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WORLD PREMIERE

The Book of Joseph

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Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

by Karen Hartman
based on the life of Joseph A. Hollander and his family
directed by Barbara Gaines

★★★★ This real-life story is directed with intensity of emotion and reminds an audience to pay attention to changes in the world.

Chicago Tribune

A simple yet wondrous insight into the nature of those who not only survived against all odds, but prevailed

Chicago Sun-Times

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The Play

Every family has its secrets. The Hollander family’s spanned three generations and two continents, from World War II Poland to present-day America, all locked in a suitcase in Joseph Hollander’s attic. When his son, Richard, uncovered the suitcase, he found more than just Swastika-stamped letters and legal documents—he found a family he never met, and a father’s legacy that was never mentioned. A family torn apart by war, fighting to escape and survive, an unplanned immigration and quest to stay in the US, and a tale of love lost and found, were all captured in letters uncovered a generation later, which became the book Every Day Lasts a Year. Now adapted into The Book of Joseph, the Hollander family journey offers a story for each of us.

 

WATCH & LISTEN

Gallery: On Stage

Video: Critical Acclaim

Listen: WBEZ Interview with Rick Boynton and Rich Hollander

 

More to Explore

Critical Acclaim

"Potent and targeted, Barbara Gaines’ inaugural staging keeps it real and, even better, current. The two-act tour de truth shifts and twists our perceptions of innocence and survivor guilt..."
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An Introduction from Rich Hollander

"A stew of memory, deeds, morality, and, most of all, values. That is the best we can leave our children and grandchildren."
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A Scholar's Perspective

"The story is simple, true, and fraught with loss...Oppression and emigration have never stopped; pained propulsion has for too long formed part of the human condition."
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The Players

Creative Team

Karen Hartman Writer

Barbara Gaines Director

Scott Davis Scenic Designer

Philip Rosenberg Lighting Designer

Rachel Healy Costume Designer

Mike Tutaj Projections Designer

Mikhail Fiksel Co-Sound Designer

Miles Polaski Co-Sound Designer

Richard Jarvie Wigs & Make-Up Designer

Matt Raftery Choreographer / Associate Director

Adam Goldstein Dialect Coach

Cast

Glynis Bell Berta Hollander / Miss Blaustein

Adam Wesley Brown Craig Hollander

Amy J. Carle Mania Nachtigal / Court Interpreter / Iris Spitzman

Sean Fortunato Joseph Hollander

Mikey Gray Lusia Wimisner

Francis Guinan Richard Hollander

Patricia Lavery Dola Stark / Vita Fischman

Ron E. Rains Salo Nachtigall / Court Officer / Stanley Diana / Arnold Spitzman

Gail Shapiro Klara Wimisner / Felicja Hollander

Brenann Stacker Genka Wimisner

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