Cast and Crew of Esther Barbie
March 22, 2024

Today we cast our spotlight on the cast and crew of Congregation Shir Shalom’s Purim spiel parody that envisions Esther leaving Shushan for the Real World to help a young woman become a rabbi. Written by Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, the script is replete with comedy and social commentary, and includes songs from the Barbie movie (the source of this year’s parody), and piano accompaniment by Judith Gerber.

Cantor Arlene Frank, director of the spiel, calls the script “brilliant layering, and a new fun and provocative way of looking at the Book of Esther.” The Cantor does a bit of everything for the production, from sound and music to publicity. “I really enjoy helping a group of performers express themselves through their roles and creativity,” she beams.

Assisting Cantor Frank in the production are Mark Kneitinger, assistant director, Sue Frank, costumes, and Marina Finkelstein, production assistant. A special shout out to the creativity in set design and props to Julia Cohan and Elaine Kellick.

The spiel is a labor of love for many members and there are performers who return year after year. However, this year, CSS is thrilled to welcome newcomers Ronnie Dubrowin, Aster Hathaway, Joanne Marquisee, Ruth Meyerowitz, Sharon Nisengard, and Carol Schmeidler.

Returning cast members include: Robert Altman, Linda Bergman, Sheila Bernard-Tucker, Bruce Corris, Dan Ferber, Leah Finkelstein, Michael Frisch, Alan Gellin, Kim Goldhirsch, Jill Hamilton, Judith Olin, Robin Raphael, Maureen Seitz, and Steve Sugarman. When asked why they participate every year, Seitz said, “I get to play my fantasy of being on Broadway” and Bergman shared “It’s my one night to really shine.”

Please join the cast and crew at 7 pm tomorrow evening, March 23 at CSS, 4660 Sheridan Drive in Williamsville with a reading of the Megillah followed by the spiel.

Cast and Crew of Esther Barbie - 3.22.24 spotlight imgs

Pictured: Robin Raphael/Alan Gellin