Esther in the Spotlight

a new musical comedy

book, music and lyrics
by Rich Orloff

An irreverent retelling of the Biblical story of Esther, ESTHER IN THE SPOTLIGHT is written in a style described as “Mel Brooks meets The Bible”.   Beyond the plentiful gags, however, is the story of a woman who questions the culture of her time, wonders about her destiny, and yearns for meaning.  The 75-minute musical has five major characters, with a chorus of four (or more) playing a variety of additional roles.  The characters include:

  • ESTHER, a young Jewish maiden, stronger than she knows
  • KING AHASHVAYROASH, ruler of Persia, who works very hard at being a tyrant, probably because he’s not a natural at it
  • MORDECAI, Esther’s uncle, wise but not always decisive
  • QUEEN VASHTI, bold and feisty, whether alive or dead
  • HAMAN, the prime minister, who deserves to be booed
  • plus A CHORUS OF FOUR, who also play these roles:
    • FARZANAH, an eager beauty pageant contestant
    • MAZEPPA, a sassy beauty pageant contestant

ESTHER IN THE SPOTLIGHT will soon be available for licensing.  The show can be produced with no set and simple costumes.

ESTHER IN THE SPOTLIGHT was originally performed at Romemu, a Jewish congregation in Manhattan, on March 16, 2022 (the holiday of Purim).

About the creative team:

Rich Orloff (book, music and lyrics) has written countless plays – or he’s bad at math.  The New York Times called his comedy BIG BOYS “rip-roaringly funny” and named his play FUNNY AS A CRUTCH a Critic’s Pick. His comedy OY! has had over 50 productions in the United States –  and one in Bulgaria.

Gary Slavin (director) has directed musicals and comedies not only at theaters around the country, but also in England and Sweden and on TV.  For the Blue Hill Troupe in New York City, he has directed the entire Gilbert & Sullivan canon.

Michael Kaish (music director and arrangements) was music director for the recent national tour of JERSEY BOYS and was arranger and music director for STRANGER SINGS!, the new musical parody of STRANGER THINGS.

Cast (in order of appearance):
QUEEN VASHTI – Lauren Wenegrat
MORDECAI – Charles E. Gerber
HAMAN – Rich Orloff
ESTHER – Casey Kelly
ROYAL WINE STEWARD (& others) – Megan Sadoff
FARZANAH (& others) – Amber Mitchell
MAZEPPA (& others) – Doug E. Shapiro
QUEEN’S MESSENGER (& others) – Lindsey M.E. Newton

Additional credits:
production stage manager Roger Lipson
assistant stage manager Annette Dieli
assistant music director Emily Cohn
props designer Lina Younes
audio service provided by FullStack NY
audio technician Eliot Wilson
casting coordinator Alyssa See-Tho
spotlight operator Megan O’Toole

No gefilte fish were harmed in the making of this musical.