"Jewlinka!” ~Wrassling with My Bubbe~
A Melange of Dance, Theater and Song

What do you get when you combine a Russian Jewish Bubbe with her rebellious, hippie granddaughter? Oy!!
Dynamic musician Michelle Newman and power-house character actress, Julie Oak weave dance, theater and song, in “Jewlinka” --a hilarious and heartrending portrait of Julie’s bewildering Jewish upbringing. Ms. Oak plays 7 different characters, including herself at different ages and her eccentric Yiddish-accented Grandmother, while Michelle accompanies brilliantly with guitar, vocals, sound effects and a delightful array of Jewish music.

These two knock-out performers give us a wild taste of Gramma’s cross-Atlantic immigration to New York City, and the clash of her American dream with teenage Julie’s 1969 iconoclastic fervor.

From the Program:

“Jewlinka” Wrassling with my Bubbe

Conceived, written and directed by Julie Oak
With major contributions from
RD Bolam, Michelle Newman, and Tibisay Strazzera
Based on the true life story of Julie Oak. Characters have been altered, combined, exaggerated, renamed-- generally used, abused and toyed with.

Dedicated with love, to my Grandma Rachel Landsman
Grandma Francis Simonoff Burt
and my Great Aunt Betty Simonoff http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/yt/lex/S/simonoff-betty.htm

This piece originally began as an improv with helium balloons. Somehow I found myself in deeply mournful song. I think the happiness of the balloons, reminded me of my well of sadness, that polarity of joy and sorrow, so poignant in my Jewish heritage.
“Jewlinka” is also made fantastical with the surprising and varied use of five colored helium balloons.

My relationship with my grandmother was difficult and distant. She died when I was 16. As and adult, I came to realize how much of my make-up for better and for worse was similar to hers. This piece is the culmination of my journey healing the wretched feelings I had about her- and the ways I have come to love her.
Julie Oak

Julie Oak – Jewlinka or Julie as child, teen, young adult, and adult, Grandma Rose (Bubbe), Julie’s mother, Julie’s father, Dr Berry, Jewish Sunday school teacher, witch, Boris Simonoff, child Bessie

Michelle Newman – Musician, Great Aunt Bess


Julie Oak was joined by Lleralee Whittle, creating authentic yet exaggerated characters, who find themselves in a myriad of circumstances – from the touching, to the mythological, to the absurd.

a brief synopses of 'obsessed'!

love dust
a comic piece in which our protagonist, against her better judgment, falls in love with a cleaning device. we catch up with her years later, reminiscing about her escapades with the old duster.

entering arthropoda
hilarious, touching and surreal dance/theater piece about an eccentric entomology professor who has unusual ideas about
how to fully understand your specimens. written and directed by nita little, this piece is performed by julie oak, as the
professor and leralee whittle, world’s most fetching insect.

grandma’s hot air
in this autobiographical piece about julie’s russian jewish immigrant grandmother, julie uses helium balloons to depict the many strange, difficult and wonderful sides of her gramma rae.