Multicultural Arts Exchange MAE and ARTS-NY PresentThe Midwood Miracle

Multicultural Arts Exchange MAE and ARTS-NY PresentThe Midwood Miracle

Multicultural Arts Exchange (MAE) and ARTS-NY Present:

The Midwood Miracle, March 3, 2019

Featuring Deborah Karpel, vocal with Michael Lewis Smith, piano; directed by Aimee Todoroff

Watch the excerpts from The Midwood Miracle performed by Deborah Karpel:

New York, NY (February 4, 2019) — Multicultural Arts Exchange continues its Jewish Heritage series of performances this 2018-2019 season and is partnering with ARTS-NY to present The Midwood Miracle show on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm at the Congregations Shaare Shamayim Synagogue in Philadelphia, PA. The show, performed by singer-actress-writer Deborah Karpel with Michael Lewis Smith on piano, features original compositions written with Ted Kociolek and Rachelle Garniez along with traditional Americana, western swing, operatic arias, improvised art songs, and Yiddish songs. Through music and humor, Karpel weaves a story that encompasses her mother's unconventional Jewish upbringing in coal mining Appalachia, VA, Yiddish radio stars, socialist summer resorts in the Catskills, drunken voice teachers and twists of fate that lead Deborah to the music of her grandfather.

The Midwood Miracle

Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Congregations Shaare Shamayim Synagogue, 9768 Verree Rd, Philadelphia, PA

Deborah Karpel, storytelling, vocal

Michael Lewis Smith, piano

Directed by Aimee Todoroff

About Deborah Karpel

She began her performance career as a founding member of the improvisational comedy group "Shock of the Funny" and as originating and singing the role of Sonny in Jeff Weiss’s long-running, Obie (Off-Broadway theater) award-winning cult hit serial “Hot Keys”. At different stages of career Deborah has been working with Circus Amok, theater company “Naked Angels”, and several New York opera companies. She is a frequent recitalist at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium and has entertained audiences with Ismail Butera and David Hofstra as “The East Side Trio”. 

Through her work with several Klezmer bands, Karpel became acquainted with Yiddish language and music.  She combined this growing interest with her passion for opera to create a concert, entitled Songs My Mother Never Taught Me, for the National Yiddish Center in Amherst, MA.  She later released the CD with the same title which features lesser-known Yiddish songs culled from her paternal grandfather’s sheet music collection and, several years later, her second CD, La Promessa, showcasing her operatic prowess.

She is also the featured vocalist on five of Metropolitan Klezmer’s releases, and on the cast recording of "Blind witness News" by Ben Yarmolinsky and Charles Bernstein. (?This past year, Deborah presented the Midwood Miracle for a run at Pangea NYC, her play “You Know As I Know” had its world premiere at the “Us Too” Theater Festival in New York.

About The Midwood Miracle

The Midwood Miracle had premiered in the Fall of 2017 at Emerging Artists Theater's New Works Festival to rave reviews and warm support by the audience. The show performed by Deborah Karpel with Michael Lewis Smith at the piano and directed by Aimee Todoroff tells a family story about a Jewish girl growing up in coal mining Appalachia, VA. Some details of the script are fictional; some are taken from family archives. Vivid elements of life in Appalachia, where Karpel's mother grew up, are followed by the urban tales set in Brooklyn, NY.

The scenes of how the character's parents met, their ideals and a mix-up of quirky twists are wonderfully delivered by Karpel's amazing performance and singing. The original compositions co-written by Karpel with Ted Kociolek and Rachelle Garniez are perfectly matched along with traditional Americana, western swing, operatic arias, improvised art songs, and Yiddish songs.

The show grew out of the gift of the coincidences when in the early 1990s Deborah Karpel had to move into her father’s apartment in Midwood Brooklyn. There she found herself surrounded by her father’s family memorabilia tied-in to a Yiddish culture that had been elusive in her upbringing. Right around that time, she was asked to be the lead singer in a Klezmer band, and suddenly it seemed her heritage had come back to reclaim her!

About Multicultural Arts Exchange

With a long-term goal , of making Northeast Philadelphia a renowned cultural destination, we strive to connect connect area residents with their own cultures, histories, and stories while exposing others to the beauty and richness of worlds they may not have known about yet. Located in various venues, our year-round performing arts series always provide a new and inspiring experience. For more information and to connect with us visit our website or our Facebook page


ARTS-NY company was founded by Tatyana Polyak in 2017. ARTS-NY is a blog about selected happenings in the cultural sphere as well as reviews, historical findings, artist profiles, and the latest in the musical, art and theater circles. In addition, ARTS-NY represents a small roster of innovative musicians and artists. To find out more, please visit