Libby SkalaNew York, NY
LIBBY SKALA has charmed audiences internationally with her critically-acclaimed solo plays Lilia!, about her Oscar-nominated actress grandmother
Lilia Skala; A Time to Dance, about her great aunt, Austrian modern dancer and award-winning dance therapy pioneer Elizabeth Polk; and Felicitas, about her great aunt Felicitas Sofer, a tough-love Austrian baby nurse. Her newest play Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer veers from the family tree to portray a Polish Catholic woman whose universal sense of family impels her to save thousands of Jewish lives.
Libby performed Lilia! in a successful Off-Broadway run at the Arclight Theatre, produced by Mirror Repertory Company; at The Groundlings Theatre in Los Angeles presented by founder Gary Austin; and to sold out houses in London, Seattle, Toronto and Winnipeg (where it was selected “Best Show” out of 118 shows by University of Manitoba Radio (CJUM) at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival). Lilia! enjoyed a critically-acclaimed run at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver, followed by performances in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia and Berlin and Dresden, Germany. It toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and ran for three weeks in London, sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum.
Libby’s second show, A Time to Dance won her a “Best Solo Performer Award” at The London Fringe Theatre Festival. She also performed it at the award-winning St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Prescott, Ontario, at The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), and in Emerging Artists Theatre One-Woman Standing Series. Additional performances include a three-week run in Vancouver as part of Pacific Theatre’s 25th anniversary season, tours to Fire Exit Theatre in Calgary and to Berlin and Dresden, Germany.
Her third show, Felicitas, a play with live music by Steve May, was performed at Emerging Artists Theatre One Woman Standing Festival in New York City, at The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) directed by Janice L. Goldberg, and at Performing Art Centers and Universities across the United States.
Irena Sendler: Rescuing the Rescuer was developed with the support of Life in a Jar Foundation, and was performed at Orlando Shakespeare Theatre during Arts for All Day, sponsored by The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. It features live original music by Steve May.
Libby’s non-solo work includes appearing with Rosemary Harris, Marian Seldes, Elizabeth Ashley, Jayne Atkinson, Ronald Rand and David Margulies, reading from books published by The Feminist Press at the Jewish Museum in New York. Regionally, she played the role of Viola in Twelfe Night at the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in Canada; and in Value of Names directed by Jeffrey Sweet at Theatre J in Washington, DC. She makes appearances in the award-winning film festival hit Dogs in the Basement aka Unscrewed, and in Jonathan Glazer’s Birth, starring Nicole Kidman.
The Last Frontier Theatre Conference invited Libby to perform and teach workshops in solo writing and performance at The Prince William Sound Community College, a branch of the University of Alaska in Valdez. She has also been an artist in residence at elementary and junior high schools in Scottsdale, AZ, and teaches workshops for children and adults in conjunction with her performances. Libby graduated from Oberlin College, studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and is an award recipient of The Pandella Cultural Fund in Switzerland.
Interview and Clips of Libby Skala in her one-woman play LILIA!
The indomitable Lilia Skala comes to life in her granddaughter’s deeply personal celebration of a life in the theatre. Buoyed by a resolute faith, the Austrian stage actress flees the Third Reich and finds herself laboring in a New York zipper factory before working her way back to Broadway and the silver screen – eventually to star in the acclaimed “Lilies of the Field” for which she received an Academy Award nomination.
Libby Skala in A Time to Dance trailer
Libby Skala interweaves storytelling, music and dance to portray the dazzling 100 years of her great aunt Elizabeth Polk who transcends poverty, artistic repression and the rise of Hitler through the love of dance to become a renowned dance therapy pioneer.