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A YIDDISH RENAISSANCE to be Presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

The event will feature some of the most memorable hits from NYTF's award-winning productions as well as sneak peeks of upcoming productions.

A YIDDISH RENAISSANCE to be Presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Yiddish learning and culture are experiencing a global renaissance since the language was nearly decimated by the Holocaust. There is growing interest from both Jews and non-Jews fascinated by the language and its rich cultural heritage. Yiddish festivals are flourishing. The Netflix show Shtisel is extremely popular. Enrollment in online classes has surged. Duolingo added Yiddish to its roster, with an astounding 250,000 active users since its launch in April 2021. Yiddish language, culture and literature are taught at countless universities. And, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's presentation of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish won multiple awards and went on to become its most popular production in its history.

In celebration of this global revival in Yiddish, this summer National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) will bring together more than 140 actors, singers and musicians from across the United States and the world for a sensational, one-time event - A Yiddish Renaissance: A Virtual Concert Celebration - filled with music and appearances by some of the most renowned Yiddish performers.

The benefit concert - debuting on July 26th at 2:00 PM (ET) and available to view through July 30th at 2:00 PM (ET) - will feature some of the most memorable hits from NYTF's critically acclaimed and award-winning productions as well as sneak peeks of upcoming productions. Stars from across the United States, Israel, England, Germany, Scotland, and the Netherlands will share the screen together.

Registration is required at Donations are not required but suggested to help support National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's programming. Visit the website for more information about all participants.

The event's promotional partners to date are: Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Jewish Community Relations Council, The Forward, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, YIVO, Yiddish Book Center, The Workers Circle, American Society for Jewish Music, HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir, Cantors Assembly, Yiddish Artists and Friends Actors Club, Yiddish Theatrical Alliance, Yiddishpiel Theater (Israel), TES (State Jewish Theater, Bucharest, Romania), Yung Yiddish (Israel), SKIF (Australia), Sholem Aleichem College (Australia), Kadimah (Australia), Yiddishkayt, Ashkenaz Foundation (Canada), KlezKanada (Canada), Yiddish Summer Weimar (Germany), CYCO, and Hebrew Actors Foundation.

The concert celebrates the "Yiddish Renaissance", which began with the children of Holocaust survivors who grew up in Yiddish speaking homes and attended Yiddish summer camps. Members of this generation went on to become leaders and educators at the forefront of the klezmer and cultural revitalization which began in the 1970s and continues to grow with the flowering of online classes and the recently released Duolingo Yiddish language app; online Yiddish short films; Yiddish in mainstream films and drama series Shtisel and Unorthodox; and new generations of Yiddish performers who have appeared in Yiddish theater productions in New York, Tel Aviv, Montréal, Bucharest, Warsaw, Melbourne and Paris.

A Yiddish Renaissance: A Virtual Concert Celebration features four generations of performers from 8 to 89 years old, putting front and center how links in di goldene keyt (the golden chain) are passed fun dor tsu dor (from generation to generation).

One of the driving forces fostering a love of Yiddish - for a half-century - has been Zalmen Mlotek, as well as his family. His storied career in Yiddish theatre, including decades as the Artistic Director at NYTF, has brought a new generation of singers and actors into Yiddish theatre, and introduced Yiddish to countless audiences.

A Yiddish Renaissance: A Virtual Concert Celebration will pay tribute to Mlotek in celebration of his 70th birthday and 50-year career dedicated to Yiddish music and theatre. As he developed new productions and introduced young actors and singers to Yiddish theatre, Mlotek has brought NYTF to new heights as one of New York's premiere off-Broadway theatre companies and to international recognition, including bringing Joel Grey-directed Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish to life at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, and then moving it uptown to Stage 42 Off-Broadway.

"Zalmen Mlotek is one of the leading lights of Yiddish culture in the world," said Dominick Balletta, Executive Director at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. "For five decades, he has nurtured, mentored, supported and championed the artistry of Yiddish in every art form. A Juilliard-trained conductor, his curiosity and appetite quickly spread to plays, concerts, musical theater, poetry and literature. Under his guidance, the Folksbiene has become a leading force throughout the history and exciting future of Yiddish. This event is an evening of celebration and exuberance as we enter our 107th season."

The mid-summer celebration caps off an incredibly successful year of virtual performances and events amid the pandemic, from a Chanukah celebration and Yiddish Women's Playwrights Festival to living room concerts and "15 Minute Yiddish" lessons, and will feature the award-winning casts from recent NYTF productions, including Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (Fiddler Afn Dakh), which won top awards from the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel, Off-Broadway Alliance, and Artios, among others.

Audiences will be able to relive magical moments from Drama Desk nominees On Second Avenue and Di Goldene Kale (The Golden Bride); Drama Desk Award winner Di Yam Gazlonim (Yiddish Pirates of Penzance); Amerike The Golden Land; and, Kids and Yiddish, as well as other favorites. Many of the numbers will feature a virtual 30-piece orchestra.

Among those directing and editing the special presentation are: Joanne Borts, Ben Liebert, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Elisha Mlotek, Merete Muenter, Tony Perry, Eleanor Reissa, Allen Lewis Rickman, and Adam B. Shapiro. And the event features musical arrangements by Frank London and D. Zisl Slepovitch.

The event is produced by NYTF's Associate Artistic Director Motl Didner, creator of the hit online show "15 Minute Yiddish." The full cast of presenters and performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene would like to express gratitude to the Performers' Unions: Actors' Equity Association, American Guild of Musical Artists, American Guild of Variety Artists, and SAG-AFTRA through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the Artists to appear on this program. A Yiddish Renaissance: A Virtual Concert Celebration is a benefit for the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene through permission from Theatre Authority, Inc.

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