Theater, Teatr Polski in Bydgoszcz). She won the main prize for best set design at the 22nd Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.
A graduate of the Bytom Dance Theater Department at the Krakow Academy of Theatrical Arts. In his work, Bartosz focuses on combining the areas of acting, singing and dance / movement. As a choreographer and director of movement, he has collaborated with the Polish Theater in Warsaw, the Rampa Theater, the theater and cabaret group Pożar w Burdelu, and the Młyn Theater in Warsaw. A lecturer at the Maciej Pawłowski Musical School, the Warsaw Pantomime Center and Warsaw Film School, Bartosz is a performer and co-creator of projects related to dance theater and contemporary dance, both in Poland and abroad.
The mission of the foundation is to promote culture and activity in the field of audiovisual arts. Otokultura.org produces, creates and educates. "Letter from Warsaw" is OtoKultura’s first musical theatrical production