Now Playing

Extended! Now playing through December 16

A powerful and poignant drama about two sisters trying to reconnect after years of separation brought on by the rise of the Nazis.

In New York City in 1946, a daughter and her father, Rose and Mordechai Weiss, have adapted to life as new Americans after escaping Poland before World War II. In their escape, they were forced to leave behind Rose’s sister Lusia and her mother. When Rose and Lusia are reunited, Rose tries to engage with an older sister who, having survived the horrors of war overseas, now seems a stranger. And Lusia—haunted by vivid memories of her past—struggles to connect with a family she barely knows. A Shayna Maidel explores family, faith, and forgiveness inthe pursuit of a better future.

Written in 1984, A SHAYNA MAIDEL was widely produced by America’s leading regional theaters and became a long-running success Off Broadway from 1987 to 1989. The New York Times called the play “a tribute to the sustaining power of family,” the Hartford Journal Inquirer hailed it as “an emotional powerhouse,” and the Atlanta Constitution raved that “anyone who sees it will not soon forget it.” The Chicago Reader underscored the play’s fit with TimeLine’s mission, describing it in a 2002 review as “history as intimate as a snapshot.”

Runs approximately 2 hours 20 minutes, including one intermission

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Cast

Production Team

Understudies

* Member of Actors Equity Association

# Member of United Scenic Artists

~ Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

+ TimeLine Company Member

^ TimeLine Associate Artist

§ TimeLine Playwrights Collective

Reviews

  • Chicago Tribune

    August 30, 2018

    ★★★★. “A neglected play from the 1980s that truly is much richer than I, for one, had ever realizedBeautifully detailed and exquisitely acted … that clear-eyed honesty lies this potent show’s ability to broaden its impact beyond its own specifics. You might be watching a story about a trio of Jewish immigrants in New York in 1946, with all the attendant themes of pride and assimilation, honoring the past and moving forward to the present, but you cannot help but think of the common problems faced by all immigrants, all refugees. You can’t avoid your head filling with the suffocating inequality of disruption — how some of us get to live our lives with mistakes for which we mostly can blame ourselves, and yet how others must withstand the most destructive of external disruptions.”

    —Chris Jones

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  • Chicago Sun-Times

    August 30, 2018

    ★★★★. “Transcendent … Connections between family members and between the past and the present define A Shayna Maidel. It’s filled with tragedy, but it is also a story of survival and strength.

    —Catey Sullivan

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  • CBS 2

    August 31, 2018

    ★★★★. “A really moving a beautiful play … As a whole this very fine show reminds us of the plights of immigrants and refugees, but also how ordinary families can be upended by events out of their control.”

    —Chris Jones

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  • Newcity

    September 2, 2018

    RECOMMENDED. “A richly complex journey. The play poses so many questions: How do we love people through their trauma? When the people around us can’t understand where we’ve been and where we are, how do we hold our trauma alone? … This is absolutely the sort of work that we need to champion.

    —Erin Shea Brady

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  • The Hawk Chicago

    September 5, 2018

    ★★★★. “So incredibly relevant and resonant: the first must-see of the fall theatre season. … You’ll leave hearing the echoes of your ancestors and questioning the significance of where, with whom, and with what resources one is raised. You’ll leave asking yourself what’s most important to you, what you would save and hold on to if the world around you ever crumbled. It’s, as the best productions are, an experience with lasting effects.

    —Emily Schmidt

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  • Broadway World

    September 1, 2018

    “A beautiful, haunting, and necessary theater experience … A Shayna Maidel has a freshness and immediacy that had me on the edge of my seat.

    —Rachel Weinberg

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  • PerformInk

    September 5, 2018

    Gorgeous and heartfelt A Shayna Maidel displays many challenging and painful moments and harsh truths from the recent past, but ultimately shows the resilient power of family and love.”

    —Elizabeth Ellis

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  • Daily Herald

    August 31, 2018

    ★★★. “Beautifully performed … [Vanessa] Stalling’s production is a careful, yet emotionally charged one, free from false sentiment.”

    —Barbara Vitello

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  • Chicago On Stage

    August 30, 2018

    ★★★★. “Because TimeLine’s audience is within a few feet of the actors, we are placed right in the room with them, letting us share in their joys and pains. … This provocative play serves as a reminder and a warning, and seems more timely now than ever.

    —Karen Topham

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  • Chicago Theater Beat

    September 1, 2018

    ★★★½. “A Shayna Maidel is a story of the Holocaust, immigration and survival, but most of all it’s a story of sisters. … As A Shayna Maidel progresses and the sisters learn to live with – and love – one another as adults, the viewing experience becomes infinitely rewarding.

    —Lauren Emily Whalen

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  • Chicago Theatre Reviews

    September 1, 2018

    The story truly springs from the page with breath and tears … [Vanessa] Stalling has infused her presentation with life, authentic humanity and unpretentious sensitivity. It’s impossible not to become engaged in this brilliant production without finding empathy with every character. That’s the gift that Ms. Stalling brings to theatergoers: she brings Barbara Lebow’s impressive, inspirational play to Chicago, and makes it feel timely and brand new once again.”

    —Colin Douglas

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  • Stage and Cinema

    August 30, 2018

    “Sensitively staged by Vanessa Stalling for TimeLine Theatre, and galvanized by an indelibly committed six-member ensemble, A Shayna Maidel delivers a harrowing litany of loss. Still, there’s enough hope to leaven so much suggested sorrow.

    —Lawrence Bommer

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  • The Fourth Walsh

    September 5, 2018

    “[Barbara] Lebow’s story pieces together the past and the present. The Weiss family searches for understanding, forgiveness and love in the aftermath of a genocide. Although the Holocaust is ever-present… this play is about what happened to a pretty girl. And her story is powerful. A Shayna Maidel is like sitting in the living room of an estranged family and watching as they learn how to be a family again.”

    —Katy Walsh

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  • Windy City Times

    September 5, 2018

    A Shayna Maidel, first produced in the mid-1980s, is among the most successful of the many plays about those who survived or avoided The Holocaust. … The look is splendid. In short, the production has the integrity we’ve come to expect from TimeLine.

    —Jonathan Abarbanel

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  • Chicago Reader

    September 5, 2018

    A Shayna Maidel is almost necessarily compelling … There are two kinds of Holocaust narrative, after all: the kind, like Shoah, that sticks to the monstrous facts, and the kind, like Schindler’s List, that’s committed to redemption. A Shayna Maidel is out for redemption.

    —Tony Adler

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  • Chicagoland Theater Reviews

    August 31, 2018

    ★★★½. “[A Shayna Maidel] triumphs as an intimate and absorbing family drama … Its success is easily understood.

    —Dan Zeff

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  • Third Coast Review

    August 31, 2018

    “Skillfully directed by Vanessa Stalling, with careful attention to the present turmoils and wrenching memories of the main characters. … There are many sweet and tender moments in A Shayna Maidel, along with sad and painful memories.”

    —Nancy Bishop

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  • Picture This Post

    August 30, 2018

    RECOMMENDED. “This production is about intense emotions erupting in intimate spaces. … Anyone seeking a play in which sensitive women grapple with major issues will find substance in Rose and Lusia’s emerging relationship.”

    —Susan Lieberman

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Features

  • Daily Herald

    August 17, 2018

    Barbara Vitello sat down with A Shayna Maidel actor Charles Stransky for this Daily Herald feature on Chuck’s Chicago upbringing, his long career, and what makes this the perfect moment for a play about family.

    —Barbara Vitello

    Read the full feature

Discussions & Events

  • Opening Night Celebration: A SHAYNA MAIDEL
    Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 7:30pm

    Opening Night for this fresh take on a classic, the first production of our 2018-19 Season.

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  • A SHAYNA MAIDEL: Company Member Discussion
    Sunday, September 23

    Join us for an informal chat with TimeLine’s Company Members after today’s performance.

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  • A SHAYNA MAIDEL: A Conversation with Barbara Lebow
    Sunday, September 30 from 4:30 - 5:30pm

    A special post-show discussion, featuring A SHAYNA MAIDEL playwright Barbara Lebow.

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  • A SHAYNA MAIDEL: PRE-Show Discussion
    Various dates

    Join us for an informal sneak peek into A SHAYNA MAIDEL with members of the production team.

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  • A SHAYNA MAIDEL: Sunday Scholars Series
    Sunday, October 7

    This one-hour post-show panel discussion features experts on the themes of the play.

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  • A SHAYNA MAIDEL: Post-Show Discussion
    Various dates

    Join us for informal post-show discussions with members of the production team and cast.

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  • Play Reading :: GO SAVE YOUR LIFE
    Monday, October 29 at 7:00 pm

    A staged reading of GO SAVE YOUR LIFE, in partnership with the Rohingya Cultural Center.

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  • Open Captioned Performances of A SHAYNA MAIDEL
    Various Dates

    Featuring a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance.

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  • A SHAYNA MAIDEL Closing Night
    Sunday, December 16

    Closing night for the first production in TimeLine’s 2018-19 season.

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