CYPRESS learned of a children’s opera, Brundibar, that had been performed fifty-five times in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. The Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra agreed to join us in mounting a production of the opera to coincide with a teacher workshop led by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Ela Stein Weissberger, one of only four children in the cast from the Theresienstadt performance to survive the Holocaust, agreed to come to Evansville to participate in the musical. CYPRESS raised the funds to rent sets and costumes by America’s most famous children’s illustrator, Maurice Sendak. The libretto was written by celebrated playwright, Tony Kushner (Angels in America). Three performances of Brundibar were presented in January, 2005. As a result of Brundibar, CYPRESS was the recipient of Leadership Evansville’s 2005 “Project Award in the Arts.” The same year, the YWCA of Evansville presented CYPRESS with its “Tribute to Achievement” award.
In partnership with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, CYPRESS brought back Brundibar and Ela Stein Weissberger for a second production in 2011. All funds raised were used to develop HEART, the Bullying-Prevention program/materials.