With trepidation, humility, and a surprising dose of humor, we announce auditions for The Blessing of a Broken Heart. Sherri Mandell wrote a heartrending and hope-giving book in the year after her son Koby's brutal murder. Salovey's play brings that year searingly to life. We’d be honored to have you audition.
Before you proceed: The pre-production, rehearsal process, and performance of this show is being filmed for a documentary by Holy Land Productions on the Mandell family’s story. The film will be submitted to film festivals all over the world. Auditionees must understand that there is a chance they will appear in this film. The cast will certainly feature. For more information about the production company, see below*.
The Blessing cast consists of Sherri and an ensemble of four actors. Sherri is in her 40s, but we will consider strong actors even if they look younger or older. Northern US accent only. (If you aren’t American but you do a perfect Northern US accent, that’s fine.) We are looking for ensemble actors who can sing and who move well. Sex, age, and accent are open for the ensemble. The ensemble is critical and on the stage all the time.
Auditions are on September 30 and October 4 at 53 Harakevet, Jerusalem. (Probably Sept. 30 for the part of Sherri and Oct. 4 for the ensemble.) Rehearsals will be in Jerusalem. Performances are in mid-January. We will open for two nights in the Khan Theater’s main auditorium, in Jerusalem, and then take the show to Beit Shemesh, Gush Etzion, Ra’anana, and Modi’in.
If you would like to audition, write to me at [email protected]. The ensemble audition will be a group audition because we will be looking for people who work well together, and for the Sherri part, we will arrange individual time slots. Please let me know if you are auditioning for the part of Sherri, for an ensemble part, or for both.
The show tackles tough material. We hope it’s one through which the cast and crew will grow and draw inspiration.
Here’s something I wrote on Facebook about the part of Sherri:
I had two inquiries this morning from people, both with a lot of stage experience, who are anxious about what they see as the enormity of auditioning for this role. How can someone presume to become Sherri Mandell? How can someone presume to portray her pain?
So here’s how I answered their questions, and I think it’s appropriate to tell you all, too:
The actor who plays this role does not need to resemble Sherri. We’re not going for a lookalike or someone who can imitate her—we’re going for strong acting. Sherri’s style is narrative-y and honest and sincere and sometimes bitter and sometimes lost, and often hopeful, and sometimes cynically funny and sometimes outright laughaloud funny. I’ll be looking for someone who can evince all that. As Todd Salovey, the playwright, put it so well when we chatted about the play, we don’t want a realistic and wrenching scream and collapse at the news that your son died. That kind of intensity is not suited to the style of the play, since the play jumps quickly from segment to segment and from emotion to emotion in a non-chronological fashion. We need a personable and engaging storyteller who will convince us that she is recounting her own story—i.e. that she is remembering (not reenacting) the events. If you are an actor who is highly relatable and has presence and range, you may be right for the part.
This is not a paid gig.
Book by Sherri Mandell
Play by Todd Salovey
Direction by Yael Valier
Production design by John Krug
Stage management and props by Shari Greenspan
Produced by Theater and Theology in cooperation with the Koby Mandell Foundation
*Holy Land Productions produces news pieces for clients like the BBC, Apple TV, and 60 Minutes, and creates full-length documentaries and human-interest stories.
You can learn more about Holy Land Productions’ news features at www.holylandproductions.tv
Here’s a trailer for a fun, award-winning documentary they made about hummus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMNQ7poN3JQ
Here’s a trailer for a documentary they are currently filming about Israeli marathon runner Beatie Deutsch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPhTxiDsqpY.
Looking forward to seeing you,