Writing of the Play

“East Towards Home” is a creative nonfiction in performance, growing out of historical research and autobiographical accounts. Historical sources include texts and songs by Woody Guthrie uncovered at the Woody Guthrie Archives, and oral histories gathered from several women who danced with the New Dance Group in the 1940s and 50s. The script was also inspired by writings and interviews of the radical choreographers of the 1920s and 30s, including Edith Segal, Nadia Chilkovsky, Sophie Maslow, and Marjorie Mazia Guthrie. More tales were culled from recollections of  the early years of Goldens Bridge Cooperative Colony, founded by Jewish workers in the 1920′s. The playwright’s own stories are drawn from memories of growing up in cooperative housing projects, socialist vacation colonies and left-wing summer camps in the 1960’s and 70’s, in and around New York City.

“Elevator strike stories” animation still by Dustin Grella 

“Yalowitz gracefully weaves together his own biography with the history and artistic culture of the American and Jewish left. The intersections of these stories create more than the sum of their parts and beckon us to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. ” – Dr. Lila Corwin Berman, Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History, Temple University

Community Dialogues

“East Towards Home” includes a companion outreach and public education campaign, created through strategic partnerships with both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations.  Discussions and forums after each performance create spaces for audience members to reflect on the play’s themes – the role of the arts in progressive movements, the history and future of the secular left-wing Jewish tradition, assimilation, growing up as a Jewish boy in a Gentile-dominated male U.S. culture, and others.

Community Dialogues have been held with the National Museum of American Jewish History, Jewish Currents, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Congregation Kolot Chayeinu, Selah, Camp Kinderland, and Camps Thoreau, Trywoodie and Kokosing.

If your organization is interested in collaborating on an evening’s discussion program with us, please contact:

Dana J. Schneider. Partnership and Outreach Coordinator
[email protected] or 917.817.2070


IMG_8215Brian Gunter as Woody, Billy Yalowitz as Older Self, David Kremenitzer as Youth

Past Productions

From January through February of 2014, “East Towards Home” had a sold-out run at Theater for the New City in Manhattan’s East Village, directed by the award-winning David Schechter and starring acclaimed actors Eleanor Reissa, Brian Gunter, and David Kremenitzer.

Previously, the play received two staged readings. The first was held at Chelsea Studios in New York City in August, 2010. After script revisions, a second staged reading was held at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia in December of 2011, as the culmination of a week-long residency on radical Jewish culture and history.