Story of 19th Century Jewish ‘Picture Bride’ Told in Musical Memoir ‘Rachel Calof’ at Stockton Jan. 29

For Immediate Release

Contact:         Maryjane Briant
                        News and Media Relations Director
                        Galloway, N.J. 08205
                        (609) 652-4593

Galloway, N.J. - Follow the story of Jewish “picture bride” Rachel Calof, as she emigrates from Russia to Devil’s Lake, North Dakota in 1894 to marry a man she has never met. “Rachel Calof - A Memoir with Music,” will be presented in Stockton’s Campus Center Theatre on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m.

The show stars Kate Fuglei, a critically acclaimed actress who has appeared on the television series “NCIS” and “Masters of Sex,” and in leading theatre roles at the Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, NY Shakespeare Festival and LA Shakespeare Festival, among others.

The show, based on the memoir, “Rachel Calof's Story: Jewish Homesteader on the Northern Plains” received the coveted “Best Musical” Award, when it was chosen to be highlighted in the 2015 United Solo Theatre Festival in New York.

Born in 1876, Rachel Bella Kahn traveled from Russia to the U.S. at the age of 18 for an arranged marriage to Abraham Calof.  She and her husband lived in a 12’x14’ shack with a dirt floor at the edge of the prairie with her in-laws, her husband’s brother, wife and children and two dozen chickens and a cow. The family endured many dangers, including droughts, hailstorms, and blinding snowstorms. Under harsh and primitive conditions, she bore and raised nine children. Drawing on strength, humor and resolve, Calof persevered. Written when she was 55 and living in St. Paul, Calof’s memoir is a vital record of Jewish struggle and triumph on the frontier. Her children discovered the manuscript after her death and it was published by Indiana University Press in 1995. 

Critics say Fuglei powerfully enacts Calof’s courage to come to a new land, her sense of humor, her capacity to endure brutal hardships and her quest for a home of her own. The show takes

the audience on a journey filled with challenges and pleasant surprises with Calof’s transformative spirit and a genuine love for life. The play features original music and lyrics by Leslie Steinweiss. The book was adapted for the stage by Ken LaZebnik.

Tickets are $32 or $8 for senior citizens and students with identification. Visit to purchase tickets or call the Box Office at 609-652-9000. The box office is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 90 minutes prior to each performance.

The production is sponsored by the School of Arts & Humanities, the Stockton Performing Arts Center, the School of General Studies and the Performing Arts Program.