Casting has been announced for the concert performance of new indie rock musical RUTKA at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts January 23. Selections from the show will be presented in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the Lincoln Center building.
Two time Tony winner Judy Kaye will play the productions Grandma/Narrator; Julie Benko (Funny Girl) will play Dvorah; Andrew Barth Feldman (Dear Evan Hansen) will play Janek, Nathan Levy (Dear Evan Hansen) will play Jumek, Zachary Noah Piser (Dear Evan Hansen) will play Lolek; Zoe Siegel will play Micka; Gabi Carrubba (Dear Evan Hansen) will play Minda; Zoe Holtzman will play Nina; Annabelle Kempf (Billy Elliot the Musical) will play Rozna; Lana Schwartz (Endangered!) will play Rutka; Cara Rose DiPietro will play Stanislawa; Presley Ryan (Beetlejuice) will play Tusia; Ben Cherry (Indecent) will play Yaakov; and Oscar Williams (Fun Home) will be a member of the ensemble.
Featuring music and lyrics by Jocelyn Mackenzie and Jeremy Lloyd Styles of indie rock trio Pearl and the Beard, and a book by Sarah Gancher (Russian Troll Farm, Hundred Days), RUTKA is based on the real diary of 14-year-old Rutka Laskier. Rutka's Notebook captures her experiences living in the Jewish Ghetto in Bedzin, Poland for three months in 1943. When she was deported, Laskier left her diary behind—it was only discovered decades later, authenticated, and published in 2006. Born the same day as Anne Frank, her published diary has drawn significant comparison to The Diary of Anne Frank, serving as another perspective of the Holocaust through youthful eyes.
Wendy C. Goldberg is directing, leading a creative team that also features Ken Cerniglia (Hadestown, Peter and the Starcatcher) as dramaturg and Sharon Kenny as musical director. General management is by KGM Theatrical. Daryl Eisenberg of Eisenberg/Beans Casting serves as casting director. Casting will be announced at a later date.
Goldberg said in a statement, “RUTKA helps reclaim voices that were taken far too soon, and to introduce new generations to these stories in a way that feels entirely relevant and current to them. With shocking incidents of antisemitism, hatred, and division on the rise, it is crucial to have a project like this to enact meaningful change for future generations.”
RUTKA is produced by Amy Langer and David Schwartz of Think System Productions and executive produced by Cody Lassen (Spring Awakening, Indecent, How I Learned to Drive).