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JRelease: Premiere of Original Musical By and About Contemporary Orthodox Women

April 01, 2022 12:39 PM | Jessica Painter (Administrator)

Premiere of Original Musical By and About Contemporary Orthodox Women


Friday, April 1, 2022


This past Sunday and Monday night, Nshei Players, a new religious women’s theater group in Montreal, Quebec, premiered Puzzle Pieces, an original musical written by, and about the lives of, religious Jewish women.  

This show was a first in North America and in the global Orthodox world, as it is an original musical comedy about the lives of contemporary religious Jewish women. 

Its audience was standing room only and brought together women from across the Jewish spectrum, from Chassidic and Litvak to Sephardi, Modern Orthodox and non-Orthodox.

While Puzzle Pieces is a character driven story that focuses on the inner questions people ask themselves, it portrays a host of characters who, together, capture the spirit of a vibrant community, and invites audiences to enjoy the humor of the mundane. 

The project was launched through the collaborative effort of three women, all landed immigrants in Quebec and “returnees” to Orthodoxy, drawing from their former theater experiences in Pennsylvania, New York, Israel and the UK.

Producer Miriam Leah Gamliel, professionally trained in musical theater prior to adopting Orthodoxy, directs ATARA, The Arts And Torah Association (artsandtorah.org), a network to support creative religious women worldwide. Gamliel recently finished a doctorate through Yeshiva University, but gained her early theater experiences in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.  Gamliel met Harrisburg born playwright Sarah Rochel Hewitt in the early 2000s while both were living in Bergen County, NJ Hewitt has a diverse background in writing and crafted the engaging script based on her observations of her current community.  The pair teamed up with Dr. Rachel Gray, a native of London, whose fun and funny original songs capture the special nuances of the busy lives of community women.  Gamliel and Hewitt co-direct, while Gray managed the show’s musical direction and choir.

The creative team are also members of the cast, along with an outstanding array of women who have never before had the opportunity to display their talents. The show includes native Montreal cast members Esty Gebus Krausz, Feigie Taub Moses, and Hindy Shechter Friedman, as well as others from Toronto, Los Angeles, CA, Providence, RI, New York, the UK, Belgium and South Africa, with co-choreographer Yonit Wenick from Chicago.

Puzzle Pieces brings to the stage the lives, humor, and stories formerly experienced only in private circles of religious women. The all-female audience delighted at connecting to drama and humor that reflected their own life experiences, whatever their level of religious observance.  In the aftermath of the show, women reported catharsis as they felt their own lives being accurately portrayed.  

The show fostered goodwill and unity among the various religious communities locally, as well as awe in appreciating the formerly dormant talent in the religious community.  More women have come forward with interest in performing, and the group hopes to continue creating productions that speak to the experience of women throughout the Orthodox world and its diverse subcultures and communities. 


Miriam Leah Gamliel (438) 763-8083 | drozmr@icloud.com

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