AMID FALLING WALLS (TSVISHN FALNDIKE VENT) & More Set for National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's 109th Season

The season will feature New York Sings Yiddish! and more.

By: May. 09, 2023
AMID FALLING WALLS (TSVISHN FALNDIKE VENT) & More Set for National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's 109th Season
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National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene is raising the curtain on a dynamic 109th season with a free concert New York Sings Yiddish! as part of Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage; a new musical production, Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent), which tells through Yiddish song stories of the perseverance of the Jewish spirit during the Holocaust; a star-studded Summer Soirée; two new works for young audiences; and much more.

The world's oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre company-and longest consecutively producing theatre in the United States-has also announced the Broadway transfer of its 2022 smash hit Harmony: A New Musical by the legendary Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman, with performances beginning October 18, in advance of a November 13, 2023 opening at the Barrymore Theater.

"Core to our mission is the promotion of the great literary, dramatic and musical traditions of the Yiddish theater, and showcasing opportunities to tell important Jewish stories, in other languages," said Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director Dominick Balletta. "This season ahead is filled with opportunities for audiences of all ages, from a new, original Yiddish musical to the wildly entertaining and family-friendly show, Kids & Yiddish to the Broadway debut of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony, which our audiences enjoyed in 2022. This will be one of our most dynamic seasons ever!"

Folksbiene was the original producer of the smash hit, Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, directed by the Tony and Oscar winner Joel Grey, which sold out for six months before moving uptown to a year-long run at Off-Broadway's Stage 42-and then was brought back for a limited run at New World Stages in late 2022. The show won multiple awards, including a Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Revival of a Musical), an Outer Critics Circle Award (Outstanding Revival of a Musical), a New York Drama Critics' Circle Award special citation, a Lucille Lortel Award (Outstanding Lead Actor, Steven Skybell), and an Off-Broadway Alliance Award (Best Musical Revival).

Theirr 2023/24 season follows an incredibly successful year that was anchored by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's New York City premiere of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony: A New Musical. Harmony begins performances at the Ethel Barrymore Theater October 18, in advance of a November 13 opening. Harmony tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six talented young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history. NYTF's production of Harmony was honored with the Drama Desk for Outstanding Book of a Musical (for Bruce Sussman) and was named the Outstanding Off Broadway Musical of 2022 by the Off Broadway Alliance. Harmony is currently nominated for two Lucille Lortel Awards (Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Choreography for Warren Carlyle).

Producing the Broadway production are Ken Davenport, Sandi Moran and Garry Kief. Joining the producing team (Davenport, Moran and Kief) are Hunter Arnold, Marco Santarelli, Jonathan and Rae Corr, Adam Riemer, Scott Abrams, Amuse, Inc., Patty Baker, Tom and Michael D'Angora, Susan DuBow, Michelle Kaplan, Steve Kyriakis & Matt Donaldson, Harold Matzner, and Neil Gooding Productions. Harmony is produced in association with Wilfried Rimensberger and Stiletto Entertainment.

Harmony: A New Musical is based in part on The Comedian Harmonist Archive as curated by the late Dr. Peter Czada. Tickets are now available at https://www.nytf.org/harmony-broadway.

The 109th Season Ahead

New York Sings Yiddish! - June 14, 2023

Celebrate the rich cultural legacy of Yiddish music in Central Park when National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust present New York Sings Yiddish! as part of Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage. The free evening event will feature The Klezmatics and an illustrious lineup of Yiddish theater and concert superstars, including Joanne Borts, Joshua (SoCalled) Dolgin, Cantor Magda Fishman, Sara Mina Gordon, Cantor Netanel Hershtik, Elmore James, Lea Kalisch, Daniel Kahn, Frank London, Daniella Rabbani, Eleanor Reissa, Avi Fox-Rosen, and Lorin Sklamberg.

Led by Musical Director Zalmen Mlotek and featuring Musical Arrangements by Mlotek and Frank London, the celebratory event is produced by Moishe Rosenfeld, Golden Land Concerts & Connections. Throughout the night, Yiddish lyrics will be projected on a giant screen, and available on attendees' phones via QR codes, as singers lead the audience in an unprecedented community chorus, joyously celebrating our precious cultural legacy.

With support from Workers Circle, the evening will feature a giant sing-along, celebrating the launch of YiddishSongs.org, home of The Yosl & Chana Mlotek Yiddish Song Collection at the Workers Circle. This collection is comprised of songs compiled in five anthologies by Yosl Mlotek and Chana Mlotek and contains songs that highlight important themes, cultural activities, daily life, celebrated musicians, undiscovered musicians, and much more.

Seating and standing are on a first-come, first-served basis until capacity is reached.

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's Summer Soirée - June 19, 2023

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents a celebratory evening that honors the inaugural year of NYTF's Education Initiative, launched alongside its award-winning production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and aimed at combating anti-Semitism through the performing arts. This elegant evening celebrates the students, educators, and patrons who came together to make the Education Initiative a success in its first year.

The celebration takes place at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, starting with a 6:00pm cocktail reception followed by a 7:00pm dinner and featuring a special celebrity address and an exclusive preview of musical moments from NYTF's 2023-2024 season. Adam B. Shapiro (Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) serves as the Master of Ceremonies, and the event features a special performance by Julie Benko, breakout star of Broadway's Funny Girl, as well as performances from the Schechter Bergen Children's Chorus and appearances by performing artists who have been part of Folksbiene's stellar productions (including Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish): Joanne H. Borts, Raquel Nobile, Jodi Snyder, Abby Goldfarb, Jenny Romaine, Rachel Yucht, Sophie Knapp, Avram Mlotek, Aaron Diskin, Yosef Kogan, Annette Ezekiel Kogan, Dani Apple, Avi Fox-Rosen, Frank London, Matt Temkin, Brian Glassman, Ilya Shneyveys, and Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch.

Throughout the night, attendees will get a preview of Folksbiene's upcoming shows, including Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent), Kids &Yiddish, and Hannah Senesh: Youth Edition.

The performance portion of the Summer Soirée will be streamed so that NYTF's international online audience can participate in the festivities as well. For more information and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.nytf.org/summer-soiree.

Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent) - November 14 through December 10, 2023

Presented at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent) is a new musical that tells the story of the perseverance of the Jewish spirit during the Holocaust as expressed through Yiddish song. Curated and arranged by Zalmen Mlotek, with a libretto by Avram Mlotek, and directed by Motl Didner, Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent) features material written and performed in ghettos, cabarets, partisan encampments in the forests, concentration camps, and clandestine theaters. Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent) includes firsthand testimony of Holocaust survivors through their own poetry and music. Although many of the young men and women in their 20s and 30s who created this remarkable work were murdered during World War II, their songs are brought to life in this theatrical production, the first of its kind: telling the authentic story of resistance and hope through the words and music of those who were there.

Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent)-which will be presented in Yiddish with English supertitles-was inspired by the following past musical projects of Zalmen Mlotek: Ghetto Tango, which was conceived by Adrienne Cooper and Zalmen Mlotek; Heroes and Poets by Shura Lipovsky, Zalmen Mlotek and Jeff Warschauer (which was recorded in Poland in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising); and Remember the Children; Songs For and by Children of the Holocaust, published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Funding for this project comes from an anonymous family foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Kids & Yiddish: The Mishegas Continues - December 2023 to January 2024

Kids & Yiddish: The Mishegas Continues is a wildly entertaining, family-friendly, Jewish-themed show! A New York Times critic's pick, Kids & Yiddish introduces children to the Yiddish language through Billboard chart-topping songs and pop culture in the style of Sesame Street meets Saturday Night Live. 90% English. 10% Yiddish. 100% fun.

The show was created by Yiddish Diva Joanne Borts along with NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Yiddish Troubadour Menachem Michael Fox.

Kids & Yiddish was a staple of NYTF's season from 1999 to 2011, introducing a generation of young audiences to Yiddish language through easily accessible pop culture parodies, including Harry Potter and Shrek. The New York Times said, "National Yiddish Theater - Folksbiene specializes in making connections (between Old World and New, Yiddish and English, and Jews and non-Jews), and does so hilariously in its annual holiday production Kids & Yiddish."


Kids & Yiddish will be presented this season at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Originally presented as a concert, the piece was created by Zalmen Mlotek with Adrienne Cooper, Joanne Borts and Menachem Michael Fox for the Workers Circle in 1993. Five years later, the trio reimagined Kids & Yiddish as a vibrant full production-then presented by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene for the next dozen years. With the glowing review in The New York Times, Folksbiene created a CD called "Kids & Yiddish A Musical Adventure."

Hannah Senesh: Youth Edition (Working Title) - Coming in 2024

Folksbiene brought you David Schechter's stellar one-woman show, Hannah Senesh (a play with music and song), in 2019. The show tells the true story of Hannah Senesh, the heroic young Jewish woman who escaped from Axis-allied Hungary in 1939 to the safety of British Mandate Palestine. There she joined Haganah and then bravely volunteered for a daring Special Operations mission to parachute back into Europe to save Jews from the Holocaust.

Now, Hannah's story and indomitable spirit, along with the moving diary and poetry that she left behind, is adapted into an immersive three-part theatrical and educational experience for kids and young adults, from fifth grade to college. The initiative will feature a visit to a curated exhibition around the life and impact of Hannah Senesh, immediately followed by a performance of Hannah Senesh: Youth Edition; and then a docent-led reflection/conversation experience.


Hannah Senesh: Youth Edition (Working Title) is a multi-media experience, an adaptation by David Schechter of his play with music specifically for young audiences, and is commissioned by National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Based upon the diaries and poems of Hannah Senesh, Hannah Senesh: Youth Edition is directed by David Schechter and translated from Hungarian by Marta Cohn and Peter Hay. It is developed in collaboration with and originally performed by Lori Wilner, with music composed and arranged by Steven Lutvak and featuring "One, Two, Three" composed by Elizabeth Swados, "Eli, Eli" composed by David Zehavi, and "Soon" adapted and composed by David Schechter.

About National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Now entering its 109th season, the award-winning National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is the longest consecutively producing theatre in the US and the world's oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre company. NYTF is in residence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director Dominick Balletta, NYTF is dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations and bridging communities. NYTF aims to bring history to life by reviving and restoring lost and forgotten work, commissioning new work, and adapting pre-existing work for the 21st Century. Serving a diverse 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 a century-old cultural legacy and inspires the imaginations of the next generation to contribute to this valuable body of work. Learn more at https://nytf.org/

About The Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

The Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York's contribution to the global responsibility to Never Forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third-largest Holocaust museum in the world, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of almost 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.

Each year, the Museum presents over 80 public programs, connecting our community in person and virtually through lectures, book talks, concerts, and more. For more info visit: mjhnyc.org/events. Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.

For more information, visit: mjhnyc.org




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