The New Jewish Theatre



Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy: Meghan Maguire, TALLEY'S FOLLY
Outstanding Lighting Design in a Comedy: Nathan Schroeder, TALLEY'S FOLLY
Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy: JACOB AND JACK
Outstanding Lighting Design in a Drama: Michael Sullivan, WAY TO HEAVEN
Outstanding Sound Design in a Drama: Robin Weatherall, WAY TO HEAVEN


Outstanding Production of a Play: AWAKE AND SING! and THE IMMIGRANT
Outstanding Ensemble Play: THE IMMIGRANT
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play: Bob Thibaut: THE IMMIGRANT
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Peggy Billo: THE IMMIGRANT
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Gary Wayne Barker: THE IMMIGRANT
Outstanding Set Design: Scott C. Neale: AWAKE AND SING!

Previous Kevin Kline Awards
2007: Outstanding Ensemble: "Kindertransport" & "Women's Minyan"
2007: Outstanding Supporting Actor:
John Kinney, "What's Wrong with This Picture?"
2007: Outstanding Director:
Doug Finlayson, "Kindertransport"
2006: Outstanding Actress: Donna Weinsting, “From Door to Door”
2005: Outstanding Supporting Actor: Gary Wayne Barker, “Driving Miss Daisy”

2007: St. Louis Magazine A-List Award Best Theatre Company


2011 “Best of…” Columns in Local Media

Best Stage Production - 2011

Awake and Sing!

Clifford Odets' 1935 saga of restive lives trying to ride out the Great Depression is one of those classic American dramas that, though much revered, is rarely staged. So what a relief it was to finally see Awake and Sing! and learn that its reputation is deserved. Odets crams emotions into this lusty chronicle of three generations of a family living in the same congested Bronx apartment the way others cram weeds into a yard-waste bag. The eruptive staging at New Jewish Theatre, directed with a sense of urgency by Steven Woolf, blew off the dusty stigma that shrouds too many classics. For the most part, the cast reveled in the infrequent opportunity to enact roles that, if anything, were overwritten rather than under. It sometimes seems that we live in a world where the past is too soon forgotten. But during the New Jewish run of Awake and Sing! the American theater heritage was alive and well — and electrifying.

Awake and Sing! Don't believe the old saw that there's no such thing as a bad audience. I went back to see New Jewish Theatre's thunderous staging of Clifford Odets' Depression-era drama in its final week. Under the jackhammer direction of Steve Woolf, the cast remained fresh, but the audience was rotten. They didn't like the play; they didn't like the air conditioning (too cold). That crowd didn't deserve this production, which transformed a 76-year-old play into an example of St. Louis theater at its most engrossing. Moral: If you want to see a production with a simpatico crowd, you might be better off going early in the run.

2011 Year in Review in Theater
By Mark Bretz | Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 12:46 pm
Of the nearly 140 productions I observed in 2011, approximately 30 received 4.5 stars on our 5-point evaluation system. Another 11 were awarded a top-line ‘5’rating. New Jewish Theatre mounted a wonderful holiday treat with its strong ensemble effort, The Last Night of Ballyhoo

• #3:
Awake and Sing! (New Jewish Theatre). Clifford Odets’ sobering dissection of a model American family circa 1935 is as powerful now as when it first premiered more than 75 years ago. Director Steven Woolf mounted a masterful production for the New Jewish Theatre that was carefully calibrated to synchronize with the inherent rhythms of Odets’ script. The result was a powerful, absorbing, compelling evening of theater that resonated with every impeccably delivered line uttered by Woolf’s smoothly polished cast. That ensemble of excellence was both exhilarating and affecting and comprised of some of St. Louis’s finest performers, including Bobby Miller, Julie Layton, Jason Cannon

 The 2011 Judys:

In 2011, St. Louisans went to the theater with their eyes wide open.
When we go to the theater, we always notice the actors. Playwrights and directors get plenty of attention, too, because we tend to think of theater as an aural medium, shaped by words and voices. But in 2011, the eyes had it.
With that in mind, it's time for my annual last round of applause, the 2011 Judy Awards. As always, the Judys reflect nobody's opinion but mine; also as always, they remind me just how lucky I am to go to the theater for a living.
DRAMA Best production • "Awake and Sing!" by Clifford Odets, directed by Steven Woolf, New Jewish Theatre.

COMEDIES  Best actress • Nancy Bell, "End Days," New Jewish Theatre

BWW Reviews Best of 2011 
By BroadwayWorld's Chris Gibson
Best of 2011 in St. Louis

Awake and Sing! New Jewish Theatre
The Immigrant – New Jewish Theatre
Last Night of Ballyhoo – New Jewish Theatre


To read about all of the 2011 Awardees and nominees, go to the Kevin Kline Awards website

2011 Grand Center Visionary Award
New Jewish Theatre's Artistic Director, Kathleen Sitzer received the 2011 Grand Center Visionary Award for OUTSTANDING ARTS PROFESSIONAL




"Bad Jews is a stunning, 90-minute expedition into the often conflicting forces that propel people to do bad things when they put their own feelings ahead of the greater good. This powerful interpretation isn’t a comedy but it is a masterpiece."-- Mark Bretz - Ladue News

It's a stunning piece that never runs out of steam, even though it maintains a high level of emotional upheaval throughout it's 90 minute running time. BAD JEWS is a must see! It's confrontational and touching at the same time. The New Jewish Theatre's effectively uncomfortable production continues through December 20, 2015. --Chris Gibson -

"Awake and Sing!, Clifford Odets' 1935 masterpiece, feels like a subway train: fast and crowded, as distinctively part of New York as the Empire State Building. This superb new production at the New Jewish Theatre, directed by Steven Woolf, takes us to that faraway time and place — and makes it palpable, fresh and familiar. If you like good drama, you want to see this play." -- Judith Newmark - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Continuing with the theme of exceptional ensemble work, the New Jewish Theatre put together one of the funniest shows of the year with their production of Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor. This loving recreation of the goings-on within the writer's room of revered 1950's fare like "Your Show of Shows" and "Caesar's Hour" was a laugh riot in the hands of talented comedic actors like Alan Knoll and Bobby Miller. This was easily one of finest productions of one of Simon's works that I've been privileged to see." -- Chris Gibson -

"New Jewish is an undisputed success story.  Over the past decade, artistic director Kathleen Sitzer has assembled a support staff comprising many of the area's most talented actors, directors and designers." —Dennis Brown - Riverfront Times