Trayf at Penguin Rep Theatre Opens this Friday, May 19

Penguin Rep Theatre, the award-winning professional Equity theatre under the leadership of founding artistic director Joe Brancato and executive director Andrew M. Horn, opens its 40th season with Trayf, a new play by Lindsay Joelle.

Directed by Benjamin Kamine, Trayf tells the story of Zalmy, a member of Chabad, an Orthodox Jewish movement, who lives a double life: By day, he drives a "Mitzvah Tank" with his best friend Shmuel; by night, he leaves his orthodox community to roller skate and listen to rock and roll music. (“Trayf," pronounced trāf, is the Yiddish word for "non-kosher," or forbidden).

“Overflowing with humor and heart,” says Mr. Brancato, “Trayf asks how hard you have to believe to belong.”

The limited engagement of Trayf runs from Friday, May 19 through Sunday, June 11 at Penguin Rep Theatre in historic Stony Point (Rockland County), New York.Official opening is Sunday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m.

Craig De Lorenzo, Jason Liebman, Brendan Titley, and Liba Vaynberg are featured in the cast.

The production has scenic design by Brian Prather, costume design by Lux Haac, lighting design by Christina Watanabe, sound design by William Neal, with casting by Cindi Rush.

Performance days and times are: Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m., with matinees on Saturdays at 4:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. There is also a special weekday matinee on Friday, May 19 at 2:00 p.m.

Penguin’s intimate, 108-seat theatre, which is located at 7 Crickettown Road, is converted from an 1880’s hay barn, and offers air-conditioning, wheelchair accessible entrance, rest rooms and seating, and plenty of free parking.

Tickets to Trayf are priced at $44 (including facility fee and service charge). Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more and young people (30 and under).

On Sunday, May 21, the audience is invited to join the cast and crew for cake and coffee after the performance.

On Friday, May 26, there will be a discussion among the actors and audience following the show.

Before the 4:00 p.m. show on Saturday, May 27, there will be a complimentary tasting catered by Lynch’s Restaurant in Stony Point.

Penguin’s 2017 season also includes Lee Blessing’s Cobb, a powerful play exploring legendary baseball player Ty Cobb’s complicated legacy, with Joe Brancato reprising his celebrated staging (June 30 – July 23), Syncopation, a romantic comedy by Allan Knee, author of The Man Who Was Peter Pan, a play commissioned and originally presented by Penguin, which is the basis for the movie and Broadway musical Finding Neverland (August 11 – September 3), and the world premiere of Frederick Stroppel’s Fall River, a new take on Lizzie Borden (October 13 – November 5).

Season subscriptions are on sale now and start as low as $116 for the four plays.

To order tickets or for further information, visit Penguin Rep’s website at www.penguinrep.org or call 845-786-2873. 



CRAIG DE LORENZO (Jonathan) stage credits include Amadeus, Red, My Name is Asher Lev, Visiting Mr. Green, The House of Blue Leaves, and Brighton Beach Memoirs.

JASON LIEBMAN (Zalmy) played the title role in The Immigrant at Penguin Rep last season. His theatre credits also include Tiger Style! (Eugene O’Neill National Playwright’s Conference), Finks (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Dunkfest ’88 & Tapefaces (Ars Nova), Playing in Traffic (Women’s Project), Fight Girl Battle World, Men of Steel & Living Dead in Denmark (Vampire Cowboys), and Hamlet (New World Theatre).

BRENDAN TITLEY (Shmuel) appeared onBroadway in Macbeth (with Alan Cumming). His credits also include As You Like It, Measure for Measure, All's Well That Ends Well (The Public/New York Shakespeare Festival), and Of Mice and Men (Palm Beach Dramaworks). 

LIBA VAYNBERG (Leah) has appeared on stage at Classic Stage Company, La Mama, HERE, La Jolla Playhouse, Hartford Stage, and Williamstown Theatre Festival, and has a recurring role on Madam Secretary.

BENJAMIN KAMINE (Director)’s recent credits include world premieres of Carlyle by Thomas Bradshaw (Goodman Theatre), Nibbler by Ken Urban (The Amoralists at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), A Comedy of Manors by Zoe Samuel (Adirondack Theatre Festival), a cautionary tail by christopher oscar pena (Flea Theater), and the New York premiere of Washer/Dryer by Nandita Shenoy (Ma-Yi Theatre Company). He is an Associate Artist at The Flea Theater and the Resident Director at the Jewish Plays Project.

LINDSAY JOELLE (Author) is a Chicago born, NYC-based playwright and lyricist. Her plays include Trayf (Rita Goldberg Graduate Playwriting Award, Jewish Plays Project Top 10, O’Neill NPC finalist, Blue Ink Award finalist, JAW Festival finalist, Ingram Lab finalist, Kilroys List Honorable Mention, Weissberger Award nomination), The Garbologists (Leah Ryan's FEWW finalist, BRIClab finalist, developed in the New Georges Jam), The Trojan Woman (Great Plains Theatre Conference, Irving Zarkower Award, Anne Freedman Grant, UMass New Play Lab finalist, O'Neill NPC semifinalist), and A Small History of Amal by Amal, Age 7 (O’Neill NPC finalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist with Special Recognition, Forward Flux Salon, ESPAdrills/Primary Stages).


Joe Brancato was a high school English and drama teacher in 1977 when he peered into an abandoned 1880’s hay barn in Stony Point, New York, and visualized his future: a theatre of his own.

40 years later, Penguin Rep – the theatre Brancato started with Francine Newman-McCarthy and runs with executive director Andrew M. Horn -- has grown from a summer theatre to become one of the Hudson Valley’s most influential nonprofit cultural institutions, reaching tens of thousands of theatergoers each year at its home, in New York City and beyond – with its work moving to Off Broadway and to stages across the country and around the world.

And come this May when the Bronx-born Brancato begins his fifth decade at Penguin, a not-for-profit professional Equity theatre, he is widely believed to be the longest-serving founding artistic director in the U.S. today!

Since its founding in 1977, Penguin has presented more than 150 productions – over 100 directed by Brancato himself -- for more than 400,000 people from the lower Hudson Valley and beyond. And Mr. Brancato has brought together accomplished professional actors – David Canary, Michael Cullen, Tim De Kay, Gregg Edelman, Michael Esper, Barbara Feldon, Tovah Feldshuh, Beth Fowler, Deborah Hedwall, Celeste Holm,, Richard Kline, Andrew McCarthy, Lizbeth Mackay, Michele Pawk,and Karen Ziemba, among others – to star in new and noteworthy plays by such playwrights as Lee Blessing, Ronald Harwood, Allan Knee, Arthur Laurents, Warren Leight, Jon Marans, William Mastrosimone, Lainie Robertson, James Sherman and Elizabeth Swados.

 As The Journal News wrote in 1982: “Somebody forgot to tell artistic director Joe Brancato that he’s crazy to use a little barn plunked down in the Rockland County suburbs to experiment with unusual and challenging plays… I hope everybody keeps forgetting to tell him. The region is more the richer for it.”

“Guided by the skilled hand of Penguin’s artistic director, Joe Brancato, the splendid performers get first-rate support, as always at Penguin, by an excellent design team” (The New York Times).

“Penguin Rep is a place where theatergoers can experience magic time after time” (Lohud.com).

As it launches its fortieth season, Penguin Rep Theatre, dubbed “the gutsiest little theatre” by The New York Times, continues to present a cultural experience that is unique in the region: professional productions of new plays at affordable prices.

Penguin Rep Theatre’s 2017 season is sponsored by Active International and Orange and Rockland Utilities. The season is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Penguin Rep also gratefully acknowledges the support of the County of Rockland, the Town of Stony Point, The Shubert Foundation, Cory and Bob Donnalley Charitable Foundation and generous donations from Joseph Grosso, Barry and Helene Lewis, Chase Mishkin and Morton Wolkowitz.

Pictured from left to right are: Craig De Lorenzo (Jonathan), Jason Liebman (Zalmy), Brendan Titley (Shmuel) in a scene from "Trayf," a new play by Lindsay Joelle, directed by Benjamin Kamine.  Photo credit: Dorice A. Madronero.


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