The musical QUEEN ESTHER’s Dilemma to open Off-Broadway this March
Queen Esther’s dilemma, the musical, to open Off-Broadway this March!
Queen Esther's Dilemma, a musical by Samuel J. Bernstein, is inspired by the Biblical Book of Esther. This original musical play blends humor with anguish, tragedy with triumph, while exploring Jewish identity in all its complexities.
In Queen Esther's dilemma, inspired by the Biblical Book of Esther, a contemporary Purim Party is interwoven with the principal features of the traditional Purim story. The party includes Purim games; dancing; singing; and, of course, the drinking of many cups of wine. The Biblical narrative recounts the efforts of Haman, an evil Persian, to annihilate the Jews, and the actions of Queen Esther; Mordechai, her cousin; and King Ahasuerus, the King of Persia, to counteract the machinations of Haman. In this theatrical rendering, Esther faces various difficult ethical problems as she strives to be a woman loyal to the interests of the Jews, as interpreted by Mordechai, and yet a person with strong pacifistic inclinations.
The cast includes: Amanda Martinez (Queen Esther), David Serero (Ahasuerus, King of Persia), Mark Singer (Mordecai), Christopher Romero Wilson (Haman), Christian Sineath (Zeresh / Barnia), Rachel Duval (Queen Vashti / Hatach), Stefan Miller (Teresh / Farbad / Prince), Benjamin Culpepper (Bigthana / Hegai), Maxwell Porterfield (Atash), Shawn Chang (Piano), Abby Swidler (Violin), Juan Herrera (Drums & Percussions). Directed and Produced by David Serero.
Performances are: March 1st at 2pm (Special Purim performance), March 4th at 8pm (opening night), March 13th at 3pm and March 18th at 6pm (closing night).
WHEN: March 1st (2pm), 4th (8pm), 13th (3pm) and 18th (6pm).
WHERE: Center for Jewish History, 15 west 16th street, New York NY 10011
Tickets: QueenEsther.bpt.me or 1.800.838.3006
THE CAST AND BIOS:
About AMANDA MARTINEZ - Queen Esther: Amanda is a New York City based actor/singer. She is thrilled to be making her Off-Broadway debut in such a poignant role! She was recently seen singing at sea for Aida Cruise Line, while traveling through Northern Europe and Norway. Some of her favorite credits include Camelot, SMILE! and Jesus Christ Superstar. A big thank you to my family and friends for all of your support and love!
About DAVID SERERO - King of Persia: Actor and baritone, David Serero, has received international recognition and critical acclaim from all over the world. At only 36 years old, he has already performed more than 1,200 concerts and performances throughout the world and played in over 100 films and recorded 20 albums. He has given concerts in Paris at the PARIS OPERA GARNIER, OLYMPIA, EIFFEL TOWER; in New York at the LINCOLN CENTER, CARNEGIE HALL, TIMES SQUARE; in London at the ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC, WEMBLEY STADIUM; and in Moscow at the TCHAIKOVSKY HALL; in Amsterdam at the CONCERTGEBOUW, the BUDAPEST OPERA conducted by PLACIDO DOMINGO and more. He made his sold out WEST END debuts at the Dominion Theatre. He has sung more than 30 lead roles in Opera, Operetta and Musical Theater. In 2012, David Serero performed Don Quixote from MAN OF LA MANCHA in Paris and the title role from the revival of Duke Ellington's only musical: BEGGAR'S HOLIDAY and also starred in the cast album recording. In 2013, David performed with JERMAINE JACKSON in YOU ARE NOT ALONE, a musical written, directed and produced by David Serero. He has also produced and arranged I WISH YOU LOVE an album of Jazz standards for Jermaine Jackson. In December 2013, David shared the cover of Theatre & Performances with Barbra Streisand in London, and made his BROADWAY solo debut at the Snapple Theatre in New York and released his first studio album ALL I CARE ABOUT IS LOVE. In 2014, he released The Broadway Baritone featuring Broadway classics and toured in the UK with a performance on WEST END. During the summer 2014, he recorded the entire love letters's correspondence of NAPOLEON to Josephine and released his new studio album THE CROONER BARITONE, The FRANK SINATRA Classics for the 100th anniversary of Sinatra. In 2015 and 2016, he played Off Broadway the lead roles of SHYLOCK (MERCHANT OF VENICE) and OTHELLO's title role with both critical acclaim. In 2015, he performed two open air concerts on TIMES SQUARE (New York) for BEST OF FRANCE with the presence of the French President Mr Francois Hollande. He released SEPHARDI, an album of Sephardic music in Ladino language and records the title role of RICHARD III in French. In 2016, he releases ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU, a Pop Rock album, entirely composed, performed, arranged and produced by himself. He also played NABUCCO (Nabucco) in New York; and the title roles of DON GIOVANNI and RIGOLETTO at the CARNEGIE HALL. In 2017, David entered the prestigious WHO'S WHO AMERICA for demonstrating outstanding achievements in the entertainment world and for the betterment of contemporary society. In the summer 2017, he releases BARITONE OPERA ARIAS, singing opera classics such as Toreador (Carmen) and from operas Tosca, Nozze di Figaro, Fanciulla del West and Barbiere di Siviglia. Among his next performances in New York for 2017/2018 are the title roles of CYRANO OF BERGERAC (Rostand), DON GIOVANNI (Mozart), BARABAS (Marlowe's Jew of Malta), Hermann (World Premiere adaptation of the Queen of Spades) and KING LEAR (Jacob Gordin's The YIDDISH KING LEAR). In American Television, he has appeared in: The Hunt with John Walsh (CNN), Mysteries at the Museum (Travel Channel), Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall (NBC), Six Degrees of Murder (Discovery Channel), Checked Out, On The Case with Paula Zhan (Discovery ID), Rabid Beast (Animal Planet TV), Suddenly Rich (TLC TV), Whistleblowers (Spike TV), Blood Feuds - Gangs of New York (Discovery Channel), We Are New York WANY (New York TV).
In American Films he starred in Alice in America, Tango Shalom, Winter Has No Sun, Most Beautiful Island, Paisanos in Paris, Following Phil, Terminal 5, Sheepshead, Again, Overload Rock or Die, The Redemption, Kingdom of the Alley, Ring Ring, Laundry Day, Capicola, Make it Work, There Will Come Soft Rains, Amarena, When I Sing, Hatikvah.
He starred in several commercials for Sotheby's & eBay, Bank of America, Don Julio Tequila, Khiel's, Volkswagen, BJ's, Pepsi, Mitsubishi Cars and more.
About MARK SINGER - Mordecai: Mark Singer's dramatic roles include Jack Boyle in Juno and the Paycock, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jacob in the independent film Virtuous Scoundrels. Among his musical theater and opera credits are The Cradle Will Rock and Pins and Needles at the HOWL! Festival, numerous new musicals, and Escamillo in Carmen (La MaMa), as well as works by Weill, Bernstein, Rorem, Holst and Barber. He is one of the creators of the Mountaintop Celebration of Song in Hunter, NY, and performs an evening of songs from the American Songbook regularly at the Harvard Club. His new play (written with John McCaffrey), Books That Did Not Help Me Pick Up Women, was recently presented by the Hudson Stage Company, and he is currently developing a musical about the history and music of Weimar Germany titled All Mankind Has Lost Its Reason.
About CHRISTOPHER ROMERO WILSON - Haman: Recent New York acting credits include, Calymath in The Jew of Malta, Lord John/Pin Head Manager in The Elephant Man, Charlie Colton in The Last of My Solid Gold Watches, Iago in Othello, Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, Uncle Charley in Death of a Salesman, Mercutio in Romero and Juliet, Will Dearth in Dear Brutus, King Herod in Salome, Jack Tanner in Man & Superman, and Banquo in Macbeth among others.
About RACHEL DUVAL - Queen Vashti: New York based soprano Rachel Duval has made a name for herself as an unconventional classical musician with a wide range of skills. A former trapeze artist and internationally acclaimed performance poet, Ms. Duval was honored to be part of the world premier of Stomping Grounds at The Glimmerglass Festival in 2017, in which she sang, rapped, and danced. In 2015, Rachel was selected as the best and only classical singer for the Spanish National Television (TVE) program Insuperables, which was viewed by over almost 2 million Spaniards. On the stage, Rachel has performed in various operas in the USA and Spain, singing Rosalba in Daniel Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas with Opera Steamboat (2016), Angelica in Händel’s Orlando with Cantanti Project NYC (2017), Alcina in Alcina with Lyra NY (2018). In Spain, Rachel studied with Catalan conductor Ricardo Estrada, and sang with him in the Barcelona Opera Studio as La Contessa (Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni, Mozart), Euridice (Orfeo ed Euridice, Gluck), and Oscar (Un Ballo in Maschera, Verdi). Rachel has performed in hundreds of venues world wide including with the Seattle Symphony under maestro Gerard Schwartz and Broadway legend Marvin Hamlisch, the Boulder Philharmonic, at The Colorado Music Festival, and at The Apollo Theatre.
About CHRISTIAN SINEATH - Zeresh: Christian Sineath's favorite performances in NYC include THE MOST HAPPY FELLA (Rosabella), COMPANY (Susan), and IOLANTA (Brigitta). She was cast in Oscar nominated director James Spione's film, SILENCED, where she portrayed Jesselyn Radack. Select regional credits include TWELFTH NIGHT (Olivia), FIVE ONE ACT PLAYS BY ALAN BALL (Woman), and TINTYPES (Anna Held). In April she’ll perform in the ensemble of BROADWAY BACKWARDS at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. MM, Manhattan School of Music.
About BENJAMIN CULPEPPER - Bigthana: Excited to be making his Off-Broadway Debut! Benjamin was previously seen as Scott in Zusman at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Dougie in Waste, Fraud and Abuse at the 13th Street Repertory Theatre, and in Yosef at the Master Theatre in Brooklyn. Benjamin recently completed the Barrow Group 1.5 Year Acting Conservatory. A special thanks goes out to my parents, my phenomenal fiancé Kaitlynn, and all of my support staff back in Texas.
About STEFAN MILLER - Teresh: Stefan Miller hails from the San Francisco Bay area and earned his MFA in Vocal Performance from UC Irvine. Recent regional credits include: Fairtone in STATE FAIR at Sierra Repertory Theatre, John Brooke in LITTLE WOMEN at the Chance Theater, OKLAHOMA! at 3-D Theatricals, and A-Rab in WEST SIDE STORY at Theatre Royale. Queen Esther marks Stefan's New York Off-Broadway debut and is thrilled to be a part of this cast!
About MAXWELL PORTERFIELD - Atash: Maxwell is a New York-based singer originally from Austin, Texas. Most recently she performed Julie Jordan in Carousel, Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and Christine Daaé in Phantom. She is excited to make her New York debut in Queen Esther!
About ABBY SWIDLER - Violin: Abby Swidler is a performer, composer, and educator. A violinist, violist, and vocalist, Abby is a passionate collaborator with a versatile performance career. She frequently plays with the virtuosic chamber orchestra, Shattered Glass, NYC’s Ennio Morricone inspired Italian film score band, Tredici Bacci, and performs her own compositions with a variety of ensembles in concert spaces and in collaboration with film, dance, and theater. She is currently working on her first string quartet commissioned by the O Miami Poetry Festival, to be performed in April of 2018. She received a B.M. in Violin Performance from Eastman School of Music and an M.M. in Contemporary Improvisation from The New England Conservatory. Originally from Missoula, MT, she currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
About SAMUEL J. BERNSTEIN - The Composer: Samuel J. Bernstein (Playwright) is a retired professor of literature and creative writing who taught at Northeastern University in Boston for nearly fifty-five years after receiving a PhD degree from Brandeis University. At Northeastern, he was among the select group of faculty members who won the Excellence in Teaching Award. He was a Fulbright teacher in Belgium, and has lectured on dramatic literature in Europe, Asia, Australia and at various venues in the United States. During his entire tenure, he wrote plays musical and non-musical, many of which were performed in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. In 2014, Professor Bernstein’s play Olympics Uber Alles was presented off-Broadway at the St. Luke’s Theatre ; in 2017, The Queen’s Dilemma, which had been initially mounted at Hebrew College in Newton, MA in 2016, was staged at the American Theatre of Actors on 54th Street in New York City. Queen Esther’s Dilemma is the most recent incarnation of Professor Bernstein’s interpretation of the Biblical Book of Esther.