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The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's Chanukah Spectacular Entertains Global Audience Of More Than 22K

The spectacular was produced, directed and emceed by Adam B. Shapiro.

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's Chanukah Spectacular Entertains Global Audience Of More Than 22K

More than 22,000 people from across the globe tuned in to the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's star-studded celebration, the Folksbiene Chanukah Spectacular, an evening filled with song, dance, comedy and cameo celebrity appearances - all highlighting the vibrancy and joy of Yiddish theater.

"Yiddish theatre is now in cyberspace and audiences and artists alike are coming together," said Joel Grey, award-winning actor and director of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's celebrated presentation of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, in his introduction. "In response to the pandemic," he joked, "we did what Jews have always done. We moved somewhere else.... Wherever we are around the world, we were joined together by our love of music and art and Yiddish."

Highlighted by an impressive array of celebrity appearances, musical numbers, comedy routines, and much more, the one-and-a-half-hour benefit celebrated Yiddish theatre throughout the ages to support Folksbiene, the longest consecutively producing theatre in the United States and the world's oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre company.

The spectacular was produced, directed and emceed by Adam B. Shapiro, one of the stars of the celebrated, award-winning Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, who noted that while everyone would love to be onstage together performing, "doing it this way affords us some very cool opportunities we could never have with a live performance. We're not just adapting to technology, we're embracing it!"

In opening remarks, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek said the event was presented to "spread some light and bring Yiddish and naches into our homes," and previewed the exciting post-pandemic year ahead, with productions of Ricky Ian Gordon's The Garden of the Finzi-Continis with the New York City Opera, a Yiddish translation of Paddy Chayefsky's The Tenth Man, and the New York City debut of the Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman show, Harmony.

The star-studded Folksbiene Chanukah Spectacular, which began with an opening musical number that spanned the United States and the globe, can only be seen for 96 hours for free, but with a recommended donation. Visit https://nytf.org/spectacular/ until Saturday, December 12th at 7:00 PM (ET). Contributions can also be accepted by texting the word "Yiddish" to 44-321. This gala was a benefit for the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene through permission from Theatre Authority, Inc.

Included in the program was a performance by 18 children, some of whom are members of the Children's Choir from Tzipporei Shalom of Congregation Beth Shalom in Teaneck, NJ, whose conductors are Cantor Ronit Wolff Hanan and Adina Avery-Grossman, of A Regnboygn (A Rainbow), a song written by Mike Menachem Fox, from the Folksbiene's children's show Kids and Yiddish, directed by Joanne H. Borts, and a grand finale featuring over 50 artists from around the world celebrating Chanukah online together in song.

Throughout the night, audiences were treated to appearances from across the globe, including: Geni Brenda (Romania), Mendy Cahan (Israel), Efim Chorny and Susan Ghergus (Moldova), Josh Dolgin (Canada), Daniel Kahn and Yeva Lapsker (Germany), Miwazow Kogure (Japan), Shura Lipovsky (The Netherlands), Freydi Mrocki (Australia), Polina Shepherd (Great Britain), and Merlin Shepherd (Great Britain).

The evening also included special cameo greetings by: Emanuel Azenberg, Mayim Bialik, Carol Burnett (an audio appearance), Billy Crystal, Tovah Feldshuh, Beanie Feldstein, Joel Grey, Jackie Hoffman, Carol Kane, Barry Manilow, Mandy Patinkin, Itzhak Perlman, Eleanor Reissa, Neil Sedaka, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Jerry Zaks, many of whom attended Folksbiene's hit production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, plus Steven Skybell, the award-winning actor who played Tevye.

Other participants from Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish were: Jennifer Babiak, Joanne Borts, Lisa Fishman, Kirk Geritano, Abby Goldfarb, Samantha Hahn, Cameron Johnson, Daniel Kahn, Ben Liebert, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Rosie Jo Neddy, Raquel Nobile, Bruce Sabath, Kayleen Seidl, Drew Seigla, Adam B. Shapiro, Jodi Snyder, Lauren Jeanne Thomas, Bobby Underwood, and Rachel Zatcoff.

Also participating were Folksbiene Associate Artistic Director Motl Didner, Richard Kass, Heather Klein, Zalmen Mlotek, Daniella Rabbani, and Dinah Slepovitch. From the cast of Soul to Soul, Folksbiene's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend program, Senior Cantor at B'nai Torah Congregation Magda Fishman, Brian Glassman, Elmore James, Tony Perry, D. Zisl Slepovitch and Matt Temkin will appear.

And, the stars of Folksbiene's New York Times Critic's Pick The Sorceress: Mikhl Yashinsky, Jonathan Brody, Rebecca Brudner, Jazmin Gorsline, Dylan Seders Hoffman and Lexi Rabadi (also star of Folksbiene's production of Hannah Senesh).

Plus, Tatiana Wechsler, who was recently in the gender-bending, historic performance of Oklahoma at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, performed a special number with Frank London of The Klezmatics.


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