GEORGE & RUTH:
SONGS AND LETTERS FROM THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
A Live Musical Performance
Spanish Benevolent Society
239 W 14th St, New York City
Catered by La Nacional Restaurant
Sunday, April 14th
House Opens at 1 PM ET
Performance Begins at 1:30 PM ET
Followed by Open Forum and Catered Reception
Please join us for a live performance.
After registering, you will receive an email with a digital ticket*
Space is limited so act now.
If you have any issues please get in touch with [email protected].
*Tickets can be presented on a device or printed out at home.
We look forward to reconnecting with many members of our community in person as we host this incredible play featuring the wartime letters of George and Ruth, based on a script by Dan and Molly Watt.
Join us at the Spanish Benevolent Society for a moving performance, followed by a lively reception with the director and cast.
Tickets are on sale now at the price of $35!
The play was presented at The Capa Space in Yorktown Heights, NY this past summer
This poignant play is a recitation of the letters exchanged between newlyweds George and Ruth Watt during George’s time as a volunteer in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. The dramatic readings of the letters are accompanied by singer/guitarist Albi Gorn, who reveals the cultural context of the time with folksongs from the period. Photographic images from the period, including many by Robert Capa, accompany the work.
George’s son Dan Lynn Watt discovered the letters between his parents in 1997 and with the help of his wife Molly wove the letters into this lovely play. Through these heartfelt letters, audiences are transported to a tumultuous period of history and gain insight into the experiences of those who fought in the Spanish Civil War. Ruth, who remained in New York City working hard as both office worker and anti-war activist, provides a unique perspective on the impact of war on those at home, while George’s letters reveal his passionate commitment to the cause of freedom and democracy.
George and Ruth: Songs and Letters of The Spanish Civil War is a powerful tribute to the courage and resilience of those who fought for justice and freedom during this pivotal moment in history,” says the play’s director Katie Schmidt Feder. “I have been grateful to learn more about the Spanish Civil War as well as the Lincoln Brigade which was made up of young American volunteers and activists who fought against the Nazi-supported forces of General Franco in the late 1930s. It’s a reminder of the profound sacrifices that individuals and communities make in the face of injustice and oppression. I also marvel at the powerful and progressive relationship between George and Ruth. They treat each other with such respect and honesty in these letters. The equality of their relationship and the maturity of their writing belies a newly married couple at age 22 and 23 in 1937.”
The play is enriched by the inclusion of folksongs from the period, performed by Albi Gorn who has been playing and singing for 60 years. As a singer/songwriter, he has performed in Westchester and New York City at, among other venues, the Village Gate and Gerde’s Folk City. Albi brings added insight into the music, having learned from his parents and their community the songs of the Spanish Civil war. Albi expresses that he is excited to “sing them in this moving tribute to the brave people from all over the world who went to fight Fascism.” As songwriter Tom Lehrer humorously observed about Franco and the war: “Though he may have won all the battles/we had all the best songs.”
The letters are read by actors Nick Nazario and Emrigael Alpern. Folk songs from the Spanish Civil War were selected and adapted by Tony Saletan. This version of the show was originally produced by The Capa Space Photography Center in Yorktown, NY.
EMRIGAEL ALPERN, ALBI GORN, NICK NAZARIO
EMRIGAEL ALPERN (Ruth) began acting in holiday pageants at her meeting house in Scarsdale, but it wasn’t until high school that she began to pursue her passion in earnest. During her time in the Peekskill High School Drama Club she starred in The Breakfast Club as Allison, as Evillene in The Wiz, and finished out her tenure playing the Monk and the Nurse in The Seussification of Romy and J. It was during that time she first worked with Katie Schmidt Feder, performing in Embark’s production of Emotional Creature. Since high school, Emrigael has continued her acting studies at SUNY New Paltz, whilst also pursuing her degree in creative writing. Since childhood, her loves have been theater and writing, and she is beyond excited to step back onto the stage as Ruth in this production. As a lifelong Quaker, it is both humbling and gratifying to be a part of the global stand against cruelty and injustice, and to spread the words of those who came before her. She hopes you find comfort and strength in the story of Ruth and George, a story of people fighting for those they love and those they’ve never met alike. In times of uncertainty and global strife, it is these human moments which connect and unite us, and push us to do what is right, even if it feels impossible.
ALBI GORN (Musician/Vocalist) has been playing and singing for 60 years. As a singer/songwriter, he has performed in Westchester and New York City at, among other venues, the Village Gate and Gerde’s Folk City. He grew up singing the songs from the Spanish Civil War and is psyched to be able to sing them in this moving tribute to the brave people from all over the world who went to fight Fascism. As songwriter Tom Lehrer humorously observed about Franco and the war: “Though he may have won all the battles/we had all the best songs.” No stranger to theater, Albi has been acting in, writing, and directing plays since the ‘70s. You can listen to his songs or read his plays at albigorn.com.
NICK NAZARIO (George) is an active member of Westchester Collaborative Theater (WCT) in Ossining. His latest role was Anthony in Loretta Oleck’s Vanity Scam for the Living Art Event. Additional roles at WCT include Sam in Pat O’Neill’s The Erythrosine Ballad, Stu in Howard Lipson’s Lemons, and Boogie in Robert McEvily’s Dedication. Nick joined the M&M Performing Arts Company for a production of Tartuffe at Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown. He began his acting studies at The Barrow Group in NYC under Sidse Ploug, Anthony Gillan, and Stephen Singer. Nick has an AS in Performing Arts from Westchester Community College, where he studied music and voice under Rosmarie Serrano. He continues to study acting through Uta Hagen’s approach under Susan Ward at WCT. Nick comes from Peekskill, NY, where he’s either making cocktails or concocting his next sewing project.
KATIE SCHMIDT FEDER (Director) is a stage director, choreographer, designer, and arts administrator. She served as the Executive Director of Garrison Art Center 2016-2021. Prior to that post, she was Co-founder & Executive Director of EMBARK PEEKSKILL, a performing & literary arts nonprofit. She is an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab and NY’s Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Actor/Director Lab. In New York she directed Arms and the Man for Boomerang Theatre Co, Pippin for New Youth Theatre Co., and D’Illusion at The Duplex. With EMBARK, Katie directed The Fantasticks, Emotional Creature, the Midsummer Night’s Firefly and Fairy Festival. As Drama Director for Peekskill High School, she directed No Child . . ., Seussical, Three Gifts of O. Henry and You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Katie has also served as a costume and scenic designer for many productions. She holds a BA in Musical Theatre/Dance Minor – University of Northern Colorado, Graduate 2-year Meisner program – William Esper Studio (NYC). Masters in Arts Administration – Goucher College (2015).