National Yiddish Theatre Folskbiene's THE SORCERESS Begins Performances December 25
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) presents the limited engagement of The Sorceress (Di Kishefmakherin). Inspired by last season's critically-acclaimed revival of Joseph Rumshinsky's The Golden Bride, another lost operetta of the Yiddish Theatre canon, The Sorceress will be the first piece brought to life under NYTF's new Global Yiddish Theatre Restoration Project. Directed by NYTF Associate Artistic Director, Drama Desk Award-nominee Motl Didner, with music direction by NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek, The Sorceress will be presented as a work-in-development, performed in Yiddish with English and Russian translation supertitles, for 5 performances only, beginning Monday, December 25, 2017 through Monday, January 1, 2018 in the Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Place).
The cast of The Sorceress features Michael Yashinsky in his NYTF debut as Bobe Yakhne, with Stephanie Lynne Mason (Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof, NYTF's Amerike The Golden Land) as Mirele, Pat Constant (Regional: Les Miserables) as Markus, Steve Sterner (NY: Yiddle with a Fiddle) as Hotsmakh, Rachel Botchan (God of Vengeance at La Mama) as Basye, and Chelsea Feltman (Regional: Carmen), Kirk Geritano (Regional: My Name is Asher Lev), Emily Hoolihan (Regional: Hair), Richard Lisenby (NY: Into the Woods), Riley McFarland (Regional: Next To Normal), Raquel Nobile (NYTF's Amerike The Golden Land), Bruce Rebold (NYTF's The Golden Bride), Gera Sandler (NY: Rhinoceros), Kayleen Seidl (National Tour: Guys and Dolls), Lisa Stockman (Regional: Into the Woods), Bobby Underwood (NYTF's Amerike The Golden Land), Tatiana Wechsler (NYTF's The Golden Bride).
The Sorceress also features musical staging by Chita Rivera Award-nominee Merete Muenter. NYTF CEO, two-time Tony Award-nominee Christopher Massimine, serves as producer. Casting is by Jamibeth Margolis, CSA.
The creative team includes Dara Wishingrad (Scenic Design), Izzy Fields (Costume Design), Zachary Heffner (Lighting Design), Howard Fredrics (Sound Design), and Addison Heeren (Props Design). The Production Stage Manager is Eileen F. Haggerty with Assistant Stage Manager Rachel Calter. The Production Manager is Sean Patrick.
Set to a delightful musical score full of memorable tunes, The Sorceress conjures up a fairy-tale-like world starring an innocent young heroine and her dashing fiancé, and populated with a cast of unforgettable characters including a deviously wicked stepmother, a humorous itinerant peddler, and a scheming sorceress.
Written in 1878 by Abraham Goldfaden known as "the father of Yiddish theatre," The Sorceress was the first Yiddish Theatre production ever produced in the United States. Its US premiere, presented in 1882, was conceived and directed by a then 14-year-old Boris Thomashefsky, who went on to become one of the preeminent names of the Yiddish theatre. NYTF has taken painstaking measures to restore the operetta, word by word, note by note. This December will be the first time in over 80 years that The Sorceress will be presented in a workshop form (with script in hand) with its fully-restored text and music - accompanied with costumes, lights, and projections.
The Sorceress is NYTF's first operetta brought to life, in an in-development workshop form, under NYTF's new Global Yiddish Theatre Restoration Project. Dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations and bridging communities, NYTF is bringing history to life by reviving the lost and forgotten gems of the Yiddish stage, rebuilding the production from the ground up from readings to concerts, from labs to workshops, and then ultimately full productions for selected pieces.
Orchestral arrangements for The Sorceress, dating to the late 19th Century, were located in the archives of YIVO's Vilna Collection, which was saved from Nazi and Soviet destruction in the Vilna Ghetto by the famed Paper Brigade. These early orchestrations served as the starting point for NYTF's newly revived musical arrangements.
This past September, NYTF presented a concert version of The Sorceress for an invited audience of scholars, artists and supporters as part of the show's restoration development. A month later, after further refinement, NYTF traveled to Bucharest, Romania, Goldfaden's artistic home, for an historic co-presentation with the State Jewish Theater in celebration of their theatre's 2nd International Yiddish Theatre Festival.
Now after several months of restoration work and development, The Sorceress is returning home to lower Manhattan, in a lightly staged and costumed developmental production at The Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park featuring a company of 17 actors and a 10-piece orchestra.
The Sorceress will play the following performance schedule: Monday, December 25 at 2:00PM; Tuesday, December 26 at 7:00PM; Wednesday, December 27 at 7:00PM; Friday, December 29 at 12:00PM; and
Monday, January 1 at 2:00PM in the Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Place).
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 operating 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. More information can be found at www.NYTF.org.