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On a quiet evening in Billings, Montana, December 2, 1993, a stranger stole across the lawn at the home of Tammie and Brian Schnitzer. He stopped at a window decorated with Star of David decals and a menorah, the symbol of the Jewish festival of Chanukah, then hurled a brick sending ragged shards of glass into the bedroom of their 5-year-old son, Isaac. It was at that moment that Tammie Schnitzer became an activist and worked to inspire the complacent citizens of Billings to take their legendary stand against hate.
Frumi Cohen, a music and theater teacher and resident playwright at Plymouth Meeting Friends School, has written a musical based on the Billings story and is directing it with her Plymouth Meeting Friends School 6th graders. The Power of One will be performed on May 4 and 5th at 7:00 pm in the Steinbright Auditorium at 2150 Butler Pike on the Plymouth Meeting Friends School campus.
But that’s not what makes this performance special.
Last month, one of Cohen’s young actresses, Maya Rabinowitz, who plays the character of Tammie Schnitzer, wanted to know more about the real event to better understand the character she portrays.
As she researched the story and the rash of hate crimes that were perpetrated on not only Jewish population in Billings, but on African Americans, and other minority groups, she realized that she wanted to talk personally to the woman who refused to accept the hatred that confronted her family, just because they were Jewish.
The search began. Maya’s mom Carol helped her daughter by making calls trying to track down Ms. Schnitzer. Finally, after many phone calls and emails, Carol was successful in obtaining a phone number for Ms. Schnitzer. She called. Tammie Schnitzer couldn't have been more hospitable on the phone when Carol asked if her daughter could talk to her regarding a musical she was in based on the Billings story.
Tammie readily agreed to talk to Maya and a phone appointment was set up. Tammie was so impressed with Maya's mature manner and her passion and compassion about this crime, that she decided to make the eight hour drive up to Plymouth Meeting Friends School from South Carolina (where she currently resides) not only to see the show, but to talk personally with the K-6 students at the school and participate in an after show talk back with cast, parents, students and faculty.
Tammie Schnitzer serves on numerous national and local boards and committees to advocate human rights, has traveled throughout the country inspiring audiences with her story, delivering the message about the importance of fighting the battle against intolerance.
She will be appearing at Plymouth Meeting Friends School on Friday, May 4.
Schedule of Events
Friday and Saturday, May 4 & 5, 2012
Plymouth Meeting Friends School, Steinbright Auditorium
7:00 pm, tickets $10
The Power of One
- Friday’s performance features a talkback with Tammie Schnitzer, Frumi Cohen, and the cast immediately following the performance.
- On Saturday, Tammie Schnitzer will be present at an informal reception following the performance.