Rainbow Zebra Productions LLC has announced the full cast and creative team for the World Premiere of MIRIAM AND ESTHER GO TO THE DIAMOND DISTRICT, written and directed by Andrea Gordon.
MIRIAM AND ESTHER GO TO THE DIAMOND DISTRICT will run from January 17 – 28, 2024 at Magic Theatre (Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd., Building D, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94123).
Opening Night is Friday, January 19, 2024 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets range from $30 – $50 and can be purchased online at miriamandesther.com.
“It is a dream come true for me to work with all these people on this particular play,” said playwright and director Andrea Gordon. “Lee, Ellen, Janet and I have worked on umpteen projects over the last 30+ years. I wrote the parts of Miriam and Esther with Ellen and Janet in mind. Beaver and Kurt and I have also worked together over the past many decades. I love Nina and Chris’s work and am excited to work with them. When you hear piano, these are old recordings of my father. And the whole play is dedicated to my sister Marcia, whom I love and adore.”
In this exclusive interview, Ms. Gordon reflects on the current production.
Cultural Currents: What makes a “world premiere” so challenging?
Andrea Gordon: There is comfort in the audience experiencing something they have had a chance to vet through reviews, or word of mouth, or the history of the play. When it is a world premiere, the audience has no idea what to really expect, so they are dependent on their own responses to the play, which can be frightening for some people. I happen to love world premieres- with no preconceived notions about the project, I am open to whatever they toss at me. I find good work, when new, can astonish and delight.
CC: How do you expect the audience to respond to this subject matter?
Gordon: I think every single adult in the room has experienced loss, and complicated relationships with family. It is how we grow and change, and this play is about the nuanced expression of grief, love and survival in the sister’s lives.
What is unusual about this quasi auto-biographical play, is that it is told through the eyes of two older women, and their ghost parents- who remain very young and beautiful in the sister’s eyes. As the secrets of their childhood unfold, the sisters come to terms with their legacy, their relationship to the world, and each other.
CC: What should we know about the three principal actors?
Gordon: All four actors in this ensemble are phenomenal, and “triple threats” as they used to call them (dancer/singer/actors).
Janet Roitz (Esther) appeared in lead roles with my theatre company- Tour de Force over several decades. She played Kitty for me in the Time of Your Life at Specs Bar in North Beach- it was a groundbreaking site specific production of the play that caused the city to rename the alley by Specs Saroyan Alley! She also played Anne Frank in the Diary of Anne Frank, Frankie in Member of the Wedding, and had notable roles in Kindertransport
Ellen Brooks (Miriam) Has been a Bay Area Theatrical treasure for over 5 decades. She has worked with me in varying capacities as Actor, Light designer, and dramaturg for the past 30 + years. SAhe has taught theatre extensively at different universities and has been directing plays all over California as well. She is amazing.
Merrill Grant (Mom) is a brilliant singer, actress and dancer who recently moved her from New York. She was brought to my attention by my casting director Liam Vincent, and was perfect for the part.
RP Welsh (Dad) was also brought to my attention through the audition process by Liam Vincent- He is a joy to work with, a phenomenal dancer and delightful charming fellow- super talented.