Professor David Roskies of the Jewish Theological Seminary has written that a little known poem, Masada, by Isaac Lamdan, “more than any other text inspired the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto.” Now, “What’s on Stage Awards” Best Musical Nominee Imagine This will tell the incredible story behind Roskies’ quote when it broadcasts nationally on PBS during Holocaust Remembrance in April. (Please check local listings). KCET is presenting the program nationally and will air a special preview on Sunday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. as part of its spring fundraising drive.
Under the auspices of British director Timothy Sheader, Imagine This opened in the West End at the New London Theatre on November 19, 2008. The musical tells the tale of a group of actors in the Warsaw Ghetto who struggle to keep the dream of freedom and the will to resist alive among the prisoners of the ghetto by performing the epic tale of Masada, the ancient Judean mountain where 2,000 years ago a small band of courageous rebels held 10,000 Roman soldiers at bay. Even as their play merges with the reality they are trying to escape, laughter finds a way to rise above the tears and love manages to transcend the boundaries of the ghetto walls.
In the tradition of Fiddler on the Roof, the musical deals with its sobering subject matter through song and dance. “Imagine This offers a theater director the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Timothy Sheader, director, Imagine This. “Not only does it allow for a truly significant and important story to be brought to the public’s attention, it also offers a unique way to tell a story that otherwise might seem a bit bleak.”
Producer Beth Trachtenberg, in conjunction with experienced public broadcasting distributor Jersey Wooly Productions, submitted the three-camera filmed production of a live performance of Imagine This for the consideration of a number of local PBS stations to be the presenting station. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the decision was made to go with KCET, the flagship Los Angeles PBS station.
“The natural home for Imagine This in the United States is PBS, a network with an ongoing commitment to high-quality unique programming that television audiences can only see on public television,” said Beth Trachtenberg, producer, Imagine This. “Everyone involved with our musical – cast, crew, musicians and creative team alike — believed it deserved a life far beyond the stage.”
Public television channels around the country will begin airing Imagine This during March and April of 2010, some during the March pledge period, others around the Passover holiday at the end of the month and still others in conjunction with Holocaust Remembrance Day which occurs on April 11th. The show will continue to be broadcast by stations throughout 2010.
It is estimated that, in the coming twelve months, four to five million people will have the chance to share the experience of the London audiences: to be moved, entertained and inspired by Imagine This.
Imagine This is produced by Beth Trachtenberg, Anita Mann, Leigh Mason, Jean Mason, FineFish Entertainment, Anita and Hank Schneider, Marlynn Scully and ICW Productions in association with Theatre Royal Plymouth. Funding for the broadcast of Imagine This is in part provided by Alberici Constructors. Imagine This is presented nationally on PBS in association with KCET Los Angeles.
For more information on Imagine This, please visit the official site at http://www.imaginethisthemusical.com or the musicals Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Imagine-This-the-Musical/277686948026?v=wall&ref=ts.