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What's Hereville?

Hereville: the Musical is based on the award winning graphic novels by Barry Deutsch following the adventures of Mirka, an eleven-year old girl in a small Orthodox Jewish town.

 Work began on Hereville: the Musical in 2017 and then it was selected for a year-long development opportunity through the 92Y Musical Theater Development Lab in the fall of 2018.


Following several private readings, including the requisite pandemic Zoom reading, a concert reading of Hereville was presented in March 2023 produced by Kids on Stage and the Lipinsky Family Jewish Arts Festival at Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego.


Two additional concert readings were presented as part of the 30th Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival on June 7th, 2023, at the Old Globe and July 9th, 2023, at New Village Arts.


We are so thrilled to be sharing our show with the JEWCE/Center for Jewish History audience. I couldn't imagine a better marriage of material to an event. 

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Meet the Cast

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ROBBY SANDLER (BOOK & LYRICS) is an autistic lyricist/librettist from Florence, Alabama, based in New York. They have been writing with Lizzie Hagstedt since undergrad at the University of Miami. They are an alum of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Advanced Workshop and the 92Y Musical Theater Development Lab where Hereville began developing. As a lyricist/librettist, their work was featured on Jonathan Larson Grant winner Andy Roninson’s Take A Ten podcast (Episode #6, “I Heart New York”). As a librettist, they wrote Introducing Molly Pope with its eponymous star at Ars Nova.

LIZZIE HAGSTEDT (MUSIC) is an actor/singer/musician composer from Sayville, New York. In addition to Hereville, composition projects include Sophie Blanchard’s High-Flyin’ Rock’n’Roll Extravaganza (2024 Moxie Arts Incubator Cohort, 2020 Asolo Rep Ground Floor Series), Oneida with Beth Blatt (Vox Fest at Dartmouth College), and Wild West Show with Lisa Helmi Johanson (winner of the Muriel O'Neil American Heritage Commission). She is a 2021 Jonathan Larson Grant finalist and the recipient of a Cross Arts Collaborative Arts Residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. Performing credits include Sweeney Todd (national tour) and Southern Comfort (the Public). 

JESS KAUFMAN (ADDITIONAL BOOK) is a playwright, dramaturg, producer and all-around theater artist making thoughtful, playful, ambitious theater for families. Her work invites young people and families to cross boundaries, in theaters and site-specific performance spaces. As a queer, Jewish artist, she is particularly interested in the intersection of social justice and identity. Jess was a 2019-2020 New Victory Theater LabWorks Artist, a 2020 NYFA "Emerging Arts Leader", and a 2021 New York City Artist Corps grant recipient.

BARRY DEUTSCH (ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVELS) is best known for his “Hereville” series of graphic novels, about “yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl.” Barry is also part of the creative team behind the best-selling “Wings of Fire” series of graphic novels. His work has won the Sydney Taylor Award, the Oregon Book Award, the Charles Schulz Award, and has been nominated for Eisner, Harvey, Ignatz, and Nebula Awards. He lives in Portland, Oregon, in a bright blue house with pink trim, and sees musicals as often as he can.


LAURA BRANDEL (DIRECTOR) is NYC based director, choreographer and champion of new work. Thrilled to bring Hereville to NYC as part of JEWCE after its reading last summer at San Diego’s Old Globe with JFEST. Recent credits include, Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration, TheaterWorksUSA: Dot Dot Dot and Pout Pout Fish. 2017 Drama League Leo Shull New Musicals Directing Fellow, Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

FERNANDA DOUGLAS (MUSIC DIRECTOR) is an NYC-based composer and music director from Santa Barbara, California. Commissions: In BeTWEEN (The Wright Way, NYC); The Hobbit (First Stage, WI); Spells of the Sea (orchestrations; Metro Theater Company, MO); Sweet Tooth and Scouts! (Brooklyn Children’s Theater, NY). NYC productions: Jolie Rouge (workshop, Columbia University); From Russia, With Love (Midtown International Theatre Festival); Plath. (NY Fringe Festival). Assoc. Music Dir./Rehearsal Piano: Moulin Rouge (Broadway); The Unknown Soldier (Playwright’s Horizons); Monsoon Wedding (with Mira Nair; 2023 FIFA World Cup, Qatar). Fernanda is an associate voice coach at Liz Caplan Vocal Studios, as well as an active member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and an alumna of Columbia University.

KIMBERLY SCAGLIONE (STAGE MANAGER) is thrilled to join the "Hereville" team on this wonderful production. Kimberly graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Theater Studies. Her recent credits include OFF-BROADWAY: Only Gold (PA), REGIONAL: Evita (PA), The Comedy of Errors & Snug (ASM), Three Sisters (Child Guardian), The Polar Express™ Train Ride (Child Guardian).

SHELBY BLEZINGER-MCCAY (CAJON) is a percussionist, drummer, music educator, and organizer. Balancing a full freelance schedule in musical theater, contemporary chamber music, and pop/rock/folk scenes, Shelby brings virtuosic musical skills, expertise in a wide range of musical genres, and a keen understanding of collaboration and social dynamics to every performance.

She is currently a percussion substitute for multiple Broadway productions, including Aladdin, SIX, and Some Like It Hot, was a percussion sub for the 22-23 Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and originated the percussion chair for the world premiere of Other World: A New Musical. Additionally, her contemporary music trio, Troika, performs throughout the year.

She has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s/54 Below, The Green Room 42, the United Palace, Rockwood Music Hall, The Cutting Room, City Winery NYC, and many other venues. Recent performances and collaborations include concerts with Katie Harman, Judy Kaye, Travis Moser, Ashley Arnold, Lavon Fisher Wilson, Larry Owens, Melissa Rich, New Heights Brass Band, Sō Percussion, and the Skiffle (Bunch) Steel Orchestra. International performances include concerts in Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Poland, and China.

Shelby currently serves her local community as an educator with the Brooklyn New School Band and Trevor Day School, sharing the concepts of creative music making in the vast soundscape of the percussion world and its history. She has worked with hundreds of percussionists and composers as the program coordinator for the Sō Percussion Summer Institute from 2018-2022, organizing and directing multiple performances, commissions, and world premieres for a vast range of young musicians.

Shelby Blezinger-McCay has a master’s degree in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas and a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Auburn University. Originally from Texas, raised in a family of noisy percussionists, she lives in New York City with her husband, Seth, and pittie-mix, Pascal.


Special Thanks

The Center for Jewish History and their incredible staff, especially Dr. Miriam Mora,

Kids on Stage Productions, The Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival, Haia Bchiri, 

Dan Gonko, David Friedlander, and the parents of our incredible young actors

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