Press Releases


Based on the Powerful Story that Inspired the Exhibition “Stitching History from the Holocaust”

MIAMI BEACH (January 13, 2017) ̶ The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU has commissioned a new dramatic work based on the museum’s current exhibition, Stitching History from the Holocaust. The play is called A Stitch in Time, and is about the true story of Paul and Hedy Strnad who tragically perished in the Holocaust after failed attempts in 1939 to secure a visa to flee to the U.S. from Prague and escape the onslaught of the Nazis (by sending sketches of Hedy’s clothing designs, to prove she could earn a living in America using her talents in clothes-making). This new commissioned work was written by Miami playwright Susan Westfall and will be directed by Michael Yawney, associate professor of theatre at Florida International University.

“Once we realized how powerfully the universal themes in this exhibition still resonate in today’s modern world – a captivating story about a young couple desperate to escape the onslaught of tyranny and terror, turning to creativity and talent for hope – the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU was inspired to commission this new play, so that we can bring this story to life for audiences in South Florida and the many tourists from around the world visiting Miami Beach this season. The messages of hope and perseverance are just as striking now as they were almost eighty years ago,” said Jo Ann Arnowitz, the Museum’s Executive Director & Chief Curator. View a photograph of the impassioned 1939 letter from Paul and Hedy, plus her fashions and a photo of the young couple at

The dresses in the exhibition are based on the original fashion design sketches by Hedy Strnad that accompanied the couples’ letter requesting a U.S. visa. Decades later, the sketches were discovered by family members living in the United States who were descendants of the original family that tried to help Paul and Hedy obtain a visa to move to America. These designs were painstakingly re-created by the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and brought to life for the accompanying exhibition, which originated at the Jewish Museum of Milwaukee and is currently on loan to the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (on view through March 19). Hedy’s drawings represent the height of fashion in 1939, providing a small window into the lives of Jews in Prague on the eve of World War II. They also reveal another significant story: along with the loss of six million Jewish lives, the Holocaust also extinguished an incalculable amount of talent and creativity. As the New York Times review of this award-winning exhibition states, “The fashions are both text and textile, a story of life and death told in fabric … a recollection of mortality and persecution.”

A Stich in Time premieres Sunday, January 29th at 3 p.m. at The Jewish Museum of Florida, located in Miami Beach at 301 Washington Avenue. This Actors’ Equity production features Ricky J. Martinez and Irene Adjan, who will portray Paul and Hedy Strnad. The production is sponsored by Jonathan Symons Bnai Mitzvah Project and Congregation Beth Jacob.

Tickets are $10 for members; $16 for non-members (includes admission to the accompanying exhibition at the museum). Tickets are available by phone at 786-972-3164, at the museum’s gift shop or online using the following link:

Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5 at 3:00 p.m.

More about A Stitch in Time:

Susan Westfall – Playwright Westfall is the co-founder and Literary Director of City Theatre in Miami, Florida. Westfall's plays include Two Weekends and A Day (Kilroy honorary list 2015), Look At Me (“Best Short Plays 2011”), Rats, The Boy From Russia, Uprising, The Wedding Party, Passing Through (Heideman Finalist), With the Patience of Angels (Heideman Finalist), 1962, You Are Here, and Voices at the Mary Elizabeth Hotel. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, The Playwrights Center, Theatre Communications Group, and the South Florida Theatre League.

Michael Yawney - Director Yawney wrote and directed Exile Jesus Starbucks as part of Miami Light Project’s Here & Now. He directed Rudi Goblen’s PET at Miami Light Project, Rebecca Joy Fletcher’s Ringing True at the Sandbox, Brundibar for Orchestra Miami, as well as Heather Woodbury’s 12-hour stand-up novel As the Globe Warms, which was seen at Austin’s Vortex Rep, L.A.’s Redcat and in Miami at FIU. His play 1,000 Homosexuals premiered at the Arsht Center. Yawney is currently Resident Dramaturg/Director of Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Playwright Development Program and is an associate professor in the theatre department at Florida International University.

Irene Adjan – Hedy Adjan is a long-time member of the South Florida regional theatre community. She has worked at all the major theatres, is an eleven-time Carbonell nominee, and has won the award three times. Some notable appearances include Funny Girl (New Vista, Parker Playhouse, Actors’ Playhouse), The Dead, Adding Machine, In the Next Room, and Casa Valentina (GableStage), Detroit, Assassins, and Moscow (Zoetic Stage), Summer Shorts 2002, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014 (City Theatre), Les Miserables, Annie, Music Man (Maltz Jupiter Theatre), Ragtime, Joseph, 1776, and The Full Monty (Actors’ Playhouse), Smell of the Kill, Benefactors, and Night of the Iguana (Palm Beach Dramaworks). A proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, she is the Chair of the South Florida Equity Liaison Committee.

Ricky J. Martinez Paul Martinez is an accomplished actor, playwright, dancer, choreographer, singersong writer, musician, community leader and theatre activist. He is also a spirited Cuban-American “theatre maker,” formerly Artistic Director for New Theatre in Miami. As an award-winning Director, Martinez has been invited to direct for the MFA Playwrights’ Workshop at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival and Stanford University’s National Center for New Plays; James Madison University and the Forbes Center; Words A-fire festival in New Mexico; Ignition Fest at Victory Gardens, and other organizations across in the United States.

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About the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU: The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU serves as a major cultural attraction and source of information for a wide audience of residents, tourists, students and scholars of all ages and backgrounds from throughout the state, nation, and the world. Located in a former synagogue that housed Miami Beach's first Jewish congregation, the museum's restored 1936 Art Deco building and 1929 original synagogue are both on the National Register of Historic Places. The 301 building features nearly 80 stained glass windows, a copper dome, marble bimah and many Art Deco features including chandeliers and sconces.

The Jewish Museum of Florida is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission: Adults $6; Seniors $5; Families $12; Members and children under 6 always free; Saturdays-Free. For more information: 305-672-5044 or