“Mazel,” a new play written by Amy Hartman and inspired by the life of Holocaust survivor Jack Sittsamer, portrays a family in which Holocaust memories – kept secret – create bitter family conflict. The conflict threatens to destroy the family until an unlikely angel intervenes. The angel inspires the family to take an amazing journey back through time and half-way around the world to find the truth that unites them.

“Mazel” is hopeful and angry, provocative, compelling, funny, sad, ironic and visceral. It deals not only with the history of the Holocaust, but how we can overcome its legacy – as the universal struggles of family, war and God unfold in our present day world and in the human heart.

Commissioned by the Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, “Mazel” will be directed by Jonathan Rest. Seton Hill University Theatre is proud to host the first public performances of “Mazel” from October 6 – 14, co-produced with the Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.

“This performance will be different than what we usually do in that we will have professional actors in some of the lead roles,” says Dr. Terry Brino-Dean, director of Seton Hill’s Theatre Program. “Students, who will fill other roles and serve as technicians, will have a unique opportunity to participate in bringing a new work to the stage, while learning from the playwright and experienced stage actors.”

Seton Hill’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) will coordinate a Talk Back session and a reception with local Holocaust survivors following the Sunday, October 8, 2 p.m. performance.

“We’re very happy to have this opportunity to partner with the Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh,” says Sr. Lois Sculco, NCCHE administrator and vice president for administration and student life at Seton Hill. “Jack Sittsamer, and many of the other survivors mentioned in the play, have attended our annual Kristallnacht remembrance services, and have spoken to our students about their experiences. We are honored to be able to help bring their stories to the stage.”

To help prepare her students for “Mazel,” Sr. Sculco is using “Flares of Memory: Stories of Childhood During the Holocaust,” one of the books that inspired the play, in her fall senior seminar. Her students will attend the play, in addition to the November Kristallnacht remembrance service, and will have the opportunity to interview some of the survivors mentioned in the play (including local survivor Fritz Ottenheimer, who is the featured speaker for the Kristallnacht service) for a class project. Sr. Lois also believes that “Mazel” will be of special interest to the students and faculty who have attended the March of Remembrance and Hope, an annual trip to Poland to visit Holocaust monuments, memorials, and the remains of former death camps, coordinated locally by the NCCHE. “Only by understanding the roots of prejudice – in others and ourselves – and seeing its catastrophic results,” says Sr. Sculco, “can we hope to build a better world for all.”

Performance Schedule: “Mazel” will be performed at Seton Hill Friday, October 6 at 10:30 a.m. & 8 p.m.; Saturday, October 7 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, October 8 at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, October 10 at 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday, October 11 at 10:30 a.m.; Thursday, October 12 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Friday, October 13 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 14 at 8 p.m. All performances are in Reeves Theatre on Seton Hill University’s Greensburg, Pennsylvania campus. Reeves Theatre is a disabled accessible and climate-controlled facility. Parking is free.

Ticket information: Single admission tickets are $12. Seton Hill students (with valid ID), $5. Students from any school can purchase rush tickets five minutes before curtain, subject to availability, for $5 with a valid school ID. Groups of 16 or more can purchase tickets at a rate of $10 each with a reservation and advance payment. Purchase a subscription and receive one ticket to each of the four productions for $40. Order tickets by phone: 724-838-4241, by e-mail: boxoffice@setonhill.edu. Seton Hill Theatre’s Box Office opens September 1, 2006.

Seton Hill Theatre’s 2006 – 2007 season also includes productions of “An Evening of One-Act Plays by Anton Chekhov,” November 10 – 18, 2006; “Everyman,” by Anonymous, February 23 – March 3, 2007; and “Weird Romance,” music by Alan Menken, lyrics by David Spencer, book by Alan Brennert and David Spencer, April 27 – May 2, 2007.

The Seton Hill University Theatre Program has a long history of educating theatre majors for careers in the professional theatre while playing a vital role in the educational life of the campus. Seton Hill’s Theatre Program offers four full-length productions (as well as a number of shorter works) each year that generate audiences of over 3,500 and speak to topics addressed in courses across Seton Hill’s curriculum. For more information on the Theatre Program at Seton Hill, please visit www.setonhill.edu or call 724-830-0300.

The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established at Seton Hill University in 1987 with the primary purpose of providing broad dissemination of scholarship on the root causes of anti-Semitism, its relation to the Holocaust, and the implications from the Catholic perspective of both for today’s world. Toward this end the NCCHE is committed to: equipping educators to enter into serious discussion on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; shaping appropriate curricular responses at all educational levels; and sustaining Seton Hill University’s Catholic Institute for Holocaust Studies in Israel through a cooperative program with Yad Vashem, Hebrew University and the Isaac Jacob Institute for Religious Law.

Opened in 1981, The Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s mission is to educate teachers and students; to commemorate the lives of victims, including anyone traumatized by the events of 1933-1945; and to document those events through the collection of artifacts, videos and oral histories of survivors. The programs and exhibitions heighten public awareness, honor survivors, and keep the memory alive. The Holocaust Center believes that the lessons of the Holocaust are universal - to cherish every life, to fight racism and prejudice, and to be responsible for one another. The work of the Holocaust Center is divided into four areas: education, documentation, commemoration and programs. The Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh is a beneficiary of the United Jewish Federation Foundation and the UJF Community Campaign.

Seton Hill University, chartered in 1918, is a coeducational Catholic liberal arts university in Greensburg, Pa. with more than 30 undergraduate programs and nine graduate programs, including an MBA. Seton Hill brings the world to its students through its distinguished lecturers and nationally and internationally renowned centers. Recognized three times by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the nation’s Top 100 Entrepreneurial Universities, Seton Hill has also been named one of the Best in the Northeast by The Princeton Review and one of Pennsylvania’s Top 100 Businesses by Pennsylvania Business Central. In addition, Seton Hill has been named a University of Distinction by Colleges of Distinction, an organization founded by a group of concerned parents, educators and admissions professionals. For more information on Seton Hill please visit www.setonhill.edu or call 1-800-826-6234.



Dr. Terry Brino-Dean, Program Director, Seton Hill Theatre

Becca Baker, Associate Director of Media Relations
724-830-1069/724-689-3599 (cell) / bbaker@setonhill.edu