Writers, Director, and Crew

Sue Zizza

Sue Zizza

Sue Zizza Director / Co-Producer

Sue Zizza has been producing audio drama (Jack's Last Call: Say Goodbye to Kerouac, NATF Live Performances, and many others) for public radio and audiobooks for over 20 years. Her work has been honored with awards including the Audies, International Radio Festival of New York, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (Golden Reel / Silver Reel) , the Gabriels, and the Communicator Awards. Ms. Zizza is a faculty member of the NYU-Tisch Film School specializing in sound design.
Ellen Kushner

Ellen Kushner

Ellen Kushner Playwright


Author, performer and radio personality Ellen Kushner may be best-known to radio audiences as the host of the award-winning public radio series PRI's Sound & Spirit. But she is also an award-winning author, whose first novel, Swordspoint: A Melodrama of Manners, is considered the founder of the "mannerpunk" school of historical fantasy. It was followed by the mythic, lyrical Thomas the Rhymer, winner of the Mythopoeic and World Fantasy Awards. Her most recent novel, The Privilege of the Sword (Locus Award) was praised by Gregory Maguire (Wicked) as "elegant...dazzling," and her short fiction often appears in "Year's Best" collections. In 2011 she co-edited the new young adult anthology "Welcome to Bordertown" with Holly Black (Random House). She has taught writing at Clarion and Odyssey workshops, and in Summer 2011 will be Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University.

Ellen's live spoken word performances include Esther: the Feast of Masks (Gracie Allen Award), and "The Golden Dreydl: a Klezmer 'Nutcracker' for Chanukah" (with Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, also on Rykodisc CD). An expanded version of "The Golden Dreydl" is available as a children's chapter book (Charlesbridge Press), and a full scale theatrical version, with script by Ellen, was produced by New York City's Vital Theater in 2008-2010. Ellen Kushner is a co-founder of the Interstitial Arts Foundation, an organization dedicated to breaking down genre barriers. She lives in New York City, travels a lot, loves addressing large groups, and wishes she were more organized.

See also: www.EllenKushner.com

Elizabeth Schwartz

Elizabeth Schwartz

Elizabeth Schwartz Playwright


Elizabeth Schwartz is regarded as one of today's premiere singers of klezmer and Yiddish music. She regularly performs across North America, Europe and Asia, and has drawn numerous comparisons to both Edith Piaf and the great Romanian singer Maria Tanase. Her first recording "Garden of Yidn" (Naxos World) debuted on Canada's Mundial Top World Music poll and was hailed by Sing Out! Magazine as "a landmark in modern Yiddish song." Her subsequent recordings, "Café Jew Zoo" (Naxos World), "Dveykes (Adhesion" (Global Village) and "Borsht with Bread, Brothers" (ARC UK) have also garnered rave reviews and spots on Top Ten lists. Schwartz is the subject of Romanian auteur Radu Gabrea's documentary, "Romania, Romania: Searching for Schwartz". She has collaborated with luminaries from the klezmer, jazz and world music worlds, including Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi, Alicia Svigals, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Kalman Balogh, Damian Draghici, Salman Ahmad, Samir Chatterjee and Hungarian supergroup Muzsikas.

Schwartz is also an independent filmmaker and writer, having collaborated with her partner and husband Yale Strom on films ranging from the award-winning children's film "The Storyteller" (Cinema Guild) to the documentaries "L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin!" (Cinema Guild) and the jury prize winning "Klezmer on Fish Street" (Castle Hill Films). Upcoming projects include the independent film "Canaries", which she wrote and will co-direct with Strom. A great lover of food, she contributed all the recipes for Yale Strom's book, "A Wandering Feast" (Jossey-Bass). Schwartz is also a former Hollywood executive, heading production and development for companies like Simpson-Bruckheimer films. You can learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, www.voiceofklezmer.com.

Yale Strom

Yale Strom

Yale Strom Playwright and Composer


"An award-winning musician, author, filmmaker and scholar, this maverick does so many things with such great skill and vision that he's in a league of his own." - George Varga - Music Critic of the San Diego Union-Tribune

"Through his art, Strom has brought back his spiritual Klezmer ancestors" - TIME magazine

Yale Strom (violin, composer, filmmaker, writer, photographer, playwright) is a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Rom communities. From more than 2 decades and 75 such research expeditions, Strom has become the world's leading ethnographer-artist of klezmer music and history.

His klezmer research was instrumental in helping form the repertoires of his klezmer band, Hot Pstromi in New York and San Diego. Since Strom's first band began in 1981, he has been composing his own New Jewish music, which combines klezmer with Hasidic nigunim, Rom, jazz, classical, Balkan and Sephardic motifs. These compositions range from quartets to a symphony, which premiered with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He composed original music for the Denver Center production of Tony Kushner's The Dybbuk. He composed all the New Jewish music for the National Public Radio series Fiddlers, Philosophers & Fools: Jewish Short Stories from the Old World to the New, hosted by Leonard Nimoy, as well as numerous film and dance scores. His two newest Jewish "classical" pieces are a string quartet "In The Memory Of..." based upon lost cantorial music Strom found in an abandoned synagogue in Carei, Romania and a solo violin piece "Vaynshl No. 1" which he composed for violin virtuoso Rachel Barton Pine. Strom is also one of the only top composers of Jewish music to carry on the tradition of writing original songs, with Yiddish lyrics, about humanitarian and social issues. His twelve CDs run the gamut of traditional klezmer to "new" Jewish music. His latest CDs are "Borsht with Bread Borthers" (Arc Music) and "Absolute Klezmer Vol. 2" (Transcontinental Music). Strom has performed with many world renowned musicians including Andy Statman, Mark Dresser, Marty Ehrlich, Mark O'Connor, Alicia Svigals, Mike Block, Salman Ahmad, Samir Chattergee et al.

Strom's research has also resulted in photo documentary books, documentary films, as well as CD recordings. He is the author of "The Book of Klezmer: The History, The Music, The Folklore" (2002) a 400 page history with original photos and sheet music gathered by Strom during his sixty-plus ethnographic trips to Central and Eastern Europe. A Wandering Feast: A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe written in collaboration with his wife, Elizabeth Schwartz, is part cookbook, part travelogue (2005). He is also the author of "The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook" (2006). His photo-documentary books for middle-grade and young readers have received rave reviews and his first children's book based upon a true klezmer story "The Wedding That Saved A Town" was published in September 2008 and was chosen as "Best Children's Illustrated Book" by the San Diego Book Association 2009. His latest book is "Dave Tarras: The King of Klezmer" published by Or-Tav Music Publications, the first biography on the "Benny Goodman" of klezmer clarinet.

Strom has directed six award-winning documentary films (At the Crossroads, The Last Klezmer, and Carpati: 50 miles, 50 Years. L'Chaim Comrade Stalin! and Klezmer on Fish Street) and has composed music for countless others. He was the first documentary filmmaker in history to be given his own run at Lincoln Center's prestigious Walter Reade Theatre, where The Last Klezmer broke previous box office records; this record was only exceeded by Carpati's run there. The Last Klezmer was short-listed for an Academy Award, Klezmer on Fish Street won the 2003 Palm Beach International Film festival's Special Jury Selection award. He directed the documentary A Man from Munkacs: Gypsy Klezmer for Hungary's Duna Television, and is production on a documentary film about Eugene Victor Debs.

Strom has lectured extensively throughout the Untied States and Europe and taught at NYU for the 4 years, where he created the course "Artist-Ethnographer Expeditions". He is on the advisory board of the Center for Jewish Creativity, based in Los Angeles. At present he is Artist-in-Residence in the Jewish Studies Program at San Diego State University.

See also: www.yalestrom.com and www.hotpstromi.com


David Shinn

David Shinn

David Shinn Master Engineer


David Shinn (Master Engineer / Mixing / Editing) David is an award winning sound designer/engineer and foley (SFX) artist for stage and studio productions. His work has been recognized by the Audies (4 nominations, one win), The Communicator Awards, Earphone Awards, The International Radio Festival and many others.

From 1998 until 2006 he co-produced the nationally syndicated Radio Works series which was heard on more than 70 stations coast-to-coast.

Since 2006 he has served as the Technical Director for the National Audio Theatre Festivals.



Butch D'Ambrosio

Butch D'Ambrosio Sound Effects Artist


Butch has been writing, producing, and making noise for radio theatre since 1991, when he walked into his college radio station as a freshman on the second day of classes and came out commissioned by WRHU-FM to write Halloween sketches for the production classes. He is a regular member of the SueMedia Sound effects team.

In 2009 he began managing and teaching the “Workshop 101” program for the National Audio Theatre Festivals, for new attendees at the week-long workshop.

His audio play "The Pied Paper Towel Roll Piper of Prestonpans" placed fourth in the NATF's 2003 script contest. He also wrote and appears in the satirical short film "If Spielberg Made A Snuff Film," which has played at over 20 festivals and even won some awards at a few.

Mr. D'Ambrosio is a member of The Usual Gang of Idiots, having written for MAD magazine for 20+ years; nine of them successfully.

When not having one act plays read at local theaters or playing penny stocks, he can be found wondering why we always write these things in the third person



Silvana P

Silvana Pinto

Silvana Pinto Sound Effects Artist


Silvana Pinto graduated from the Music Engineering program at the University of Miami in 2010. She has been playing violin since the age of 4, and always had a passion for sound and its acoustic properties. During college, she devoted a lot of time to recording and mixing in the studio as well as recording live concerts and recitals.  During her Senior year, she was the Chief Recording Engineer for the Recording Services program under the direction of mentor Paul Griffith.  Recommended by the Dean of the Frost School of Music, she tracked and mixed the University of Miami Stamps Quintet’s first album of original compositions.  The album will be mastered and released in the Fall of 2010.



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The Witches of Lublin was originally commissioned by the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, through a generous donation from Arthur and Marilyn Feinberg, and premiered in a live performance version at the 2007 Michigan Festival of Sacred Music.

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