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Poster design by Nori Hilton 


with Spanish translation by Christina Ruiz de Luque

Debra, a struggling food writer, has returned to her childhood home in Ohio’s rust belt to care for her declining mother Rose, an exacting cookie baker. When Jennifer, Debra's very successful older sister, arrives for Rose's funeral, shared memories and old sibling grievances boil to the surface. As the sisters confront their loss, a startling secret about their mother’s most-treasured Passover recipe emerges, which changes everything they thought they knew about their family. Three years later Debra returns triumphant to New York promoting her newly published cookbook-memoir to find Jennifer in a treacherous downward spiral. Spiced with poetry and smatterings of Yiddish and Spanish, Madeleines tells the story of a family of Jewish women grappling with how to love each other through haunted pasts, shared grief, and the solace of baking together.

110 minutes

Winner, 2022 National Jewish Plays Contest

Finalist, 2021 Bay Area Playwrights Festival

Jennifer's Monologue from Madeleines is published in The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2024, Smith & Kraus.

Listen to the JTalks Podcast interview: Bess discusses Madeleines with Molly Curren Rowles, Executive Director of the JCA of Southern Maine, and David Winitsky, Artisitic Director of the Jewish Plays Project.


For three women. All characters are of Eastern European Jewish descent.

Actor #1:

DEBRA MORITZ – late 40s; a struggling then successful food writer, sardonic sense of humor

Actor #2:

JENNIFER MORITZ – early 50s, Debra’s older sister; highly accomplished medical school professor; a mother whose own family is falling apart

Actor #3:

ROSE MORITZ – 70s, Debra and Jennifer’s mother; an exacting cookie baker and small businesswoman, frail from illness but still stubborn

LILIA KAMINSKY - 70s, a vivacious Argentinian poet, colorful and robustly healthy. Speaks Spanish and Yiddish (minimal verbal language skills required)

Production & Development History

  • World Premiere Production, Portland Stage, Portland, ME, March 2025

  • Workshop/Reading, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley New Works Festival, August 2023

  • Reading, Playhouse on Park, West Hartford, CT, June 2023

  • Workshop Production, Jewish Theatre of Bloomington, May 2023

  • Workshop/Reading, Jewish Plays Project New Works Festival, NYC, December 2022

  • Digital Workshop/Reading, Portland Stage, Little Festival of the Unexpected, May 2022

  • Staged Reading, Coalescence Theatre Project, ShePersisted Festival, April 2022

  • Workshop/Reading, Colby College, October 2021

  • Zoom reading, North Shore Readers Theater, March 2021

  • Zoom reading, Maine Playwrights Festival, November 2020

  • Full-length script developed at the National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Grand Lake, CO March 2020

  • Workshop Production: one-act version, Portland Stage Studio Series, November 2015

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