National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene to Present LIES MY FATHER TOLD ME, 11/10-21
For its 99th season, the National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene will present one of the largest productions in its history, the American premiere of a new musical based on the 1975 Academy-Award-nominated film Lies My Father Told Me adapted from the works of Ted Allan.
This coming-of-age musical with a cast of 17 and an orchestra of 7, Lies My Father Told Me, begins previews Sunday, November 10, at 2:00pm for an opening Thursday, November 21, at 7:30pm at the Nagelberg Theater, Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue. Lies My Father Told Me is performed in English.
Musical Adaptation and direction by National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene's Executive Director Bryna Wasserman with music, lyrics & orchestrations by Elan Kunin, musical direction and orchestra conducted by Michael Larsen, music supervision by Zalmen Mlotek and choreography by Merete Muenter, Lies My Father Told Me follows three generations of a Montreal immigrant family during the final great wave of North American immigration in the 1920s. Lies My Father Told Me recounts Ted Allan's childhood memories of the people and events that would shape his life.
Featured in Lies My Father Told Me are Chuck Karel, Jonathan Raviv, Russell Arden Koplin, Alex Dreier, Joe Paparella, Renee Bang Allen, Leisa Mather, Jonathan Hadley, Gordon Stanley and Ashley Brooke. They are backed up by a chorus of six, Chris Karl, Eva Amesse, Tina Mancini, Max Nussbaum, David Rosenberg, Siria Rutstein and Jeremy Burch.
Chuck Karel, taking on the role originated three years ago by Theodore Bikel in the award-winning Segal Center in Montreal, is a Broadway musical veteran who was featured in the original Hello Dolly with Carol Channing and Ginger Rogers, Milk and Honey with Robert Weede, Golden Rainbowwith Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Dear World with Angela Lansbury and Zorba, in which he understudied the great Anthony Quinn. His baritone has been heard on the stages of The Metropolitan Opera, the late New York City Opera and several major operatic venues throughout Europe and America.
Jonathan Raviv was recently seen in Off Broadway in My Name Is Asher, The Persians and Hello My Name Is... .Russell Arden Koplin has appeared on Broadway in Les Miserables and James Joyce's The Dead. Alex Dreier was seen on Broadway in The Assembled Parties and Billy Elliot. Joe Paparella has performed on Broadway in Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar and Good Vibrations. Renée Bang Allen made her professional debut in Grand Hotel - The Musical, directed by Tommy Tune, made her Broadway debut as Company, directed by John Doyle and appeared Off Broadway in Secrets of a Soccer Mom, directed by Judith Ivey. Leisa Mather has, for ten years, performed in Forbidden Broadway as well as around the country in The Sound of Music, Camelot, Carousel, and Ragtime. Jonathan Hadley appeared on Broadway and round the country in Jersey Boys as well as tours of Into the Woods, Fiddler on the Roof and Forbidden Broadway. Gordon Stanley's Broadway credits includeBeauty and the Beast, Ragtime and Cabaret. This is Ashley Brooke's professional debut performance.
Scenery is designed by John C. Dinning, lighting by Natalie Robin, costumes by Izzy Fields, and sound by Benjamin Furiga. Christopher Massimine is the supervising producer, Marci Skolnick is the production stage manager, and Ken Larson is the production manager.
Ted Allan (1916 - 1995) started out in life as Alan Herman and was raised in Montreal's hard St. Urbain Street neighborhood. He went to Spain to fight the fascists, and later was part of a gang of talented Canadians who invaded the British media and entertainment business in the 1950s. His fighting for the Spanish Republic put him on the Blacklist in North American in the 1950s. Mr. Allan eventually settled in Hollywood in the 1970s and, among other assignments, was the script doctor on the movie Yentl starring Barbra Streisand. His screenwriting credits include Son Copain (1950), The Money Makers(TV-1952), The Webster Boy (1962), Seven Times a Day (1975), Lies My Father Told Me (1975), It Rained All Night the Day, I Left (1980), Falling In Love Again (1980), Love Streams (1984), I'm Almost Not Crazy... John Cassavetes: The Man And His Work (1984) and Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990).
Ms. Wasserman directed the world premiere of the musical in Montreal in 2010. Before becoming the Executive Director of The National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene in 2011, Ms. Wasserman transformed the Segal Centre for Performing Arts into one of Canada's leading, award-winning theatres. For her contribution, Ms. Wasserman was recognized with a special MECCA and a Quebec Drama Federation award, and the Mlotek Prize. The highly successful Montreal International Yiddish Theatre Festival (2008, 2011) was her creation. Her recent directing credits include: The Golden Land (2013 Drama Desk Nomination - Outstanding Musical Revival), Lies My Father Told Me, Man Of La Mancha, Duddy The Musical, God Of Vengeance, The Dybbuk, Houdini, On Second Avenue (Drama Desk Nomination - Outstanding Musical Revival) and Fiddler On The Roof.
Elan Kunin, music and lyrics, is Artist in Residence for the Segal Centre of the Performing Arts and has established himself as an award-winning composer/lyricist over the last 15 years. His works include Lies My Father Told Me by Ted Allan, starring Theodore Bikel, The Jazz Singer based on the 1927 original Broadway play, and Houdini by the late Melville Shavelson. Elan is currently working on a brand new "Anti-Bullying" musical, One, for kids ages 10-16. He has also been commissioned to write a new musical based on Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo. An accomplished arranger and orchestrator, Elan worked on numerous productions in Montreal, New York and in Europe. He is currently in production for the new animated television series Wakalainie Wakalou.
Michael Larsen, music director and conductor, has played on Broadway as pianist for original Annie, Nine, and 42nd Street and was music director or pianist Off-Broadway for Perez Hilton Saves The Universe, Little Shop Of Horrors and The Golden Land.
Zalmen Mlotek, Artistic Director of National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene, is music supervisor for Lies My Father Told Me. An internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theatre music, Mr. Mlotek is a leading figure in the Jewish theatre and concert worlds. He brought Yiddish-Klezmer music to Broadway and Off-Broadway stages as co-creator, music director, and conductor of Those Were The Days, the first bilingual musical honored with a Drama Desk Award and nominated for two Tony Awards as well as the recent Off Broadway hit The Golden Land. He was a composer, arranger, and music director for Isaac Bashevis Singer and Robert Brustein's acclaimed production of Shlemiel The First.
Merete Muenter, choreographer, has directed and choreographed the Woodstock Playhouse production of Chicago, choreographed the national tour ofBurlesque To Broadway and The Folksbiene's The Megile Of Itzik Manger among other productions in North America and Europe.
The Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene, which celebrates its centenary in 2015, is the longest continuously producing Yiddish theatre company in the world, and America's sole-surviving professional Yiddish theatre. The company presents plays, concerts, literary events and workshops in English and Yiddish, with English and Russian supertitles accompanying most performances. The company's mission is to celebrate the Jewish experience through the performing arts and to transmit a rich cultural legacy in exciting new ways.
Evening performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays 6:00pm. Matinees are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 2:00pm. There are no performances Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays.
Tickets are $60 Orchestra, $50 Balcony. Tickets can be purchased at (646) 312-5073 or www.nationalyiddishtheatre.org. Lies My Father Told Meruns through December 15.