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Russell Kaback's


Autumn Michaud

25044 is a one-man musical story, written and performed by Russell Kaback, based on the life of his grandfather Szyjek Magier, a Polish Jewish teenager who spent four years in the Nazi labor and concentration camps.


Presented in Russell’s unique theatrical storytelling style that weaves together original songs, guitar, characters, sound effects and gestures, the piece incorporates personal interviews, testimonies, in-depth research and imagination.


Russell Kaback’s 25044 invites the audience to consider the experience of one young man’s heart-wrenching journey, reminding us that life and hope can endure.


The show runs 60 minutes with no intermission and is for audiences ages 13 and up.

Created, written, composed and performed by Russell Kaback.

With storytelling coaching and creative contributions by Antonio Rocha. @russellkaback





Russell Kaback is a musician and educator based in South Portland, Maine. He teaches in K-12 classrooms, and writes, produces and performs original music.  He received the 2016 Joel and Linda Abromson Award and the 2018 Maine Arts Commission Project Grant in support of bringing his musical story, based on his grandfather’s experience during the Holocaust, into schools in Maine. This work has been performed in schools in Maine and Massachusetts since 2014, at the PortFringe festival in Portland, and in his grandfather’s hometown of Bendzin, Poland in 2018.  In 2022 he began collaboration with master storyteller Antonio Rocha to create the one-man musical storytelling version of the show, titled “25044”.  The performance debuted in front of an 8th grade audience in Turner, Maine in March 2023.


Antonio Rocha (storytelling coach and creative contributor), originally from Brazil, began his career in the performing arts in 1985. In 1988 he received a Partners of the Americas grant to come to the USA to perform and deepen his mime skills with Mime Master Tony Montanaro. Since then he has earned a Summa Cum Laude Theater BA from University of Southern Maine and studied with Master Marcel Marceau. Mr. Rocha’s unique fusion of mime and spoken word has been performed from Singapore to South Africa and many places in between, including 20 countries on 6 continents and 44 US states.

What people are saying about Russell Kaback’s “25044”:


“The way you told your grandfather’s story was by far the most meaningful and real story I have seen.”

“Intuitive and raw.”

“I hope that you continue sharing this story because as a society, we mustn't forget the horrors and the humanity of the Holocaust.”

“It felt like I was watching a movie in my head using imagination.”

“What a lovely way to discuss a heart wrenching topic into something suitable for even children.”

“This was a strong, emotional, impactful performance.” 

“His style of storytelling through movement, motion, and song was so captivating.”


VIDEO SAMPLE (5 minutes)

Amherst Regional High School - Amherst, Massachusetts. March 2023