CHICAGO – Strawdog Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back live audiences this winter with its annual holiday hit Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, playing November 20 – December 12, 2021 at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. in Chicago. Returning for its fourth consecutive year, Hershel is based on the award-winning book by Eric Kimmel, adapted by ensemble member Michael Dailey*, with music and lyrics by Jacob Combs, direction by Hannah Todd and music direction by Ricky Harris. Tickets are free and are available Friday, October 29 at www.strawdog.org. The press openings are Saturday, November 20 at 1 pm & 4 pm and Sunday November 21 at 1 pm & 4 pm.
Please note: Audience members aged 2+ years must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times. All audience members aged 12+ years must provide, before entering the venue: proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of negative PCR test (taken no more than 72 hours prior to entry) or proof of negative COVID-19 antigen test (taken no more than 6 hours prior to entry)
Hershel will feature Morgan Lavenstein as Hershel, Charlie Baker as Leor, Christopher Thomas Pow as Sammy, Rebecca Marowitz as Max, LaKecia Harris as Sara and Amy Gorelow as Al.
Understudies: Andrew Clancey, Teagan Earley, Katie Incardona, Elizabeth McAnulty Quilter, Gavin Mueller and Becca Rowland.
A traveling troupe of actors comes to town to find no one celebrating Hanukkah. They must put on a show to save the holiday! Will they bring back the spirit of Hanukkah to the town? Will Hershel of Ostropol outsmart the goblins who haunt the old synagogue? In this adaptation of the Caldecott Honor-winning book, the story comes to life with music, puppets and a little bit of magic for families of all ages to enjoy.
Performance schedule: Saturdays and Sunday at 1 pm and 4 pm. Please note: there will be an added understudy performance on Friday, December 10 at 7:30 pm.
The production team includes ), Caitlin McLeod (scenic designer; co-puppet designer), Gregory Graham (costume design), K Story (lighting design), Daniel Etti-Williams (sound designer), Foiles (props designer, co-puppet designer), Amanda Crockett (choreographer), Stephanie Diaz (puppetry consultant), Karissa Murrell Myers* (casting director), Sophia Sinsheimer (assistant director), Oswald Avile (stage manager), Paul Cook* (production manager), Evan Sposato (technical director), Catherine Miller (cultural consultant) and Kelly Levander (marketing).
Comments Strawdog Artistic Director Kamille Dawkins, “This incredibly imaginative retelling of Hershel will truly captivate and entertain in ways unparalleled. Hannah Todd’s direction and our amazingly skilled designers and performers are crafting something heartfelt, fun and exciting.”
*Denotes Strawdog ensemble member
About the Artists
Eric Kimmel (Book) is the author of over 130 books for children, including Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock and the classic Hanukkah tale, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. He is a five-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Sydney Taylor Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Michael Dailey (Adapter) has been a Strawdog company member since 1997. He has appeared as an actor in 24 Strawdog productions. Writing credits include three radio plays presented as part of Radio Theatre 7, co-writer on the late-night series The Adventures of Picklebot and Lawfer and script editor for Strawdog’s productions of 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, Julius Caesar and Measure for Measure.
Jacob Combs (Music and Lyrics) is a writer, composer and director based in Los Angeles. Jacob wrote the music and lyrics for Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (based on the beloved children’s book by Eric Kimmel), which has been produced annually since 2018 by Chicago’s Strawdog Theatre. Previous theater projects include Selling Out (Strawdog Theatre), Legends & Lore (New York Theatre Barn, Musical Theatre Workshop) and Palin! The Musical. A lifelong film nerd, Jacob recently worked in the writers’ rooms of two top-secret projects at Pixar, and wrote several episodes of the Disney+ documentary series Inside Pixar. Jacob also wrote the short film Messrs., which is beginning its festival run, and his first short film as writer/director, Without, showed at several festivals in 2019 and 2020.
Hannah Todd (Director) is a director based in Chicago by way of Washington, D.C. Directing work includes Thrones! A Musical Parody at the Apollo Theater, Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens/Merrimack Repertory Theater (Associate Director) and work at Theater Alliance, Lean & Hungry Theatre and We Happy Few (co-founder) in D.C. Assistant directing includes Northlight, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Folger Theater, Studio Theater and Shakespeare Theater Company. Hannah received her MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.
Ricky Harris (Music Director) is a composer, performer and music director throughout the city. He is also a seasoned teaching artist in Chicago, having taught for many years with Raven Theatre, PlayMakers Laboratory and The Beverly Arts Center Chicago, to name a few. He is currently starting in Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of Pump Boys & Dinettes.
About Strawdog Theatre Company
Since its founding in 1988, Strawdog Theatre Company has offered Chicagoland the premiere storefront theatre experience and garnered numerous Non-Equity Jeff Awards with its commitment to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach. The celebrated Company develops new work, re-imagines the classics, melds music with theatre, asks provocative questions and delivers their audience the unexpected.
Strawdog Theatre Company is supported in part by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.