ABOUT ELEANOR REISSA
Eleanor Reissa has a body of work that’s difficult to compartmentalize. She has been called a quadruple threat - director/singer/actor/writer – in two languages, Yiddish and English. She was nominated for a Tony Award for the very first musical she directed on Broadway - which she also choreographed and starred in. As a director she has shepherded new works including THE SCUTLEY PAPERS by Jamie Wax starring Sally Field, and musicals – from THE THREEPENNY OPERA to COWGIRLS, to classics - at the Mint Theater in English and the Folksbiene in Yiddish. She coaches singers and actors, dramaturges new plays, and refreshes abandoned gems. She acts on and off Broadway, most recently in Dan Fishback’s THE MATERIAL WORLD, directed by Stephen Brackett, where she played a hundred year old revolutionary. She is an award winning playwright, and a recipient of numerous fellowships and commissions. Her latest commission is the libretto for the much anticipated opera, TAIBELE AND HER DEMON, based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short story, for the innovative Gotham Chamber Opera with composer Judd Greenstein. Ms. Reissa is slated to direct. And this summer, an anthology of her plays - THE LAST SURVIVOR AND OTHER MODERN JEWISH PLAYS - is being published.
In music and theatre she has been on the forefront of keeping Yiddish alive and vibrating - from Tony Kushner’s invitation to read WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE in Yiddish at the star studded Celebration for Maurice Sendak, to revitalizing Yiddish theatre in NYC when she was artistic director of the Folksbiene. A Brooklyn-born daughter of Holocaust survivors, The New York Times said that Eleanor’s work as a “leading singer of Yiddish songs is a tribute to her family’s resilience.” These days she collaborates with exciting new bands as well as solo concerts. The Los Angeles Times called her “A terrific stage presence with a sure sense of storytelling through song and dance, she has made Yiddish her mission. Sometimes she translated, often she didn’t -- there was no need.”
In discovering and presenting the gems of Jewish culture, she has become one of its most precious ones!
Celebration of Maurice Sendak at 92nd Street Y
"WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE"
DIRECTING NOMINATIONS AND AWARDS
THOSE WERE THE DAYS
Tony Nomination for Best Direction of a Musical
Drama Desk Nomination for Best Revival
Israel Theatre Prize Nomination for Best Musical
WRITING COMMISSIONS AND AWARDS
TAIBELE AND HER DEMON
Libretto Commission for Gotham Chamber Opera, NYC
Neal Goren, Artistic Director
YIDL MITN FIDL
Commission to adapt film to stage musical for Yiddishpiel, Tel Aviv
Commission to adapt book/music/lyrics for
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, NYC
THE LAST SURVIVOR
New Voices Series, Intiman Theatre, Seattle
New Voice Festival, Williamstown Theatre, MA
Octoberfest, Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC
Winner of the Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition
THE LAST DINOSAUR
Finalist at the Actor's Theatre of Louisville and Heidman Award.
FELLOWSHIPS & GUEST ARTIST OPPORTUNITIES
Christian A. Johnson Chair at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
(Director/Chor. – THREEPENNY OPERA)
National Yiddish Book Center Translation Fellow
BOGLIASCO FOUNDATION OF ARTS AND LETTERS
Playwriting Fellow – Liguria/Genoa, Italy
AMERICAN ACADEMY IN ROME
The Yiddish Book Center interview
with Eleanor Reissa by Seth Rogovoy.