Laguna Playhouse presents A Shayna Maidel limited engagement beginning March 13

Laguna Playhouse presents A Shayna Maidel, written by Barbara Lebow and directed by Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director David Ellenstein. A Shayna Maidel will begin previews on Wednesday, March 13 (with a press opening on Sunday, March 17 at 5:30 p.m.) and run through Sunday, March 31 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road.

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.

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Courtesy of Laguna Playhouse

“A Shayna Maidel” runs from March 13-31

Director David Ellenstein reflected, “When I first directed A Shayna Maidel in 1990, it proved to be a moving and profound experience for me, not only as a theater artist, but as a human being. Though set against the backdrop of the Holocaust, it was the story of one family’s courage and strength in dealing with profound tragedy. The beauty and inherent power in the play was felt by all who worked on it and all who attended. The production helped to shape my concept of what great theater can do; how it can affect not only the audience but the artists that work to bring it life. It helped to set my course going forward as a theater artist. In 2009, I chose to revisit the play again, and directed a production at North Coast Repertory Theatre. Once again, the play had an impact and effect upon all who experienced it.

 “And so here, in 2024, Laguna Playhouse has chosen to bring this beautiful and important play to the stage once again. Its intriguing story and timeless message of resiliency and hope resonates as truly and purely as when I first encountered it. It is with great excitement that I approach the work for a third time, knowing once again that I will find a life affirming experience awaiting me. Theater has power to make our world a better place. A Shayna Maidel is a great example of theater embracing what it is to be a human being and lifting it to the special optic of the stage for us all to experience together.”

David Ellenstein (Director). In May 2023, Ellenstein was named artistic director of Laguna Playhouse, after filling the role in an interim capacity since September 2023. In addition, he has been the artistic director of North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, Calif. since 2003.

Barbara Lebow (Playwright). Lebow is a Santa Barbara resident who grew up in New York, moved to Atlanta in the 1960s, and joined Academy Theatre’s developmental workshop, eventually becoming playwright in residence. A Shayna Maidel was among her first productions.

The cast of A Shayna Maidel features Samantha Klein, Zarah Mahler, Eden Malyn, Josh Odsess-Rubin, Marnina Schon and Joel Swetow.

The design team for A Shayna Maidel includes: scenic design by Stephen Gifford; lighting design by Jared A. Sayeg; sound design by Ian Scot; costume, hair and wig design by Elisa Benzoni; props design by Kevin Williams and the dialect coach is Jana Mazurkiewicz. Casting is by Michael Donovan Casting, Michael Donovan, CSA and Richie Ferris, CSA. The Production Stage Manager is Natalie Figaredo.

A Shayna Maidel will preview on Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, March 14 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. (with a press opening on Sunday, March 17 at 5:30 p.m.) and runs through Sunday, March 31.

Performances will be Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. There will be added performances on Thursday, March 21 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. There will be no performance on Sunday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $45-$84 and can be purchased online at, or by calling 949.497.2787. Group discounts are available by calling 949.497.2787, ext. 229. Prices subject to change.

The box office is open Tuesdays through Sundays: 12-4 p.m.; On Mondays it is open two hours prior to show time and until 15 minutes after curtain. It is open until showtime on all performance days.

For more information on all shows and programming, visit

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