Prime Stage Theatre Receives National Endowment for the Arts’ Award 

The grant supports the world premiere stage adaptation of Perseverance which has been adapted from the book Perseverance: A Holocaust Survivor’s Journey from Poland to America.

Prime Stage Theatre has been awarded a $10,000 Grant for Arts Projects from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This grant is one of 1,251 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling nearly $28.8 million that the NEA announced as part of its first round of fiscal year 2023 grants. 

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects in communities nationwide,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “Projects such as this one with Prime Stage Theatre strengthen arts and cultural ecosystems, provide equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, and contribute to the health of our communities and our economy.”

This grant supports the world premiere stage adaptation of Perseverance which has been adapted from the book Perseverance: A Holocaust Survivor’s Journey from Poland to America, co-written by Melvin Goldman and his daughter Lee Goldman Kikel. Told in his own words from audio recordings he made decades later and supplemented with his daughter’s memories of their happy life in Pittsburgh, this is a true story that no reader will ever forget.

“I am honored to have the support of the NEA as we bring this important true story of a local Holocaust survivor who persevered and inspired many people to life on stage. Through this play, he will continue to inspire many others,” said Wayne Brinda, Ed.D., Producing Artist Director of Prime Stage Theatre

Melvin Goldman seemed to be a typical successful American, living with his family in Pittsburgh’s neighborhood of Squirrel Hill. There, he turned his craftsmanship as a jewelry designer into a profitable business and maintained a rosy outlook on life and a generous view of his fellow man. But he had a past where he learned to persevere.

It may seem like a typical story, but it is far from it. In the decade before Mieczyslaw Goldman arrived in the United States in 1950, he saw his home destroyed, his family torn apart, his health ruined, and nearly everyone he had ever known murdered in the death camps of the Third Reich. His survival of the years in the ghetto and Auschwitz, his long and slow recovery, and his attainment of a somewhat normal life is miraculous. Perhaps even more miraculous is his refusal to let his experience destroy his faith in God or his love for humanity.

“Prime Stage Theatre specializes in plays that let audiences see world events through an individual’s eyes and connect with people we might think are totally remote to us. Watching the story of Melvin Goldman and the Goldman family, we realize it’s our story, too,” said playwright L.E. McCulloughwho has written over 150 plays on historical topics but believes his adaptation of Perseverance may be his most important effort yet. 

In April 2023, Prime Stage Theatre in collaboration with the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, will present the world premiere adaptation of Ms. Kikel’s book for the stage. Each year through the power of theatre and partnerships, Prime Stage Theatre and the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh engage the world in education, understanding, and actions against the atrocities of genocide. 

This year’s annual enGAGE production is Perseverance: A Holocaust Survivor’s Journey from Poland to America. There will be two live performances at the New Hazlett Theater, and then streamed locally, nationally, and internationally in May with closed captioning and audio description. 

For more information and tickets, visit our websites at http://www. primestage.com and The Holocaust Center at https://hcofpgh.org/events/

Categories: Feature Stories

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