“Damascus Square” inspired by the story of Eli Cohen, Has Successful Reading

The Old Vic Tunnels, the sister theater company to The Old Vic, whose Artistic Director is Kevin Spacey, has expressed interest in staging the new musical “Damascus Square” during its 2012 calendar. The Old Vic Tunnels’ Artistic Director Hamish Jenkinson will be the Co-Producer.

In other news, the first reading of “Damascus Square,” directed by Austin Regan, took place this week on Monday, June 25th, at the Metropolitan Room in Chelsea.

Notable theatre professionals in attendance at the reading included such theatre royalty as Simon Hammerstein and Scott Schwartz, as well as major theatre players such as playwrights Itamar Moses and Kathleen Clark; producers such as multi Tony Award-winner Richard Frankel, Jane Bergere and Melissa Pinsly; music directors Brad Haak and Alex Rybeck, and Philip Hinberg, Artistic Director of Sundance Institute Theatre Program, as well as theatrical agent Susan Gurman. Nouriel Roubini also took the time to attend in the middle of a rainy day.

“Damascus Square” is inspired by the story of Eli Cohen, the famous Israeli spy who worked for the Mossad in Syria in the 1950s and 1960s. It asks to whom we owe our loyalty – our country, our family, or ourselves.

Shai Baitel has conceived and co-written together with Oran Eldor and Sarah Hirsch the book, lyrics and music. The first reading starred Tovah Feldshuh, Bradley Dean, Janine DiVita, Adam Overett, Etai BenShlomo, and Robert Stearns, and featured videos by Guy Romem, Art Director at Studio-Insight.

About Shai Baitel

Shai Baitel is an expert in Middle Eastern politics and international affairs, whose articles have appeared in Forbes, Forbes (Israel), New York Daily News, Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, and he is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.. He served at the United Nations and at the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s Department of International Agreements and International Litigation in legal positions, and he is a Fellow in the Program on Applied Decision Analysis at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya
Mr. Baitel holds an LL.M in International Law and is a member of the International Law Journal. He graduated from Tel Aviv University with honors, earning a degree in Law and Modern History of the Middle East. This is Shai’s first credit as a playwright.


About Oran Eldor

The Composer of Sesame Street (Israel) and off Broadway shows (Snapsopts, Mapquest), Mr. Eldor has arranged and orchestrated concerts for Kristin Chenoweth, Deborah Voigt, Bette Midler, James Taylor, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Angela Lansbury, and Bernadette Peters. He has also co-orchestrated The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

About Sarah Hirsch

Sarah Hirsch – A librettist/composer, Ms. Hirsch holds a B.A. in music from Yale University, where she won the Stanton Wheeler Award for the Arts and the Shen Prize in Musical Theatre Composition. She has an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. Her musical “Usher,” co-written with Molly Fox, was named “Outstanding Musical” at the 2010 New York International Fringe Festival. Several of her musicals received staged readings at Yale, and two of her children’s musicals were published by Heuer Publishing Company in Iowa.