Rochelle Weithorn, Founder and
Artistic Director Milarepa Children’s Theater and Chorus
Rochelle Weithorn had two loves growing up in New York City. The first
was ballet and the second was writing. While studying at the Joffrey
Ballet School she also took acting and art classes. Ms. Weithorn lived
in Northern California for a year and a half and studied with Hari Dass
Baba, a renowned yoga teacher. Hari Dass had his students perform the
Ramayana, a classical Indian Epic about Ram an Indian God and Hanuman
the monkey king. He taught his students the art of makeup, hair,
costumes, and props depicting ancient India. Ms. Weithorn had many
roles in the play such as Lakshman (Rams brother), court dancer and
Maricha, a magical Golden Deer. The troupe traveled all over Northern
California and Canada and it was with Hari Dass that Ms. Weithorn
became fascinated with ancient Indian culture.
Back in New York, Ms. Weithorn's career as a New York City Hair and
Makeup artist gave her the opportunity to work in a creative world with
such masters as The Mark Morris Dance Company and the Broadway stage.
Ms. Weithorn wrote Be Beautiful (And Stay Sane) On Your Wedding Day in
1998 and writes articles on beauty for magazines.
In 2001 Ms. Weithorn was invited to write a play about the early life
of the Buddha who lived in India as Prince Siddhartha 2,550 years ago.
She has since then gone on to write, produce and CO-direct three plays
in all. Ms. Weithorn oversees all aspects of play production. Ms.
Weithorn's last play performed in April 2008 had 38 children and young
adults in it. Ms. Weithorn is now writing her fourth play which is the
last in a trilogy of the three most influential woman in Prince
The Milarepa Children's Theater and Chorus is the company that Ms.
Weithorn formed in which children from diverse backgrounds can work on
plays and songs based on their ancient culture and wisdom. The children
are from Tibetan, Asian and Western backgrounds. Through these plays
they learn to appreciate their own culture and can take pride in who
they are. Their parents usually join in the rehearsals and it's a very
healing environment for everyone.
2001— TANGERINE OF MINDFULNESS is the story of Prince
Siddhartha’s early life as an
ascetic and his encounters with children of his own time. The play
featured children from the large Shri Lankan, Asian and Western
community in Queens. The play was performed on the occasion of Vesak
Day which is a world wide celebration of the Buddha's birth,
enlightenment and passing away. The play was performed many times over
the course of four year.
2007 — MAHAMAYA the story of Prince Siddhartha's, Mother Queen
Mahamaya, and how she influenced the choices he made which led him to
the path of awakening. It was performed in the spring of 2007.
2008 — YASODHARA a love story about Prince Siddhartha and his wife
Yasodhara and how they each supported each other in their quest for
spiritual awakening and social action. The play had 38
Sri Lankan, Tibetan, Asian and Western children and young adults and
was performed on April 28.
Present project — Ms. Weithorn is currently writing MAHAPAJAPATI the
third in a Trilogy of the three most influential women in Siddhartha's
life, Queen Mahapajapati raised Siddhartha when her sister
Mahamaya died. Later in life, Mahapajapati overcame great social
discrimination against women by
becoming the first Buddhist nun. She supported Siddhartha's choice to
leave the palace to seek a
spiritual life. The play is an in-depth look at women in India 2,550
years ago. Ms. Weithorn plans to perform the play in May 2009.