Based on the award-winning picture book by Elsa Okon Rael, When Zaydeh Danced on Eldridge Street, starring Jordan Charney (Ghostbusters, Hill Street Blues) as Zaydeh, is a family musical that tells the story of Zeesie (starring Annabelle Wachtel) — a bright, inquisitive girl on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1935 — and what surprises await her and her very stern grandfather on Simchat Torah when they go to shul together while Mama is giving birth to a son.

Also featuring Joanne HalevJacob Harran, Scott Harrison, and Samantha Helmstetter. Click here to watch a preview for the performance.

This concert reading of the new musical by Rael, Shellen Lubin, and Matthew Gandolfo will include a talkback with Lubin, Gandolfo, and a few of the actors after the Friday noon performance.

Performances and Tickets

  • Thursday, November 17 at 12:00 p.m. — Invited Dress Rehearsal (Open to the public)
  • Thursday, November 17 at 7:00 p.m. — Benefit for The Zeesie Project and the Museum of Jewish Heritage (In Person and Livestream)
  • Friday, November 18 at 12:00 p.m. (In Person with a talkback with Lubin, Gandolfo, and a few of the actors)
  • Sunday, November 20 at 2:00 p.m. (In Person and Livestream)

Members receive $10 off the in person performance on Thursday, November 17 (tickets are $18, $36, and $54) and $5 off all other performances and livestreams (tickets are $10). Seniors (65+) and students receive $5 off to the livestreams and in person performances on Friday, November 18 and Sunday, November 20.

When Zaydeh Danced on Eldridge Street is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, regrant program supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by LMCC.

Pictures used by permission of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Doors open thirty minutes before each performance. This program is a live-only event and will not be recorded.

Jordan Charney (Zaydeh) has been a forceful presence in the world of entertainment for over half a century as a performer, writer, director, and teacher. His performing career began in the early days of live television, blossomed in the groundbreaking revolutionizing 60s theater group, The Open Theater, and continued in appearances in hit movies such as Ghost Busters and Network and tv shows Three’s Company and Law and Order. Mr. Charney has taught master classes throughout the country for students of theater, opera, and musical theater and now spreads his talents and expertise to the business and legal worlds, with his private and group workshops.
Annabelle Wachtel (Zeesie) is an actor, singer, and writer who started performing at the age of nine in the National Tour of Annie. She made her Broadway debut a year later in the musical “School of Rock”. Her most recent theater credits include the Off-Broadway musical “The Bedwetter” based on the book by Sarah Silverman. She appeared as a guest star on the hit CBS TV show “Bull,” starred in the short film “Sunday with Monica,” and was featured in the forthcoming Hulu series “Up Here”. Wachtel is also a prolific writer of songs, poems, and short stories.
Shellen Lubin (lyrics, director) had two of her songs featured in Milos Forman’s first American film, Taking Off, as well as on cable tv, radio, and many cabaret acts, including her own. Her plays and musicals have been produced and workshopped at Manhattan Class Company, Public Theatre, Here Arts Center, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Pacific Resident Theatre, Hubbard Hall, and the American Jewish Theatre, among others.
Matthew Gandolfo (music, musical direction) orchestrated and wrote additional music for Shellen Lubin’s Between Pretty Places (Here Arts Center). As co-founder of Veritas Productions, he has created and licensed theater for young audiences throughout North America. Matthew scored the off-Broadway show Dressingroom(Soho Playhouse), The Audition (Neighborhood Playhouse), The Gameboy (Vital Theater), and Door Opens, Walk Through (13th Street Repertory), and was resident composer for Pax Amicus Castle Theater, where he created scores for and music directed dozens of productions.