Bella, An Immigrant's Tale
With Bella, An Immigrant's Tale, Vicki Summers has penned a true love story. This charming one woman show takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Bella's tale paints a picture of a life full of courage, joy, patience, disappointment and resolve. As she takes us along her journey, it is evident that in spite of or maybe because of the many challenges she faced, Bella is full of love for life itself and especially for her family. It is impossible to leave a performance untouched by Bella.
-- Elizabeth L.
The Judaic Studies program at the University of Maine was honored to host a performance of "Bella" by Vicki Summers in December 2022. Vicki kept a diverse audience of students, faculty, and local community members hanging on every word as her grandmother, relating the harrowing, but above all intensely human, story of her immigration to the United States to escape Russian pogroms in what is now Ukraine. Vicki tells her family's story with passion, humor, and imagination. I could almost feel the rocking of the ship Bella took to cross the Atlantic. In an era all too obsessed with statistical measures, Vicki's "Bella" tells a particular and distinctly Jewish story that is also the story of so many of us with heart. It's the story of seeking a better life for ourselves and our posterity. What could be more essential to remember and be inspired by?
--Professor Derek Michaud
University of Maine, Orono, ME
Vicki Summers has created something quite moving and beautiful in her
one woman play, Bella, An Immigrant's Tale, about her grandmother's life. Vicki seamlessly becomes the people in Bella's life as she navigates the challenges of being a woman and an immigrant in 20th century America. Nuanced and multi-layered, Summers brings us into the everyday where we get to experience the subtle and great daily choices that make up a life.
As a teacher and veteran performer, Vicki is also available to lead
post-performance discussions about her process as well as topics
connected to the play.
-- Susan Stein
Playwright, Internationally Performing Solo Actress/Educator
Bella, An Immigrant’s Tale was beyond amazing, one of the most memorable performances of my life!! And the play is beautiful and moving and funny... absolutely phenomenal. Congratulations... and I have a feeling you're going to be very busy. Bella kind of stayed with me for a while. It's that kind of experience that cuts right into your heart and mind and memories .... just amazing!
-- Yvonne M.
So much effort and care is put into her performance, from the set, to her costume (even wearing the main character, Bella’s real jewelry) to the slideshow and discussion afterwards. The story of family really resonated with the residents who are still talking about it to this day. One of our residents stated “we will never have anything as top notch as this”, meaning her performance would be hard to beat, and she’s right! One of our residents exclaimed she “deserves an Oscar”! The best part is that Vicki truly seems to enjoy what she does, and listening to the stories of the members who are inspired to share with her after. It isn’t just watching someone act, it’s a whole experience that you feel apart of.
As a Recreation Director, I get a lot of credit for hosting such talent like Vicki. The accolades that come my way, “how did you find her?!”, “thank you for bringing her to us”, “that was wonderful!” make me feel good and makes my job easy! She drew a huge crowd, and I’m certain everyone walked away impressed!
Atrium at the Cedars, Portland, ME
Vicki Summers’ recent performance of Bella, an Immigrant’s Tale at Temple Beth-El in Ormond Beach, Florida, was a resounding critical success. Ms. Summers portrays the life and times of her grandmother Bella. She evokes the very essence of Bella on stage. We are engrossed in Ms. Summers’ heartfelt enactment of Bella’s trials and tribulations, as well as the love and success of this immigrant woman. In this genuine and earnest drama, Vicki Summers convincingly depicts the story of Bella. In a broader sense, this extraordinary presentation reflects the challenges and rewards of American immigrant life. Ms. Summers becomes totally immersed in her portrayal of her dear grandmother. “Bella, an Immigrant’s Tale” elicits fond memories of our own family histories.
-- Rabbi Barry Altman
Vicki Summers ability to offer a one woman show depicting her grandmother’s life in the 1920’s in Russia is captivating, heart-touching and educational. Her gifts of drama, storytelling and song combine to carry the audience through a family’s story of survival and love. Vicki uses well crafted props to animate the storytelling and bring the life of her beloved grandmother into the hearts of the listeners.
It was a pleasure to work with Vicki in the preparation for the event, she responds with professionalism and efficiency. It is an honor to recommend Vicki’s show “Bella” to any organization looking for meaningful programming, especially those working with the senior population.
--Karen J. Spangler
Orleans Senior Center, Orleans, MA
It is wonderful ... touching, witty and funny. Vicki adds a dose of reality and much love as she portrays her Grandma Bella Indianer, so very appropriately named Bella. You will fall in love with Bella and Vicki. Don't miss it.
-- Ed I.
Vicki Summers brings her beloved grandmother and her immigration story to life in her one-woman show Bella, An Immigrant's Tale, Vicki’s portrayal is nothing short of poignant, in both her writing and performance. Her portrait is both loving and honest, skirting neither the complex nuances of Bella’s marriage nor the challenges she faced in her personal life both before and after immigrating to escape the pogroms. “Bella” leaves the audience inspired, wishing for more information about their own ancestors and feeling privileged to have “met” Bella through Vicki’s perseverance and talents in portraying her own grandmother’s story. I highly recommend “Bella” for both Jewish and secular educational, senior, and community institutions. It is an ideal performance for a multigenerational audience, as well.
-- Pamela Rothstein
Director of Lifelong Learning
Falmouth Jewish Congregation
Bravo and Bravo again, Vicki! The performance and the writing were superb. Thanks for sharing such a moving piece. It's a play that can stir important family memories in all of us. I loved every minute.
I had the privilege recently of seeing Vicki perform Bella, An Immigrant's Tale. It was touching, enlightening, emotional, and at times, funny. A whirlwind of emotions that left you wanting to know more about your own history. Vicki performs each character so convincingly that you'll forget it's a one-woman show! I encourage everyone to see this play.
-- Lesli S.
It was magnetic how Vicki and the audience came together immediately as she stepped on stage. How nice it was to see a tribute by this wonderful actress for her grandmother.
-- Ari I.
I was so moved by your story, by the writing, by the acting. My own Jewish grandparents immigrated from Russia around the same time as your grandmother. You brought me right back to my Bubby’s stories. Your piece has a way of bringing in the universal experience of immigrants. I also loved the photos at the end. Thank you so much for a brilliant night of theatre.
-- Wilderness S.
What an incredible play! Vicki Summers is so talented and draws the audience in the minute the play starts. I felt like I was a part of Bella’s life! I highly recommend this play to anyone who has the opportunity. Amazing!!!
-- Cathy S.
As an actress and drama teacher myself, I was blown away by Bella, An Immigrant's Tale performed and written by Vicki Summers. The story plays to all age groups from students learning about what it was like to flee terror and try to make a life in a new country, to older adults who can say that was my family's story. Ms Summers brings her story vividly to life so that you can "see" all the characters. I highly recommend Bella.
-- Kay B.
Just wanted you to know that your wonderful play has struck such a chord in me... I keep thinking of Bella’s story and your ability to deliver it in such a warm and loving performance. I was close to my grandparents - loved spending as much time with them as I could.....you’ve reminded me of those special years I had.
-- Chris H.
Bella, An Immigrant’s Tale was amazing! So much of the story resonated with me as my own family had a similar journey. Bella would have been so proud of the story you shared and how you shared it.
-- Judy F.
Vicki Summers’ vibrant and exhilarating performance in Bella, An Immigrant’s Tale is a deeply personal story that illuminates what it takes, and what it means to uproot your life in one country and begin it again in a new one.
-- Kathy Remillard, Librarian
Brewster Ladies Library
I thoroughly enjoyed Bella and your heartfelt rendition of your Grandma's tale of her life as an immigrant . It brought a few tears and many laughs and sweet memories of my own grandmother. Thank you so much.
-- Maura C.