Like so many great mysteries, it all began in an attic with a dusty old suitcase… The discovery of a stash of over two hundred letters in three languages opens clues to an untold history in The Lucky Star—a gripping true story of resilience and determination, a family is torn apart by war, fighting to immigrate, escape, and survive. With scenes alternating between past and present, this mesmerizing, uplifting, and at times irreverent drama brings Richard Hollander’s book, Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland to the stage, restoring a family’s uncharted legacy.

The Lucky Star has had two critically acclaimed, sold-out runs under the title The Book of Joseph at the Everyman Theatre in Baltimore and at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which first commissioned the play.

The New York premiere at 59E59 stars Steven Skybell, beloved for his portrayal of Teyve in the recent acclaimed production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, as Richard Hollander a renowned Baltimore journalist. When Hollander was cleaning out his parents’ house he discovered hundreds of letters and postcards sent to his father, Joseph, played by Danny Gavigan. These letters unearthed incredible correspondence between loving family members chronicling the harsh realities of German occupation and the ongoing challenges of the war.

Using the text of the letters, Hollander pieced together a rich history of Polish Jews and more importantly a biography of his father and family members in his book.

Working with Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater, they commissioned award-winning playwright and author Karen Hartman to adapt the book for the stage.

Noah Himmelstein joined the team as director for its critically-acclaimed and sold-out run in Baltimore, Maryland at Everyman Theatre. He subsequently brought the project to Val Day, Artistic Director of 59E59 Theaters, where it is presently being produced by Douglas Denoff and the Directors Company as part of their inaugural VOLT Festival. VOLT is an unprecedented festival of three New York City premieres by one underrepresented writer. In its inaugural year, 59E59 Theaters has selected local playwright Hartman as the focus of the festival.

Recognizable faces in the cast include Orange Is the New Black’s Dale Soules as Berta/Arnold and Kimberly Akimbo’s Skye Alissa Friedman as Genka. Additional cast members are Nina Hellman (Greater Clements) as Mania, Eva Kaminsky (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) as Klara/Felicia, Alexa Shae Niziak (Matilda) as Luisa, Mike Shapiro as Salo, Alexandra Silber (Indecent) as Dola/Vita, and Sky Smith (“The Blacklist”) as Craig.

The Lucky Star begins previews on April 26, 2022, at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, NYC) for a run through June 12, 2022. The performance schedule is as follows: Tuesday – Saturday at 7:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday at 2:00 pm.

Tickets to The Lucky Star begin at $25 and are on sale now at  Discounts for groups of 10+ are available at or by calling 212-265-8500.

New York Jewish Guide


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