Jenny Romaine is a founding member of the OBIE winning Great Small Works visual Theater Collective based in New York City and the inaugural winner of the Adrienne Cooper Award for Dreaming in Yiddish. She was a sound archivist at the YIVO institute for Jewish Research for 13 years and has dedicated three decades to the creation of New Yiddish performance ranging from giant spectacle and film to installation and miniature theater performed in living rooms. For over 15 years she has music directed Bessie/Obie winning Circus Amok directed by Jennifer Miller.
In 2016 Romaine received the Marshall T Meyer Risk Taker Award from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and was a featured culture producer/educator on the Helix Project sponsored by Yiddishkayt Los Angeles in Belaruse, Lithuania, and Latvia (known in Yiddish a Lite. ). Romaine founded the Youth Theater Workshop at Klezkamp (Yiddish Folk Arts Program) which ran for 20 years. She has also worked with youth in NYC through JFREJ, Workmen’s Circle, Milk Not Jails, Mayan, Great Small Works, Shadow Box Theater, Chinese theater Works, Rikers Island Academy, Rosies and Horizons youth facilities, the Queens Museum of Art and more.
She is the director of the inter-generational visual theater troupe known as the Sukkos Mob featured in the film PUNK JEWS. For a decade Romaine was a performer / designer of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene’s family show, Kids and Yiddish and later designed their circus version of the Megile of Itzik Manger with Spectacle Engineer Rosza Daniel Lang/Levitsky, and Costumer/fashion designer Kelly Horrigan. Her New Yiddish productions for theater and film include The Memoirs of Glikl Hameln, with Frank London and Adrienne Cooper, and The White Pajamas, a collaboration with 92 year old Canadian Yiddish Memory painter Mayer Kirshenblatt which was also made into a film for the touring one man exhibition “They called Me Mayer July: Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland before the Holocaust” at the Jewish Museum, Annual productions at Klezkanada Montreal, A Blue Mime Khanike (a puppet Film), The Transmigration of a Melody picture recitation show and procession with Great Small Works in NYC / Montreal, and The Megile Reloaded a 60 person cast, full orchestra production of Itzik Manger’s Megile in Cologne Germany. in 2015/2016 Romaine wrote and co-created Muntergang and other Cheerful Downfalls a GSW hand puppet show about two Yiddish radical puppeteers from the early 20th century (Zuni Maud and Yosl Kotler). It is meditation on their incisive funny work and a look at historical models of robust embodied practices (cultural/political) that are valuable resources for dismantling white supremacist logics. Lots of Yiddish, lots of useful critical thought, hand puppet gags, and mystical fun. In the Summer of 2016 Romaine will direct the Yiddish epic Bovo D’Antona adapted by NY Times Bestselling author Michael Wex, with the Other Music Academy and Yiddish Summer Wiemar in Germany.