Student to make directorial debut

“Muse of Fire,” a play written and directed by Tisch freshman Jake Rosenberg, is set to have its opening night on Oct. 29 at the Manhattan Repertory Theater.

The dark comedy takes place in the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where some of the prisoners would perform comedy for their companions despite the conditions. The idea struck Rosenberg while he was reading an article about theater in Germany during Nazi rule.

The title of the play comes from the opening monologue of Shakespeare’s “Henry V” and indicates that the play itself is a muse born from the fires of the concentration camps. Rosenberg wished to portray a different aspect of the Holocaust.

“I wanted to tell a story that had never been told before,” Rosenberg said.

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Rosenberg received the news that his play had been selected to be staged on the day he moved into NYU.

“I felt reassured of my choice of applying Early Decision to Tisch,” Rosenberg said.

“Muse of Fire” will be performed by professional actors under Rosenberg’s direction, as well as several other NYU students who are helping to produce the play.

Gallatin sophomore Sophia Cannata-Bowman, who is a producer and assistant director of the play, has known Rosenberg for about four years.

“Jake once jokingly told me that he runs on a 48-hour day that runs on double speed, and that’s why he can get so much done,” Cannata-Bowman said. “Though physiologically impossible, not entirely without truth.”

Rosenberg and Cannata-Bowman also work with Gallatin sophomore Daniel McElroy to produce the show.

“Each of us performs our specific responsibilities very well, and the amount of creative and personal trust that [Jake, Sophia and I have] built between us will last far beyond this project,” McElroy said.

The play’s Manhattan staging follows its successful reading in San Francisco on May 20. The play, which was Rosenberg’s high school senior project, was also recently included in the National Holocaust Theater Catalog.

The team even had to add a few dates after the first few shows quickly sold out. There will be five performances between Oct. 29 and Nov. 8. 

In his future projects, Rosenberg hopes to one day showcase a play at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts. Meanwhile, he is continuously working to make a name for himself in the world of theater.

“My aim is to win the Pulitzer Prize for Dramatic Writing by 25,” Rosenberg said.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 20 print edition. Email Tejas Sawant at [email protected]

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