Telly Leung, Francis Jue, Matthew Wilkas to Workshop Paper Dolls for Sundance Institute in NYC

News   Telly Leung, Francis Jue, Matthew Wilkas to Workshop Paper Dolls for Sundance Institute in NYC
Telly Leung, Francis Jue, Erik Liberman and Matthew Wilkas will take part in a workshop of Paper Dolls, a stage adaptation of Tomer Heymann’s award-winning Israeli documentary film, authored by Sundance Theatre Institute producing artistic director Philip Himberg.

Telly Leung
Telly Leung Photo by Chris Macke

Mark Brokaw (Cry-Baby), who also serves as the artistic director of the Yale Institute for Music Theatre, will direct the May 17-29 private workshop that will have musical direction by Vadim Feichner and artistic guidance from Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife) and Jessica Hagedorn (Dogeaters). Paper Dolls is being developed under the wings of the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab.

Himberg has freely adapted the stage production based on the award-winning documentary film of the same title, which traces a group of Filipino men who spend their days serving as caretakers for Orthodox Jewish men in Israel, while performing as drag queens at night.

In addition to Leung ("Glee," Rent), Jue (Yellowface, Pacific Overtures), Liberman (LoveMusik, A Doll's House) and Wilkas (Last Sunday in June), the cast will include Joan Barber, Yusef Boulov, Ron Domingo, Ben Graney, Lauren Klein, Orville Mendoza, Jon Rua and Ariel Shafir.

Here's how Sundance bills the play: "Paper Dolls tells the unusual story of five Filipino male nurses who emigrate from Manila to Tel Aviv in 2001. During the day they are private caretakers to orthodox and Chasidic men in the ultra-conservative neighborhood of B'nei Brak, and at night part of a homespun drag queen group, 'The Paper Dolls.' Adapted from Tomer Heymann’s award-winning Israeli documentary, Paper Dolls looks at these strangers in a strange land, their unique ability to create family far from home and the surprising melding of diverse cultures. The play’s protagonist, a documentary filmmaker, first regards these colorful men as great material for his next movie, but over the course of time, his relationship with them changes his perception of his country, his society and himself."

"When I first happened upon the film at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2006, I was deeply moved by a world I had never seen, and immediately felt the theatricality of the story," Himberg said in a statement. "After spending time in Israel with the filmmaker and in London meeting the principal subjects of the documentary, Sundance Institute secured an option to adapt and develop the documentary film into a play. It was my passion for the material that inspired me to write the piece." Visit

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