[audio] Exclusive reading of John Rosenberg’s CANA OF GALILEE (Hella Fresh Theater)

Robert Stineman and Ellie Ruttenberg in John Rosenberg's CANA OF GALILEE at the 2014 Nice and Fresh winter series.
Robert Stineman and Ellie Ruttenberg in John Rosenberg’s CANA OF GALILEE at the 2014 Nice and Fresh winter series.

Critically acclaimed local playwright John Rosenberg had cast and scheduled dates for his Spring 2014 world premiere, CANA OF GALILEE, when life intervened. His wife, Yael, suggested they move to Los Angeles. “I felt terrible about walking away from this play,” says Rosenberg.”I hated telling [the cast] it was off. I felt like a fake dude who talks hella shit about stuff and then is just full of shit. I hated the fact that I had produced everything I had written up to this point… I felt like divorced dad cheap guy.”


Rosenberg wrote a short, one-act version for SmokeyScout Productions’ Nice and Fresh series, but he didn’t feel right leaving Philadelphia without doing the whole thing. The characters were written specifically for the actors he had cast—Ellie Ruttenberg, Nell Bang-Jensen, Sarah Knittel, McKenzie Jones Clifford—they even took their names: .

The cast, with the addition of Robert Stineman, agreed to do a one-off reading on April 30, 2014. When Ruttenberg discovered that the date conflicted with a dental procedure, Anna Flynn-Meketon stepped in to take her part. Rosenberg has never restaged his plays, so that one reading in a cast member’s living room, attended by about 15 people, may be the only performance of this play EVER. A few days later, John and Yael moved to LA. I agreed to record it for posterity, but thought the phone hadn’t recorded it. It had, and now the recording is uploaded for all to hear.


The first act of CANA OF GALILEE takes place a few days before Nell (Bang-Jensen)’s wedding to Scott (Stineman), just a year or so after the death of Scott’s first wife, Tina. Tina’s sister Ellie (Flynn-Meketon) has flown to Israel for the wedding. She is greeted by Scott’s sister Sarah (Knittel). Ellie, Sarah, Nell, and Nell’s best friend Mackenzie (Jones Clifford) have some drinks and talk about life, men, and what an awkward situation they are in. It’s really funny and real. The short second act takes place the day of the wedding.

Rosenberg was a friend and favorite of Phindie, and his unique style of realistic theater is much missed. Enjoy this chance to hear his last full-length work before he left Philadelphia.

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