The Axelrod Performing Arts Center (APAC), Moshe Mana and Mana Contemporary join together to present the New Jersey premiere of “Damascus Square,” a new musical inspired by the heroic mission of Israeli spy Eli Cohen. Conceived and co-written by Shai Baitel, a leading expert in Middle Eastern politics, “Damascus Square” retells the story of Cohen’s thrilling espionage mission for the Mossad in Syria in the 1960s, building a brotherly bond with Syrian president Amin Hafez and the price Cohen paid for his unshakeable loyalty to country, family and friend.
“Damascus Square” stars Richard Blake, the current lead in Broadway’s “Jersey Boys” as Eli Cohen, and Broadway veteran Bradley Dean as Amin Hafez along with a cast of New York professional actors as well as local 11-year-old actress Claudia Tawil of Deal, playing Cohen’s daughter.
The musical’s score was composed by Oran Eldor with lyrics written by Sarah Hirsch, also the book’s co-writer. The director is Ohad Ashkenazi, a leading Israeli television and theater director, with shadow art choreography by Adam Battlestein, the founder and creative director of Catapult Entertainment (semi-finalist on season 8 of “America’s Got Talent”); the musical director Dror Baitel; the orchestrator Stephen Feigenbaum; set designer Fred Sorrentino; lighting designer Robert Rutt, and sound designer Gerry Gironda.
Also in the cast are Jacqueline Antaramian (Broadway’s” Soul Doctor,” “Dr. Zhivago,” “Master Class”) as Tamara Sharon, Janine Divita (Broadway’s “Anything Goes,” “Grease,” “Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein”) as Cohen’s wife Nadia, Israeli-American actor Etai Benson (Broadway’s “Wicked”) as Majid El-Ard, Samia Mounts as Jameela, and Jonathan Rayson as Raphael.
Based in a converted tobacco warehouse in Jersey City, Mana Contemporary, the driving force behind “Damascus Square,” is a leading arts destination dedicated to celebrating the creative process. Mana unites artist studios, exhibition spaces, and ancillary services in a single location, facilitating conversation and collaboration among its burgeoning creative community. Through its integrated architectural design, Mana offers exceptional services, spaces, and programming for the greater creative community.
“Damascus Square” plays three performances only, Monday through Wednesday, August 17-19 at 8 PM at APAC, 100 Grant Ave, Deal, NJ. Tickets are $32 for adults; $28 for seniors and students. To reserve, call 732-531-9100, ext. 142 or visit www.axelrodartscenter.org. The box office at the new Jersey Shore JCC is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 2 pm.