Arts and Culture | Local

New Jewish community theater issues casting call

The Rose Petal Foundation, in cooperation with the Tucson Jewish Community Center, will present a reading of “Under Midwestern Stars” by local playwright Esther Blumenfeld as the first performance of the Jewish Community Theater of Tucson. Auditions will be held on Sunday, Sept. 30 from 2-6 p.m. in the library at the Tucson J. The performance will be on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m., as part of an afternoon of events at the J focused on Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass” that many historians see as the beginning of the Holocaust.

Based on Blumenfeld’s family history, “Under Midwestern Stars” is the story of Jewish immigrants building a new life in the heartland of America. The family is compelled to flee Nazi Germany in 1938. Through chance, providence and the aid of then-Sen. Harry S. Truman, the father, a young rabbi, is able to obtain a scarce visa and accept a call to become the leader of the only Jewish congregation in Springfield, Missouri.

Blumenfeld, who already had seven books and numerous articles to her credit, began writing plays after her husband’s death in 1998. Her first play, “Here and There,” was produced by the Detroit Repertory Theatre in 2003. “Under Midwestern Stars” debuted at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2007, and her third play, “Father’s Ashes,” was chosen for a staged reading at the 2012 Pandora Festival of New Works, presented by the Arizona Women’s Theatre Company in Scottsdale.

“Under Midwestern Stars” includes three lead roles: father, mother, and daughter. Roles are unpaid. For an audition appointment, email Blumenfeld at

Lynn Rae and Buck Lowe established the Rose Petal Foundation to foster community creativity and imagination. The foundation has launched two programs in 2018: the ArtSparks series of community events and the Jewish Community Theater of Tucson.

“The JCT will offer the community a stage where creativity thrives, works of Jewish culture and relevance are performed, and everyone is welcome,” says Lynn Rae Lowe. For more information, contact her at