A Shayna Maidel

  • written by Barbara Lebow
  • directed by David Ellenstein
  • scenic design by Stephen Gifford
  • costume design by Elisa Benzoni
  • lighting design by Jared Sayeg
  • sound design by Ian Scot
  • production stage management by Natalie Figaredo
  • Michael Donovan Casting
  • Michael Donovan, CSA
  • Richie Ferris, CSA
Adult Language
Sexual Situations and Themes
Fun for the Whole Family


A Shayna Maidel (which means “a pretty girl” in Yiddish) is a touching memory play about two sisters reconnecting after years of separation and a hopeful story about the resiliency of the human spirit. The play, set in New York City in 1946, explores family, faith, and forgiveness in the pursuit of a better future.

“…anyone who sees it will not soon forget it.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"…a tribute to the sustaining power of family" - New York Times

Run time: Approximately 2 hours, 20 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

To view the program for A Shayna Maidel, click here.

Post-Show Discussions: 
Panel Discussion: Thursday, March 21, following the 2:00 pm show

This matinee performance will be attended by over thirty Holocaust Survivors, who will also be honored by the Playhouse before the performance. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion led by Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director and Director of A Shayna Maidel, David Ellenstein. The panel is comprised of two Holocaust Survivors and Rabbi Richard Steinberg of Congregation Shir Ha-Ma'alot. Through this engaging panel discussion, the play's themes of love, acceptance, embracing culture, and family will be highlighted.

Talkback with the Cast: Thursday, March 28, following the 7:30 pm show

From the Director: Read about the show from the director's perspective.

Samantha Klein
Biography »
Samantha Klein

SAMANTHA (Sami) KLEIN (Mama): LADCC winner last year for If I Forget at Fountain Theatre directed by Jason Alexander. Other theatre credits in LA: Their Eyes Saw Rain, On Emotion, Trip to Bountiful, Into the Woods, Chapter Two, and many more. TV: Numerous including ICarly (Paramount +), Pretty Freekin Scary (Disney +), Physical ( Apple TV), Modern Family, Veronica Mars, You’re the Worst, Masters of Sex, Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything, and many more. BFA from Chapman University. Proud SAG/AFTRA and Equity member. Thanks to family (hi mom!), friends, Sandy, and this incredible cast and crew. sweetsamiklein on IG/Twitter and samiklein.com


Zarah Mahler
Lusia Pechenik
Biography »
Zarah Mahler

ZARAH MAHLER (Lusia) is an actor, musician, and singer/ songwriter, born and raised in LA. Broadway credits: Ruth in Soul Doctor (Circle in the Square), Nessa in Wicked (National Tour). Regional faves: Sally in Cabaret (Drury Lane Chicago), River in Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum), Rent (Hollywood Bowl), etc. TV: Recurring in Major Crimes (TNT), Ghost Whisperer (CBS). Guest starring in The Rookie (ABC), 9-1-1 (FOX). Film: The Wretched, Ramona at Midlife, Nightmare Cinema, Beyond Skyline, etc. Original music, including her debut album Ophidian, is available at iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, etc. For info on future projects (including an upcoming 2024 album release) please follow @zarahmahler on IG. Love and thanks to her incomparable friends, family, reps, and of course R&F.

Eden Malyn
Rose Weiss
Biography »
Eden Malyn
EDEN MALYN (Rose) is happy to be working at the lovely Laguna Playhouse for the first time, and to be telling such a timely and important story. Off Broadway: 53% OF (Second Stage,) Stuffed (The Westside Theatre.) Regional: Sex and Other Disturbances (Portland Stage,) Bad Jews (The English Theatre of Frankfurt/ EST Santa Barbara,) Vanya + Sonia + Masha + Spike(Portland Center Stage,) The Cherry Orchard (Oasis.) Film: The Climb(Cannes, Sundance); Maybe Someday, Deadheads. Limited Series: Halston. TV: Law & Order: SVU; FBI: Most Wanted, NCIS, Living With Yourself, The Good Cop, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orange is the New Black, American Horror Story, Castle, House of Lies, Criminal Minds.


Josh Odsess-Rubin
Duvid Pechenik
Biography »
Josh Odsess-Rubin

JOSH ODSESS-RUBIN (Duvid) is an LA-based actor pleased to be making his Laguna Playhouse debut.  Favorite Theatre: Photograph 51, Sense and Sensibility (South Coast Repertory); Dunsinane (Marin Theatre Co); Nimrod (Theatre of NOTE); Red Herring (Portland Stage); Long Day's Journey into Night, Miss Bennet (American Stage); Animal Crackers, Bad Jews, When the Rain Stops Falling (Cygnet); Imaginary Invalid (A Noise Within); As You Like It (Shakespeare Orange County); Comedy of Errors (Lake Tahoe Shakespeare); My Name is Asher Lev (Ensemble Cincinnati); Richard II (Yale Rep); and two seasons with New Swan Shakespeare.  TV: "This is Us," "Hacks," "Physical."  BA, Yale.  MFA, UC Irvine.  Love to C.

Marnina Schon
Biography »
Marnina Schon

MARNINA SCHON (Hanna) got her start at Berkeley Rep in Tony Kushner’s Brundibar. Other favorite theatre credits include Once (South Coast Rep) and world premieres of Group Therapy, Menstruation: A Period Piece, Anne, and More Guns! (Second City); and workshops at Center Theatre Group, A Noise Within, Geffen Playhouse, and Ojai Playwrights Conference. Marnina stars in Chanshi, an Official 2023 Sundance Episodic Selection, also featuring Henry Winkler. Select film/TV: Unstable (Netflix - upcoming), Dollface (Hulu), Play It By Ear (Dropout), A Man’s World (NoBudge), Bourn Kind (Tribeca). Marnina also co-creates musical comedy with their fiancé and performs at Upright Citizens Brigade.

Joel Swetow
Mordechai Weiss
Biography »
Joel Swetow

JOEL SWETOW (Mordechai) Select Los Angeles Theatre: Antony, Antony and Cleopatra, Theatricum Botanicum); Hamlet, Henry IV (Antaeus Theatre); Les Blancs, The Suppliant Women (Rogue Machine Theatre); At A Noise Within:  Estragon, Waiting for Godot; Scrooge, A Christmas Carol; Malvolio, Twelfth Night; Vershinin, The Three Sisters; Arnolphe, The School For Wives; title roles in Cymbeline, Tartuffe, Merchant of Venice.  Select NYC and Regional Theatre: leads in The Normal Heart, Talley’s Folly, and The Sound of Teeth.  Directed The Cherry Orchard, As You Like It, Miss Witherspoon, The Learned Ladies, among others T.V. & Film: American Horror Stories,Kidding, The Orville, Lucifer, Silicon Valley, Charmed, Alice in Wonderland, Lord of Illusions, among many others. Been heard in reams of animated projects and scads of commercials.  See more at https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0842498/


Press Coverage

  • Thoughts on A Shayna Maidel

    Director David Ellenstein shares his thoughts on A Shayna Maidel on the occasion of his third time directing the play.

Upcoming Shows


Runs April 17 - May 5, 2024

Holmes & Watson

Runs May 29 - June 16, 2024


Runs July 24-August 11, 2024