A SAMUEL FRENCH, INC. TITLE

The Lucky Star

Full-Length Play, Drama  /  5w, 4m

Like so many great mysteries, it all began in an attic with a dusty old suitcase... The Lucky Star is a gripping true story of resilience and truth-tracking determination, based on Richard Hollander’s book Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5w, 4m
  • Duration
    Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Docudrama/Historic
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult

Details

Summary

The discovery of a stash of letters stamped with swastikas opens clues to an untold family history spanning multiple generations in The Lucky Star – the gripping true story of resilience and truth-tracking determination spanning Baltimore and beyond. Richard Hollander’s book Every Day Lasts a Year: A Jewish Family’s Correspondence from Poland is brought to the stage in this mesmerizing new adaptation that restores a family’s uncharted legacy, celebrated by revelation and remembrance.

Previously titled The Book of Joseph.

History
The Lucky Star (formerly The Book of Joseph) was commissioned by Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where it made its world premiere on February 4, 2017. Directed by Barbara Gaines, the production featured Francis Guinan as Richard.

RICHARD – (fifties) A storyteller delivering a book talk about his family. He works the audience, keeping things jovial and sentimental.

Richard doesn’t see the other people onstage, primarily his ancestors:

JOSEPH – (35-41) Richard’s father and the subject of his story. A leading man. Nickname Joziu [YO-zhu].
MANIA – [MAH-nia] (late forties) Joseph’s eldest sister, has a sardonic side. Also plays INTERPRETER and IRIS (sixties).
KLARA – [KLAH-ra] (early forties) The middle sister, religious. Doubles as FELICJA [Fe-LEE-tzee-uh] (late twenties) posh.
DOLA – (39) The youngest of Joseph’s older sisters; dramatic, romantic. Doubles as VITA [VEE-tuh] (29) a warm American in love.
BERTA – [BEAR-tuh] (seventies) Family matriarch. Doubles as MISS BLAUSTEIN (sixties) a survivor.
GENKA – [GEHN-kuh] (17) Klara’s eldest daughter, a moody teenager. Doubles as ARNOLD (14).
LUSIA – [LOU-shuh] (early teens) Genka’s cheerful sister.
SALO – [SAH-lo] (60) Mania’s husband. Also plays COURT OFFICER, STANLEY DIANA, ELDERLY ARNOLD (86).

Toward the end of Richard’s talk, we meet:

CRAIG – (mid-twenties) Richard’s son. A tender smartass.

Casting Thoughts: Depending on the company, Berta may double as Elderly Arnold, and Salo may double as Miss Blaustein, shifting that character to Mr. Blaustein. Additionally, the role of Lusia can be omitted if necessary. Changes available from Concord Theatricals upon request.

Depending on the company, Berta may double as Elderly Arnold, and Salo may double as Miss Blaustein, shifting that character to Mr. Blaustein. Additionally, the role of Lusia can be omitted if necessary. Changes available from Concord Theatricals upon request.

  • Time Period Present Day, 1940s / WWII, 1930s
  • Setting The “present” (technically, 2008) and 1939–1945.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)

Media

“Gripping and enlightening, combining documentary and drama, bridging time and communities, both past and present.” – DC Metro

“But this is, it turns out, unlike any Holocaust play you will have seen, mostly because it is so clearly concerned with what we do about all of this now.” – Chicago Tribune

“Resonates in the current moment with overpowering force.” – Variety

Videos

  • The Book of Joseph at Everyman Theatre youtube thumbnail

    The Book of Joseph at Everyman Theatre

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

Scripts

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Authors

Karen Hartman

Karen Hartman is a finalist for the 2023 international Susan Smith Blackburn prize. In 2022, her work launched VOLT at 59e59 Theaters, an unprecedented festival of three simultaneous off-Broadway premieres by a single author: New Golden Age (Primary Stages); The Lucky Star (T ...

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