When Yellow were the Stars on Earth on A Better World

when-yellow-were-the-stars-on-earth-summer-festival-2011From A Better World: Two women in WWII Nazi Germany, a German cabaret singer and Jewish resistance fighter, make the ultimate sacrifice for each other amidst the horrific brutalities of WWII Nazi Holocaust.

Joshua Levitt of The Algemeiner, Managing Editor

joshua-levittIn an electrifying theatrical performance, ‘When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth‘ tells the interlocking stories of a band of Jewish resistance fighters led by a woman in 1943 Berlin, the Nazi SS Captain hunting them down, and his lover, a feisty cabaret singer who lives upstairs from their hideout, and is forced to choose sides.

The play, written and directed by Robert Williams, is framed by the testimonies of Anne and Eva, the now-grown daughters of Miriam, the soulful Jewish resistance fighter, and Klara, the fiery redheaded singer, who present the drama as if they’d pieced it together from historical documents they discovered linking their mothers during the war.

The action is presented with a very cinematic flair, with short scenes, cliff hangers and tension that builds as it reaches a climax, where the resistance fighters, who have information that could save hundreds of Jews, will inevitably have to face the Nazis, who are closing in as time runs out.

What makes this story different from other dramatizations about the Holocaust is that, only in New York City, it seems, could a, descendant of captain in Mussolini’s fascist army, write and direct an emotionally riveting play that ties together these three different narratives. Williams shows the humanity not only in the band of Jewish resistance fighters, a story often retold, but also the pressure faced by the Nazi commanders, as the war turned against them, and, most importantly, profiles the Germans who stood up as righteous gentiles after recognizing the enormity of the Nazi war machine that was slaughtering the Jewish people en masse.

Fittingly, in one of its most gut-wrenching scenes, Wolfgang, the cabaret singer’s brother, a German soldier, who returns home wounded, physically and psychologically, from the Russian front where he admits to his sister that he lost his humanity and felt the death of his soul when forced by his commanding officers to lead the Jews from a village to dig one of the infamous Nazi trenches before lining up for their own deaths by firing squad. The pathos is even deeper – and it’s worth revealing the scene because it was just so powerful – as Wolfgang tells of his childhood friend in the same battalion who cocks his rifle to kill the Jewish children on the trench in front of him, but refuses the order, and he, himself, is shot dead in the temple by his own commander.

In a cast interview with The Algemeiner, Williams said the prologue by the daughters of Miriam and Klara was added, as well as another pivotal scene – also worth revealing – that showed the Jewish resistance fighters, played very believably by non-Jews Luke Bond , Matt McAllister, and Ian Potter, debating the philosophical argument behind their actions, which resonated as true then as it did 70 years later. And not to give the impression that the play is another drawn-out philosophical dialectic, William was successful in also wanting to show the action involved with actually being a resistance fighter, featuring them smuggling guns to prepare for their battle and a real Hollywood-style confrontation that – without revealing what happens – convinced the playwright to begin work on the screenplay adaptation of the story.

The real pathos in the play comes from the scenes where Hilary Walker, who plays Miriam, the leader of the resistance, interacts with her real-life friend, the German actress Gudron Buhler, who plays Klara, the cabaret singer. From the start, Klara’s questioning of Gunter, her SS Captain lover, about rumors she’s heard of Jews being killed for being Jewish, sets the scene for her to play her role as the righteous gentile, but in speaking with Buhler after the performance about her own feelings as the real-life German in the play, indeed, as much as Jews are taught to never forget, the Germans of this third generation since the Holocaust have been taught the same. In her view, the only rationale for the law-abiding German people to have gone along with the final solution during the war is summed up in only one word, “madness.”

Of the other featured players, Ron Nunni playing Gunter, Kazi Tauginas has the Nazi heel-toe march down pat, and shows the Nazi training, never looking his commanding officer in the eye.

The play also received the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” from Elizabeth Bettina, a very knowledgeable member of the audience in last Sunday’s matinee, who wrote the book ‘It Happened in Italy,’ about the righteous gentiles there who also risked their lives to save the Jews living in their midst.

A Roman Catholic who grew up in Jericho, New York, where she considered herself “Jewish by association,” Bettina told The Algemeiner, “The Talmud says if you save a life, you save the world. Since writing the book, what has amazed me most was meeting the grandchildren of the children of the Jews who survived in Italy, and connecting them back to the righteous ones there who had saved them – we actually flew over to meet them. There’s a lesson here about the ‘goodness’ of people who stand up to save even one life, that one life can beget so many more, and I think this play tells that story very powerfully.”

Joshua Levitt

The Algemeiner

Managing Editor

Cora Schwartz

cora schwartzAfter living with a Holocaust survivor for twenty-five years, authoring books about his life, and traveling annually from New York to Mogelov to bring humanitarian aid to the survivors still living there today, one would think I was immune to the horror of it all. That myth was dispelled on Sunday afternoon when I sat in the audience of the never-to-be forgotten play, WHEN YELLOW WERE THE STARS ON EARTH. How did Robert Williams, who wrote, directed in this  superb artistic skill and intensity ? How did he bring such emotion to a person like me who has ‘seen and heard’ it all? Had my late husband, Rudy been there next to me, he would have bent over and whispered, once again, “You see, that guy’s got passion!” And so he does. I will pray that Mr. Williams will fulfill his dream and succeed with writing his film adaptation of this play. On Sunday morning I invited a friend to come with me. He is an older gentleman, and Jewish at that. He refused my invitation. He said, “enough already with the Holocaust!” I say, it is never enough and Mr. Williams is here to prove it.

 

Cora Schwartz author of:
~ Gypsy Tears, Loving a Holocaust Survivor
~ The Forgotten Few
~ I Remember Rudy

www.coraschwartz.com

A Better World – Radio TV Media

mitchell-rabin-bw-200x300[1]When my friend and colleague, David Katzmire, who has been on A Better World Radio & TV numerous times, told me about this theater piece that his friend Robert Williams directed, I did go to West 42nd St. to see it. And I’m glad I did. Painful as it was, it was a very interesting, personal portrayal of a slice of life during Nazi Germany, of personal relationships, including one with an SS officer. Very skillfully written, directed and acted, I felt that this piece should have a much larger audience. The director, Robert Williams, appeared as a guest on A Better World Radio when we were on Progressive Radio Network, and in short, A Better World wanted to support this powerful theatrical experience.

 

We saw it last night. No words. So powerful and hits you where you live and breathe. You’ll remember how God-awful the Holocaust was and the beauty, even there, between humans looking out for one another, their lives at risk. Oh yes, do go see this play, and help to support off Broadway theater.

Mitchell Rabin – Founder of A Better World

Jeff Solis – Producer and managing director at Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre

jeffrey-solis

A taut, well acted little gem of a play by Robert Williams . Get up to see it by all means. It is powerful, suspenseful theatre that also deeply touches the heart. It deals with the underground Jewish Resistance in Nazi held  1940’s Europe and the gradual awakenings to the Nazi atrocities unfolding around her by a celebrated German cabaret singer.

Go and be surprised. This run will certainly not be the end for this play but part of the evening’s excitement is being a witness to development process of this well crafted new work. “Stars” will shine bright as standout in your 2016 theatergoing experience and in your memory.


~ Jeff Solis -Producer and managing director at Broadway’s Vineyard Theatre

David Lotz – Communications Director and Publicity/Marketing Consultant

david-lotz“When Yellow Were The Stars On Earth,” written and directed by Robert Williams . This compelling fictional drama, set in the waning months of Hitler’s Third Reich, explores an overlooked aspect of the horrendous Holocaust – the interactions between a female Jewish resistance fighter and a sympathetic German cabaret singer who stand up against Nazi brutality and make the ultimate sacrifice to fight fascism.
 
We first learn about our heroines through their daughters, who begin searching for their intertwined family histories through German SS archives. The action quickly shifts to Berlin in 1943, where we meet a cabaret singer (“Klara,” beautifully portrayed by Gudrun Buhler), who is having an affair with the head of the local Gestapo. Although Klara is disgusted by the crude and drunken behavior of the Nazis in her nightclub, she is strongly attracted to the handsome, virile Commandant Gunter (authentically acted by Rom Runni, who is hiding his affair from his fellow officers. Klara learns about the Nazi’s atrocities from her brother  a wounded foot soldier who returns from the Russian front. This confirms her feelings about the Nazis and sets up an emotional confrontation with her SS lover in the coming scenes.

Dr. Judy Kuriansky, United Nations NGO representative, journalist

Dr-Judy-KurianskyRiveted. Moved to deep spiritual and emotional places.  Touched to my soul.  That’s how I felt seeing the play When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth. 

     I was also filled with appreciation and admiration for the brilliant writer and director Robert Williams and all the talented actors for their courage in bringing this story to light.
          It’s a story about a cell of courageous Jewish resistance fighters standing up to the Nazis who are trying to maintain their last breath of evil control when facing losing the war. But the metaphors and messages from the play go way beyond, to places each audience member can relate to in their own life.
 
     It’s a story filled with the classic themes of good against evil in the backdrop of a newer theme of two exceptionally strong women protagonists, bonding and going beyond what others might out of honor and love.
     Every moment of the story is compelling.  Every actor is spectacular, convincing and professional as we are drawn into that world, that time and those people.
     Make sure to see this play and bring people you love with you and process what it means to you. Could any one of us have that courage seen on stage?  Could any one of us commit to that level of devotion and love shown in the play?
 
     I stood to my feet clapping at the end in gratitude for the gift by this group putting on this play.
 
~ Dr Judy Kuriansky, United Nations NGO representative, journalist

Audience Feedback to When Yellow Were The Stars On Earth in 2014

yellow-stars-audience-reaction-2014
Listen to the comments in audience feedback recorded just after viewing a 2014 stage performance of “When Yellow Were The Stars On Earth” at the Cabrini Theater in Manahattan.

 

Yellow Stars – Performing January, 2014: When Yellow Were The Stars On Earth

yellow-stars-poster-440x280

WHEN YELLOW WERE THE STARS ON EARTH

YellowStars.org

To order tickets you can go to:

 

A new WWII drama about the Holocaust by Franco Moschetti. The cast of 10 includes: Michele Farbman, Gudrun Buhler, Curtis Nielsen, Kazy Tauginas, Matt McAllister, Marcello Padilla, John Larkin, Brenton Duplessie, Wanda O’Connell, Rhea Ross and Patrick Bakalli as a Light and Sound Designer. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth will be presented at:

Cabrini Repertory Theatre
701 FT Washington Ave
New York, NY, 10040
for 13 performances.

 

One night in Berlin, 1943, during an SS raid, a German Cabaret singer opens her door to save a Jewish Resistance fighter. As the hours unfold, destiny winds their lives more tightly together until there is no turning back. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth tells a story of two rarely written about realities: Jewish female fighters and Germans who died refusing to be part of Nazi machinery. Amidst the atrocities of WWII, these women transcend enemy lines and, in their final moments, make an ultimate sacrifice for love.

 

The tragedy of the Holocaust is written in indelible ink on our past. It has left a deep scar on our history and is profoundly connected to another subject that has little been dealt with; the considerable number of people who died opposing the horrors of the Nazi machine. Most of them are not remembered as heroes and their stories were never known; they’ve just been forgotten, swallowed by time. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth was written out of a personal wish to create an imaginary place in time and space where, for once, a German Jew (Miriam) and a German (Klara) could meet, look at each other beyond the tragedies that linked them during WWII, and express the primal love that is common to all souls.

Press Release – Cabrini Repertory Theatre

THE CABRINI REPERTORY THEATRE

 

PRESENTS

 

WHEN YELLOW WERE THE STARS ON EARTH

 

VISIT: CABRINI REPORTORY THEATER FIND US: DIRECTIONS
A WWII Drama About The Holocaust by Franco Moschetti
January 2014 – 12 Performances

 

Saturday  4 @9  •  Sunday  5 @3
Friday 10 @8:30  •  Saturday 11 @9  •  Sunday 12 @3
Friday 17 @8:30  •  Saturday 18 @9  •  Sunday 19 @3
Friday 24 @8:30  •  Saturday 25 @9  •  Sunday 26 @3

Closing night Saturday February 1 @8:30
One night in Berlin, 1943, during an SS raid, a German Cabaret singer opens her door to save a Jewish Resistance fighter. As the hours unfold, destiny winds their lives more tightly together until there is no turning back. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth tells a story of two rarely written about realities: Jewish female fighters and Germans who died refusing to be part of Nazi machinery. Amidst the atrocities of WWII, these women transcend enemy lines and, in their final moments, make an ultimate sacrifice for love.

 

The tragedy of the Holocaust is written in indelible ink on our past. It has left a deep scar on our history and is profoundly connected to another subject that has little been dealt with; the considerable number of people who died opposing the horrors of the Nazi machine. Most of them are not remembered as heroes and their stories were never known; they’ve just been forgotten, swallowed by time. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth was written out of a personal wish to create an imaginary place in time and space where, for once, a German Jew (Miriam) and a German (Klara) could meet, look at each other beyond the tragedies that linked them during WWII, and express the primal love that is common to all souls.

 

The Cast
Writer/Director: Franco Moschetti
Michele Farbman: Miriam
Gudrun Buhler: Klara
Curtis Nielson: Gunter
John Larkin: Joseph
Matt McAllister: Herman
Marcello Padilla: Hans
Kazy Tauginas: Fritz
Brenton Duplessie: Wolfgang
Wanda O‘Connell: Eva
Rhea Ross: Ann
The Crew

Tech Director and light designer – Patrick Bakalli

 

Franco Moschetti is a playwright and director of theater and film. He is the founder and Artistic Director of The Cabrini Repertory Theater, and creator of the Thespis and Venus/Adonis Theater Festival/Competitions. His recent work includes writing and directing War Is Over, a short film denouncing war, that was screened in Rome, Milan, Ghent, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Ottawa, New York, San Diego and Las Vegas. He also wrote and directed It Was A Girl, a short film that raised awareness about the controversial tragedy of abortion. It was screened at New York Film Academy in New York. In 2012, he directed co-wrote with Michele Farbman That is How I Left (thatishowileft.com), a powerful biographical play staged at the Living Theater to critical acclaim. Franco is currently writing a film adaptation of the play.
Letter from the Writer/Director Franco Moschetti…
It is with great pleasure that I invite you to become familiar with a play I’ve written.
When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth

 

The play takes place in Berlin in 1943 and explores two areas of WWII phenomena that are rarely spoken of. To my knowledge, a play that deals with female Jewish Resistance fighters and Germans who oppose the Nazi Regime enough to die for their beliefs has never been written. The story centers on two such characters, both women.
The Jewish Resistance fighter is a German that risks her life every day to defeat the Nazi machinery responsible for killing so many members of her race, including her husband. The second German woman is a Cabaret singer who, while trapped in a relationship with a brutal SS Captain, sheds secret tears of pain knowing that her fellow countrymen are murdering millions in forest shootings in German-occupied countries, most of them Jews. It would have been a rare moment in time for these two women to meet.
I have been immersed in studying Holocaust phenomena for many years and continue to be deeply pained by the killing of 12 millions people, 6 million of which are Jews. I have collected a large number of documentaries from around the world and many books that report in detail on the long journey of despair that Jewish European citizens endured. It’s no coincidence that my closest friends are Jewish. Although I am Italian and was raised Catholic, my empathy runs so deep that I feel I am a member of the Jewish race. I’ve also thoroughly studied the history of Germany from the beginning of the 20th Century until the 1960s. I and many others have always been startled by how German citizens were completely seduced by Hitler and forced into events created by the Führer and his aids. The question of questions asked so many times before is how could a group of people like the Germans, so refined and evolved, masters in so many fields of art and, above all, lovers of the intimate essence of nature, be drawn into the dark events of WWII?
What many don’t know is that a considerable number of Germans died opposing the horrors of the Nazi machine. They are not remembered as heroes.
My play was written out of a personal wish to create an imaginary place in time when, for once, a German (Klara) and a German Jew (Miriam) could meet, look at each other beyond their ethnic imprint and the tragedy that linked them during WWII, and find the primal love that is common to all souls.
Klara dies under interrogation in an SS station for hiding and not revealing the whereabouts of Miriam, the resistance fighter she sheltered in her apartment for just a few hours. Miriam, in turn, dies while attempting to liberate Klara from the grip of the SS that tortured and killed her. By the end of the play, it is apparent that the good and heroic nature of the German tradition is at its best in these two women, who would rather lose their lives than be party to the Nazi regime. A transcendent heroism is equally alive in both, who are ready to love one of their “enemies” and die knowing that to attempt to save them is equal to a suicide verdict.

 

FOR PRESS AND INDUSTRY COMPS – Contact: cabrinireptheater@gmail.com

 

PERFORMANCES: 2016

later-poster-website-sept-10

THESPIS NEW YORK PRODUCTIONS
Presents
WHEN YELLOW
WERE THE STARS ON EARTH

21

Performances

To Purchase tickets use the link below
SPECIAL $25 TICKETS! USE CODE ‘TIXDEAL’
http://tix.smarttix.com/Modules/Sales/SalesMainTabsPage.aspx?ControlState=1&SalesEventId=5953&DC=

 

A new WWII drama about the Holocaust by Robert Williams. The cast of 7 includes, Gudrun Buhler,  Hilary Walker, Ron Nummi, Kazy Tauginas, Matt McAllister, Luke Bond, Jan Potter.
 
When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth will play at the:
Hudson Guild Theatre
441 W 26st
New York, NY, 10001 for 14 performances.

DIRECTIONS
September 2 / 8:30pm
September 3 / 8:30pm
September  4 / @ 1:00pm
September  15 / @ 8:30pm
September  16 / @ 6:00pm
September 17 / @ 8:30pm
September 18 / @ 1:00pm
September  19 / @ 8:30pm
September  21 / @ 8:30pm
September  22 / @ 8:30pm
September 23 / @ 8:30pm
September 24 / @ 1:00pm
September 24 / @ 8:30pm
September 25 / @ 1:00pm
September 30 / @ 8:30pm
October 1 / @ 8:30pm
October 2 / 1:00pm
October 7 / @ 8:30pm
October 8 / @ 8:30pm
October 9 / @ 1:00pm
October 10 / @ 8:30pm
To order tickets you can go to
SPECIAL $25 TICKETS! USE CODE ‘TIXDEAL’
One night in Berlin, 1943, during an SS raid, a German Cabaret singer opens her door to save a Jewish Resistance fighter. As the hours unfold, destiny winds their lives more tightly together until there is no turning back. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth tells a story of two rarely written about realities: Jewish female fighters and Germans who died refusing to be part of Nazi machinery. Amidst the atrocities of WWII, these women transcend enemy lines and, in their final moments, make an ultimate heroic sacrifice.

 

The tragedy of the Holocaust is written in indelible ink on our past. It has left a deep scar on our history and is profoundly connected to another subject that has little been dealt with; the considerable number of people who died opposing the horrors of the Nazi machine. Most of them are not remembered as heroes and their stories were never known; they‘ve just been forgotten, swallowed by time. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth was written out of a personal wish to create an imaginary place in time and space where, for once, a German Jew (Miriam) and a German (Klara) could meet, look at each other beyond the tragedies that linked them during WWII, and express the primal love that is common to all souls.

 

Press Release –

 

 WHEN YELLOW WERE THE STARS ON EARTH

A WWII Drama About The Holocaust by Robert Williams
at the:
 
Hudson Guild Theater
441 West 26 Street
(between 9th and 10th Avenues)
New York, NY 10001
 
To order tickets you can go to
SPECIAL $25 TICKETS! USE CODE ‘TIXDEAL’

~

One night in Berlin, 1943, during an SS raid, a German Cabaret singer opens her door to save a Jewish Resistance fighter. As the hours unfold, destiny winds their lives more tightly together until there is no turning back. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth tells a story of two rarely written about realities: Jewish female fighters and Germans who died refusing to be part of Nazi machinery. Amidst the atrocities of WWII, these women transcend enemy lines and, in their final moments, make an ultimate heroic sacrifice.

 

The tragedy of the Holocaust is written in indelible ink on our past. It has left a deep scar on our history and is profoundly connected to another subject that has little been dealt with; the considerable number of people who died opposing the horrors of the Nazi machine. Most of them are not remembered as heroes and their stories were never known; they‘ve just been forgotten, swallowed by time. When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth was written out of a personal wish to create an imaginary place in time and space where, for once, a German Jew (Miriam) and a German (Klara) could meet, look at each other beyond the tragedies that linked them during WWII, and express the primal love that is common to all souls.
…::: The Cast :::…
Robert Williams – Director
Hilary Walker – Miriam
Gudrun Buhler – Klara
Ron Runni – Gunter
Kazy Tauginas – Fritz
Ian Potter – Joseph
Matt McAllister – Herman
Luke Bond – Hans

 

Robert Williams is a playwright and director of theater and film. His recent work includes writing and directing War Is Over, a short film denouncing war, that was screened in Rome, Milan, Ghent, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Ottawa, New York, San Diego and Las Vegas. He also wrote and directed It Was A Girl, a short film that raised awareness about the controversial tragedy of abortion. It was screened at New York Film Academy in New York. In 2012, he directed co-wrote with Michele Farbman That is How I Left (ThatIsHowILeft.com), a powerful biographical play staged at the Living Theater. Robert is currently writing a film adaptation of When Yellow Were the Stars On Earth.
Letter from the Writer/Director Robert Williams…
 
It is with great pleasure that I invite you to get to know a play I‘ve written.
When Yellow Were the Stars on Earth

 

The play takes place in Berlin in 1943 and explores two areas of WWII phenomena that are rarely spoken of. To my knowledge, a play that deals with female Jewish Resistance fighters and Germans who oppose the Nazi Regime enough to die for their beliefs has never been written. The story centers on two such characters, both women.

 

The Jewish Resistance fighter is a German that risks her life every day to defeat the Nazi machinery responsible for killing so many members of her race, including her husband and the second German woman is a Cabaret singer who, while trapped in a relationship with a brutal SS Captain, sheds secret tears of pain knowing that her fellow countrymen are murdering millions in Forests shootings in Germany occupied countries, most of them Jews. It would have been a rare moment in time for these two women to meet.

 

I have been immersed in studying Holocaust phenomena for many years and continue to be deeply pained by the killing of 12 millions people of which 6 million Jews. I have collected a large number of documentaries from around the world and many books that report in detail on the long journey of despair that Jewish European citizens endured. It‘s no coincidence that my closest friends are Jewish. Although I am Italian and was raised Catholic, my empathy runs so deep that I feel I am a member of the Jewish race. I‘ve also thoroughly studied the history of Germany from the beginning of the 20th Century until the 1960s. I and many others have always been startled by how German citizens were completely seduced by Hitler and forced into events created by the Führer and his fellow aids. The question of questions asked so many times before is how could a group of people like the Germans, so refined and evolved, masters in so many fields of art and, above all, lovers of the intimate essence of nature, be drawn into the dark events of WWII?

 

What many don‘t know is that a considerable number of Germans died opposing the horrors of the Nazi machine. They are not remembered as heroes.

 

My play was written out of a personal wish to create an imaginary place in time when, for once, a German (Klara) and a German Jew (Miriam) could meet, look at each other beyond their ethnic imprint and the tragedy that linked them during WWII, and find the primal love that is common to all souls.

 

Klara dies under interrogation in an SS station for hiding and not revealing the whereabouts of Miriam, the resistance fighter she sheltered in her apartment for just a few hours. Miriam, in turn, dies while attempting to liberate Klara from the grip of the SS that tortured and killed her. By the end of the play, it is apparent that the good and heroic nature of the German tradition is at its best in Klara and Miriam who would rather lose her life than be party to the Nazi regime, and the transcendent heroism is equally alive in both, whom are ready to love one of their “enemies” and die knowing that to attempt to save them is equal to a suicide verdict.

 

FOR PRESS AND INDUSTRY COMPS – Contact: whenyeallowwerethestarsonearth@gmail.com