Written and performed by Roger Grunwald, I DIED IN AUSCHWITZ: A REMARKABLE STORY OF SURVIVAL, is a full-length, one-person Holocaust drama that premiered in San Francisco in 2017- 2018. The play, originally known as The Obligation, is dedicated to Roger’s mother, an Auschwitz survivor, who put her wartime experience to use by teaching the lessons of history — the history she lived through — to young people. With his mother’s generation dying out, I DIED IN AUSCHWITZ: A REMARKABLE STORY OF SURVIVAL, represents Grunwald’s promise to use his skills to connect the theater and its capacity to touch people with the historical necessity of keeping the lessons of The Holocaust alive. In 2016, he transformed and expanded THE MITZVAH PROJECT, a short Holocaust-themed play and lecture that he co-authored and had been touring internationally, into I DIED IN AUSCHWITZ: A REMARKABLE STORY OF SURVIVAL. Plans for a national tour beginning in 2020 are currently being put together. The tour will have a particular focus on reaching high school and college audiences.
In August 2019, Roger portrayed Otto Frank in the stage drama Anne & Emmett at the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. Penned by Janet Langhart Cohen, the play imagines a conversation between Anne Frank and Emmett Till and has been performed in Amsterdam; at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture; at the New York City Police Academy and the United States Supreme Court at the invitation of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He has been a member of the Anne & Emmett company since the play’s premiere in 2011 in Washington D.C.
Over the last year and a half, Roger was part of three productions at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater: Simon Stephens's HEISENBERG; Edward Albee’s SEASCAPE and Lauren Yee’s THE GREAT LEAP. He was a co-star in the premiere episode of the HBO primetime series, VINYL, under the direction of Martin Scorsese and was one of two leads in the short film, ONE GOOD PITCH that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Roger is a veteran theatre, film, TV and voice actor and has appeared in over 85 stage productions in the United States and Europe. In 1983 he co-founded New York's CASTILLO THEATRE (www.castillo.org) where he starred in over 45 productions.
Roger is a San Francisco native, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and is a founding ensemble member of what is today, Cal Shakes.
During COVID-19 the pandemic, Roger is presenting THE MITZVAH PROJECT on the Zoom platform at high schools, colleges, secular and religious organizations throughout North America.
NANCY CARLIN (director) is a director, actor, writer, dialect coach, and acting teacher. A former company member of the American Conservatory Theater and associate artist with California Shakespeare Theater. Nancy is a member of PlayGround. She has performed and directed extensively in regional theaters, including A.C.T., Berkeley Rep, Aurora Theatre, Shotgun Players, Center Rep, The Jewel Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A theater arts lecturer for UC Berkeley, UCSC, and San Jose State, she holds a BA in comparative literature from Brown University and an MFA in acting from A.C.T. Ms. Carlin is a member of SDC, AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and the Dramatists Guild. Other current directing projects include the premiere of #GetGandhi by Anne Galjour at Z Below and The Wolves for Capital Stage Co.