Theater: A GOOD DAY AT AUSCHWITZ (L.A. Theatre Works)

Post image for Theater: A GOOD DAY AT AUSCHWITZ (L.A. Theatre Works)

by John Todd on May 10, 2021

in Theater-Los Angeles,Virtual

L.A. Theatre Works presents the world premiere of a new play based on an extraordinary true story. Produced as a state-of-the-art audio theater recording, A Good Day at Auschwitz by noted actor Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day, Deadwood, Silicon Valley, The Goldbergs) stars Alan Mandell, a veteran of stage and film for over 75 years, as Abe, a man the playwright met at his synagogue. Tobolowsky stars alongside Mandell, playing himself.

In 2007, Tobolowsky started going to services at Adat Ari El in Valley Villiage, CA to say Kaddish for his mother after she passed away: There, he met Abe Sarna.

“Abe was a fellow of great humor and heart who not only survived three years at Auschwitz — certainly the worst place on earth — but fell in love there,” Tobolowsky explains. “Abe’s life speaks to the resilience of the human spirit, renewal and hope, even when there seems to be none.”
Best known as an actor, Tobolowsky is also a storyteller. He has written two books of true stories for Simon and Schuster: My Adventures with God, from which the material for A Good Day at Auschwitz is drawn, and The Dangerous Animals Club. In addition, he has made two storytelling movies: Stephen Tobolowsky’s Birthday Party, which premiered at the HBO Comedy fest in Aspen and SXSW, and The Primary Instinct, a concert film. His podcast, “The Tobolowsky Files” features 99 episodes that have played on NPR and PRI stations.

Alan Mandell is a noted classical actor, foremost scholar and interpreter of the absurdist plays who has had a distinguished 75-year acting and voice-over career. He appeared on Broadway in The Country Wife and The Merchant of Venice and off-Broadway in RestorationThe Beard of Avon and Impossible Marriage, as well as regionally in Endgame (Kirk Douglas Theatre) and in Ovation Award-winning roles as Estragon in Waiting for Godot (Mark Taper Forum) and Spooner in No Man’s Land (Odyssey Theatre). Film credits include The Marrying ManHedwig and the Angry InchIllegally Yours, Shortbus and A Serious Man.

Alan Mandell. Photo by Joshua-Arviz.

Abe Sarna was born in a small town in Poland in April, 1923, the youngest of nine children. When Germany occupied Poland, Abe and his family were separated and Abe was sent to the Warsaw Ghetto. In 1942, Abe was imprisoned in Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Through his tenacity, Abe was lucky enough to survive the atrocities, and, with his three surviving brothers, moved to the United States after a short stay in Italy. He married Neomi in 1963 and their son Mark was born in 1964. They moved to Los Angeles in 1977 where Abe and Neomi lived until Neomi passed away in 2006. Abe passed away in 2010, leaving behind his son Mark, daughter-in-law Deborah, and grandsons Michael and Daniel.

The L.A. Theatre Works recording of “A Good Day at Auschwitz” is scheduled to release on June 2 and can be reserved in advance at latw.org/digital-season. The cost of the digital download is $20 and includes access to a Zoom interview with Tobolowsky hosted by L.A. Theatre Works producing director Susan Albert Loewenberg.

Subscribe to L.A. Theatre Works’ entire 9-play, 2020-21 Digital Season for $150, and receive additional bonus features throughout the season, including a special video conversation with L.A. Theatre Works founding members Edward AsnerRichard DreyfussHector ElizondoStacy KeachMarsha Mason and JoBeth Williams.

For more information and to reserve a copy of A Good Day at Auschwitz, go to latw.org/digital-season.

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