National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene to Honor Tony Award-Winner Jerry Zaks at All-Star Benefit Concert

By: Nov. 01, 2017
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For one night only, the biggest and brightest names on Broadway will light the stage in an all-star benefit concert, Broadway: A Jewish American Legacy, December 18, 2017, at 7pm, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Place, NY, NY).

Presented by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF), Broadway: A Jewish American Legacy will honor Jerry Zaks, iconic four-time Tony Award-winning director, for his indelible contributions to both American Musical Theatre and Jewish life through his work in entertainment. The evening will also feature a special Award presentation to Bruce E. Slovin, the Founder of the Center for Jewish History and former Director of Circle in the Square Theatre. Slovin will be the first recipient of The Jewish Cultural Legacy Award, which will be named in his honor for future recipients. The concert will be followed by a post-performance dessert reception.

"Much of what we know today as Broadway theater has its roots largely grounded from the heyday of the 2nd Avenue Yiddish Theatre," says NYTF CEO Christopher Massimine. "It's our tremendous privilege to celebrate these origins and to honor Jerry for his vast contributions to the 'big stage,' his direct connection to the Yiddish language, and his promotion of Jewish culture through the arts."

"Today, we continue the tradition of using the arts as a vehicle for cultural awareness," says NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek. "The National Yiddish Theatre works tirelessly to bridge divides and build community using the experiences of the Jewish people as a means to rebuke prejudice and ignorance, and to provide a living legacy for the Yiddish culture."

The star-studded intimate concert will consist of song selections from the repertoire of Broadway's Jewish writers and composers. Confirmed participants include SAG Award winner, 6-time-Emmy Award nominee and four-time Tony Award nominee Victor Garber ("Argo," "Titanic," and soon to appear in Hello! Dolly!), 4-time-Emmy Award winner and Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce (Hello, Dolly!, Curtains, Spamalot, "Frasier"), Tony Award winner Gavin Creel (Hello, Dolly!, Hair, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Tony Award-winner and Emmy Award-nominee Ron Rifkin (Cabaret, "Brothers and Sisters, "Alias"), Tony Award nominee Liz Larsen (Beautiful, Hairspray, Damn Yankees), Tony Award nominee Eleanor Reissa (Indecent, Those Were the Days, Conversations with My Father), Richard H. Blake (A Bronx Tale: The Musical, Legally Blonde), Katrina Lenk (The Band's Visit, Indecent, Once), Judy Blazer (A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Lovemusik, Titanic), Joanne Borts (Once, Fiddler on the Roof, Cinderella), Glenn Seven Allen (Light in the Piazza, Candide), Elmore James (Beauty and the Beast, Big River), Stephanie Lynne Mason (Fiddler on the Roof, Million Dollar Quartet), Sophie Knapp (Once, Les Misérables), Adina Verson (Indecent), Magda Fishman (renown Cantor), Rachel Policar (The Golden Bride), and Rachel Zatcoff (Phantom of the Opera, The Golden Bride).

Additional participants to be announced in the forthcoming weeks.

The evening's noteworthy Co-Chairs include Robert De Niro, Nathan Lane, Bernadette Peters, Harvey Fierstein, Sheldon Harnick, Chazz Palminteri, Daryl Roth, and Emanuel Azenberg. Jamibeth Margolis serves as the concert's director with Mlotek as music director and conductor. NYTF Associate Artistic Director Motl Didner curates the evening with Massimine producing, and Production Stage Management by Sean Francis Patrick.

Broadway: A Jewish American Legacy plays Edmond J. Safra Theatre at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, on Monday, December 18, 7pm. For details about VIP PACKAGES and individual tickets, call (212) 213-2120, Ext. 208 or visit

Jerry Zaks has directed more than 30 productions in New York, and is currently represented on Broadway by Hello, Dolly!, Meteor Shower and A Bronx Tale: The Musical. He has received four Tony Awards and has been nominated eight times. He has also received four Drama Desk Awards, two Outer Critics Circle Awards and an OBIE Award. His credits include Shows For Days, Sister Act, The Addams Family, Guys and Dolls, Six Degrees of Separation, Lend Me a Tenor, House of Blue Leaves, The Front Page, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Smokey Joe's Café, Anything Goes, La Cage aux Folles, Little Shop of Horrors, The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Foreigner, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, and the original production of Assassins. He began his plays directing the plays of Christopher Durang including Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You, Beyond Therapy, Baby With the Bath Water and The Marriage of Bette and Boo. He directed the award-winning film Marvin's Room, starring Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton, and Who Do You Love?, which was featured in the Toronto Film Festival. For television he has directed episodes of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Frasier," among others. Mr. Zaks is a founding member, and serves on the Board, of The Ensemble Studio Theater. He received the SDC's George Abbott Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He graduated from Dartmouth in 1967, and received an MFA from Smith College in 1969, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Dartmouth in 1999. He is a 2013 inductee to the Theater Hall of Fame.

Bruce E. Slovin is a Brooklyn native who received a B.A. Degree in Economics from Cornell University and attended the Columbia University Graduate School of Business Administration. He received his Juris Doctor in Corporate Law and Taxation from Harvard Law School and married Francesca Cernia, a graduate of the University of Rome, Italy with a doctorate in philosophy. Mr. Slovin has been the President of 1 Eleven Associates since 2000 as a result of his long career in various operating and financial positions. He has served and continues to serve as Director of a variety of companies including The Coleman Company, Andrews Group, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Cantel Industries, Power Control Technologies, Meridian Sports, Infu-Tech, SIGA Technologies, Kuala Healthcare and many more. In the 1990's, he was Director of Circle in the Square Theatre, and he has also served as the Trustee of many of New York City's most important institutions such as Beth Israel Medical Center, Park East Synagogue and the Morris Jumel Mansion, and the Educational Alliance. Mr. Slovin is currently a Director of the American Jewish Historical Society and prides himself in his service as Chairman Emeritus of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. He founded The Center for Jewish History in 2000 and currently serves as Co-Chair with Ira H. Jolles.

Now celebrating its 103rd season, Tony Award nominated and Drama Desk Award winning National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is the longest consecutively producing theatre in the US and the world's oldest continuously operation Yiddish theatre company. Dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations and bridging communities, NYTF brings history to life by reviving the lost and forgotten gems of the Yiddish stage through its global restoration project, commissioning new work, and adapting pre-existing work for the 21st Century. Serving a versatile audience comprised of performing arts patrons, cultural enthusiasts, Yiddish-language aficionados and the general public, the company presents plays, musicals, concerts, lectures, interactive educational workshops and community-building activities in English and Yiddish, with English and Russian supertitles accompanying performances. NYTF provides access to the hundreds of years of cultural expression, aiming to inspire the imaginations of the next generation to contribute their own stories to this valuable work.

For more information about Broadway: A Jewish American Legacy or the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, call (212) 213-2120 or visit

Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski

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