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See AWAKE AND SING! Off-Broadway and Take a Yiddish Theater Walking Tour

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See AWAKE AND SING! Off-Broadway and Take a Yiddish Theater Walking Tour

The first 24 premium ticket buyers to the upcoming Off-Broadway revival of Clifford Odets' masterpiece AWAKE AND SING!, will receive a Yiddish theater walking tour of the Lower East Side with the inimitable Shane Baker.

There will be two options to join this very special 90-minute tour next week: Sunday, November 26 or Monday, November 27 at 11 am, beginning at Second Ave. & 12th St. and concluding at 143 East Houston.

Veteran actor Shane Baker, who was raised Episcopalian in Kansas City, has been performing in Yiddish plays since the mid-1990s. He is also the first non-Jewish director of the Congress for Jewish Culture, an organization that brings Yiddish productions around the world. In addition, Shane teaches a summer workshop on Yiddish theater at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, as well as classes for the Workmen's Circle, an organization that promotes Jewish culture and offers Yiddish lessons.

Performances of AWAKE AND SING! are set to begin this Saturday, November 25th at the Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14 Street (between First & Second Aves.) A Yiddish version ofAWAKE AND SING! was produced by the WPA's Federal Theatre Project on Broadway in 1938 and it is this translation that will be performed in the New Yiddish Rep production with English supertitles.

The famed Group Theatre presented the Broadway premiere of Clifford Odets' AWAKE AND SING! in 1935 and the play returned to New York three years later featuring a Yiddish-speaking cast directed by Jacob Mestel. This 1938 Federal Theatre production restored to the play some qualities it lost earlier when Odets' colleagues at The Group Theatre had asked him to tone down the Yiddish colloquialisms and syntax that were part of his New York ghetto characters' English. The playwright's initial impulse to let Jewish immigrants speak of struggle, poverty and survival in their own language and speech rhythms was realized anew in Chaver Paver's adaptation. Odets' distressed characters who longed for a life "not printed on dollar bills" could be heard speaking Yiddish nightly on Broadway, at Daly's 63rd Street Theatre, from December 1938 to April 1939.

Generally considered Clifford Odets' finest play, AWAKE AND SING! is the story of the Bergers, a lower-middle-class, three-generation Jewish family living in a Bronx apartment during the Depression.AWAKE AND SING! recalls that this country was founded as the land of opportunity for immigrants who came with an enduring belief in the American dream.

Under the direction of New Yiddish Rep artistic director, David Mandelbaum, the international cast of AWAKE AND SING! will feature Ronit Asheri (star of Yiddishpiel Theater), Amy Coleman (original productions of BEEHIVE & THE LAST SESSION), Lea Kalisch (COCOADIOS, BOUNTIFUL), Mira Kessler (GOD OF VENGEANCE), Moshe Lobel ("Untold Genius"), David Mandelbaum (WAITING FOR GODOT, YENTL), Eli Rosen (RHINOCEROS), Israeli film star Gera Sandler (A FILM UNFINISHED, JELLYFISH, A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS), and Luzer Twersky ("Transparent," new Netflix documentary ONE OF US).

Legendary playwright and screenwriter, Clifford Odets (1906-1963), authored such Depression-era dramas as GOLDEN BOY, ROCKET TO THE MOON and WAITING FOR LEFTY, cultural sensations that had enduring impact on his generation of writers. In his memoir, Arthur Miller recalled that "an Odets play was awaited like news hot off the press, as though through him we would know what to think of ourselves and our prospects."

New Yiddish Rep is dedicated to creating modern theater which speaks to a diverse contemporary audience, including those who never might have thought they could connect to a performance in a language other than their own.

AWAKE AND SING! is being presented in association with the Theater at the 14th Street Y and performances will be Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 pm, with matinees Saturday & Sunday at 2 pm through December 24th. $45 tickets are available through www.NewYiddishRep.org or by calling 646-395-4310. Premium seating is $72 and includes a pre-show wine reception backstage.


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