National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene To Host A Jewish Holiday Tradition On December 25th at THE SORCERESS
Christmas Day for American Jews is observed by an annual ritual, one born alongside Yiddish Theatre in the immigrant communities of the Lower East Side: dining out on Chinese food.
On December 25, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) will host an elaborate Chinese food buffet in between performances of The Sorceress (Di Kishefmakherin), a magical, musical Yiddish fantasy starring an innocent young heroine, her dashing fiancé, a devious stepmother, and a scheming witch that takes its audience into a world of illusion, intrigue, and suspense. These performances will take place on December 25 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place, NYC.
"The joke goes like this: If the Hebrew calendar year is 5780 and the lunar calendar year is 4717, that must mean that-against all odds-Jews went without Chinese food for 1,063 years!," said Dominick Balletta, Executive Director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. "Borscht belt humor aside, American Jewish families and friends consider an annual Christmas Day trip to their favorite Chinese restaurant (typically the only establishments open) to be part of their cultural history-it's a ritual based on foods at once foreign and familiar."
"Holidays are celebrated with traditional foods shared throughout the generations-these are the foods we typically serve at LOX Café at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. While Christmas is not a Jewish holiday, still Jews have established a food tradition for the day," said Madison and Park Hospitality Catering Executive Chef, David Teyf. "We welcome this opportunity to spread our culinary wings and share in the community experience of noshing on Chinese food."
The all-you-can-eat buffet-catered by Madison and Park Hospitality and Catering which operates the acclaimed LOX Café at the Museum of Jewish Heritage-will feature pastrami egg rolls, General Tso's chicken (gluten-free), vegetable fried rice (gluten-free), and vegetable noodles. Guests can enjoy a special mazl kikhl (fortune cookie) at the end of the meal, each with a Jewish folk-saying, proverb, or witticism. The buffet will be served from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., after the matinee and before the evening performances.
At 3:45 p.m., join Zalmen Mlotek, Dominick Balletta, and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and Museum of Jewish Heritage community in uplifting song and words to celebrate the fourth night of Chanukah with a special pre-buffet candle lighting ceremony.
Orchestra seats for the buffet and show are $126 and mezzanine seats for both are $108 (limited early-bird offer). Tickets are available at https://nytf.org/events/sorceress-december25/ and by calling 866-811-4111.
About The Sorceress:
This musical, written in 1878, is one of the earliest works of Yiddish theater and the first formal Yiddish theatrical production introduced in America by the celebrated Thomashefsky family. The fully restored orchestrations are based, in part, on pre-Holocaust musical arrangements which were saved from destruction at the hands of the Nazis by the famed "Paper Brigade" of the YIVO in Vilna, who risked their lives to save thousands of unique documents and manuscripts. This fully staged work is the culmination of a project which NYTF began in 2017 to restore this classic.
Tickets for previews-which run from December 1 through 5-start at $49. Regular season tickets start at $59 and are available at www.nytf.org. The Sorceress will be performed in Yiddish, with English and Russian supertitles.
The Sorceress is part of NYTF's season of "Spiritual Resistance," which features artistic and theatrical works that explore themes of struggle against oppression. The programming provides artistic expression concurrent with the exhibition Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away. being presented at the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
The Sorceress - presented with the support of The Howard Gilman Foundation and The David Berg Foundation - is the first complete work following the efforts of NYTF's Global Restoration Initiative, which identifies the best examples of Yiddish operettas, musicals, and plays, reassembles librettos and scores in a digital format (rendering them useable to artists and scholars), and displays the works to audiences , often for the first time in a half-century or more.
"The Sorceress was one of the earliest Yiddish operettas to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and the first piece brought to life under our Global Restoration Initiative, staged in workshop form. The response was truly phenomenal, inspiring us to present this cultural gemstone on a grander scale this season, with exquisite orchestrations and magnificent performances," said NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek. Added Associate Artistic Director Motl Didner, "The Sorceress opened the door to Yiddish Theater in America, where it has thrived for more than 150 years. It is a uniquely Jewish fairy tale that is delightful, charming and historic, and with a timely message."
The Sorceress, written by Avrom Goldfaden, will be directed by Motl Didner, with musical direction by Zalmen Mlotek. The production will be choreographed by Merete Muenter, and D. Zisl Slepovitch will provide additional orchestrations and arrangements.
The Sorceress will star Rachel Botchan*, Jonathan Brody*, Jazmin Gorsline*, Josh Kohane*, Bruce Rebold*, Steve Sterner*, and Mikhl Yashinsky*. And rounding out the cast are: Mark Alpert, Dani Apple, Rebecca Brudner*, Samuel Druhora*, Peter Gosik*, Dylan Seders Hoffman, Sam Kronenfeld, Riley McFarland*, Lexi Rabadi *, Hannah D. Scott*, Doug Shapiro*, and Lorin Zackular*. The Production Stage Manager for The Sorceress is Eileen F. Haggerty*, Assistant Stage Manager is Alex Kesner*, Company Manager/Casting Director is Jamibeth Margolis, CSA, and Associate Company Manager is Emily Snyder.
(* denotes members of Actors' Equity Association)