Atlanta-launched Holocaust musical to get New York staged reading

“By Wheel and by Wing,” an original Holocaust-set musical that received a staged reading by Act3 Productions in 2011 and a full-scale production by the Sandy Springs troupe in 2012, is now heading to New York.

It will get a staged reading at the Museum of Jewish Heritage’s Edmond J. Safra Hall on Nov. 3 by a cast of Broadway, film and television performers, joined by three actors from the Atlanta area — Elyssa Mactas, Connor Crank and Matt Alea. The evening production, to be staged in front of an audience of theater professionals, will be directed by two-time Tony-nominated actress Jayne Atkinson (perhaps best known for playing Karen Hayes on TV’s “24”).

“By Wheel and by Wing” tells the true story of the Parneses, a Jewish family of 10 living on the Polish-Ukraine border at the outbreak of World War II who survived by staying just ahead of the invading Nazis. Several members of the extended family call Atlanta home.

Act3 artistic director Patti Mactas heard the Parneses’ story after she by chance sat next to Holocaust survivor Jeannie Parnes Wechsler on a flight.

Mactas soon sought and received the family’s permission to prepare it for the stage. The musical was created by metro high school students, with guidance from Act 3 ( staff.

The goal of the New York staged reading is to generate additional support, with hopes of a full-fledged Big Apple run.

“Everyone who is involved in this play, from the very beginning to now, has been deeply touched by its themes of family, resilience, faith, hope and love,” Atkinson said. “I truly believe there is something magical about the story and hope it will continue to engage audiences for many years to come.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.