Crista Moore Stars in World Premiere of Under Midwestern Stars in MO

News   Crista Moore Stars in World Premiere of Under Midwestern Stars in MO Esther Blumenfeld's Under Midwestern Stars, a story of Jewish immigrants building a new life in the heartland of America, will get its world premiere May 11-June 3 at Kansas City Repertory Theatre in Missouri. Tony Award nominee Crista Moore is in the staging's trio of actors.

Performances play the Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus. Stephen Rothman will make his Kansas City Rep directorial debut with this production, which opens May 16 after previews.

The drama is based in part on Blumenfeld's family's history, including years in Missouri, South Dakota and Indiana.

According to KC Rep, "The family, which included the future author as a young child and her parents, was compelled to flee from Nazi Germany in 1938; her father, a young, progressive rabbi, was enabled by chance, providence and the aid of Senator Harry S. Truman to obtain a scarce visa and accept a call to become the leader of the only Jewish congregation in Springfield, Missouri."

The cast includes two-time Tony Award nominee Crista Moore, who played the title role in Gypsy (with Tyne Daly) and starred in the musical Big; Mark Mineart, of Broadway's Julius Caesar and Macbeth; and Autumn Dornfeld, who understudied and then performed the role of Elaine in The Graduate on Broadway and continued in that role on the national tour.

Blumenfeld's first play, Here and There, had its world premiere production at the Detroit Repertory Theatre in 2003. She has also collaborated on seven books, including "The Smile Connection: How to Use Humor in Dealing with People"; "Oh Lord, I Sound Just Like Mama"; "Humor at Work: The Guaranteed Bottom Line, Low-Cost, High-Efficiency Guide to Success Through Humor"; "In-Laws, Outlaws & Other Theories of Relativity"; and "I Remember When." She lives in Tucson. Director Stephen Rothman has directed at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Pasadena Playhouse, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Florida Stage. He has directed seven other world premieres, including Sparky and the Fitz starring Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson for the George Street Playhouse. He's a professor with the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at California State University Los Angeles.

The creative team includes scenic designer David Potts, costume designer Antonia Ford-Roberts, lighting designer Victor En Yu Tan and composer and sound designer Joe Cerqua.

For more information, call (816) 235-2700 or visit www.kcrep.org.