This fall the National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene will revive "The Golden Land," for five weeks, from Sunday October 28 to December 2, with an opening on Sunday November 4 at 6pm. Created by Zalmen Mlotek and Moishe Rosenfeld, and directed by Bryna Wasserman, "The Golden Land" uses period music and other source material to create "a richly textured evocation of New York as it absorbed wave upon wave of Jewish immigrants from the 1880's into the 1910s, and again, in a second starkly different phase immediately before and after World War II."
"The Golden Land" marks the beginning of the Folksbiene's 98th consecutive season.
The five-week engagement runs form Sunday October 28 to Sunday December 2 at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue (at 25th Street). For tickets, which are $55, visit the Baruch Performing Arts Center box office, or call 866/811-4111, or visit www.nationalyiddishtheatre.org
"Our show chronicles precise moments in history, and it captures a distinctly Jewish milieu," says director Wasserman, who came to New York from Montreal's Segal Centre last season to serve as Folksbiene's executive director. "This is the journey of all immigrants to find a place in the larger American community. The story is universal, broadly appealing to all immigrant groups, and really all Americans."
Folksbiene will cultivate a diverse audience to experience "The Golden Land," by reaching out to school groups across the city and by leveraging its 6-year relationship with the City University of New York, which has partnered with Folksbiene to bring the riches of the Yiddish theatre to underserved audiences across the city.
Folksbiene will explore the topics of assimilation, cultural identity, upward mobility, and social justice for the poor – all as relevant today as a century ago -- by hosting a number of panel discussions and pre-show talks, and producing a study guide for the production with the help of key experts, academics and artists. The production will also partner with a short list of theatre groups and arts presenters raising awareness for complimentary shows, events, readings and exhibitions that explore the unique immigrant experiences of other ethnic groups, as well as The Commonalities among these groups.
"'The Golden Land' is a musical touchstone," says Mlotek, the internationally recognized conductor, composer and Yiddish music authority who is also Folksbiene's artistic director. "It is a snapshot of time, in which we mix the familiar and unfamiliar, real-life events, historic events with the domestic lives of the characters. The technique is especially interesting when you juxtapose English and Yiddish, as if we were overhearing the pages of history come to life."
The show's cast of six will be announced shortly.
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. For more Folksbiene season information, visit www.nationalyiddishtheatre.org, or call 212/213-2120.