TEVYE SERVED RAW To Reopen This Monday
TEVYE SERVED RAW made its New York premiere in 2018 to unanimous rave reviews and, by popular demand, will return this Monday, January 28th to its home at The Playroom Theater, 151 West 46 Street (just east of Seventh Ave.), where it will play through February 13th.
TEVYE SERVED RAW presents Sholem Aleichem's Tevye stories - the basis of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF - 'raw,' i.e., as envisioned by their creator, before being Americanized for mass consumption in the musical. The show includes adaptations of Tevye stories ("What, Me Worthy?" and "Get Thee Gone!"), scenes from Sholem Aleichem's own long-unseen Yiddish stage version, and three of his purely comedic stories, newly adapted ("Strange Jews on a Train," "The Yiddish Sisyphus" and "A Stepmother's Trash-Talk").
TEVYE SERVED RAW stars Allen Lewis Rickman and Yelena Shmulenson (the Yiddish-speaking couple from the Coen brothers' A SERIOUS MAN) and Shane Baker ("the best-loved Episcopalian on the Yiddish stage today"), all of whom are authentic speakers of the language. The production is performed in English and Yiddish with English supertitles.
"We have tremendous fun doing the comic stuff, but the 'Tevye' material is something else entirely," said Rickman, who is also the show's director. "It's a revelation to people who only know the musical. Fiddler is a fine show, but they had to dilute the material like crazy to make it acceptable to a mainstream audience in 1964. And, look, Bock and Harnick and Stein are brilliant musical theater guys, but they're assimilated American Jews, which is a very different thing than growing up in Tsarist Russia.
We went back to what Sholem Aleichem, who was there in the shtetl and saw it all himself, actually wrote. It's his words, his observations, unfiltered, authentic. We're not a big production with wonderful songs and lots of dancing. But if people want to get a sense of where most American Jews actually came from, this is the real thing. The characters in our show are the people that were there, not exaggerations from musical comedy."
TEVYE SERVED RAW has been in development for over two years, and has been performed in Los Angeles; Kiev, Ukraine; Toronto; and Massachusetts, among other places. In October the production played to ecstatic acclaim in Romania, where it was presented with Romanian supertitles at the State Jewish Theater in Bucharest.
Allen Lewis Rickman is an actor, writer and director. He played Velvel in A SERIOUS MAN and also translated the Coens' dialogue into Yiddish. Other film work includes John Turturro's FADING GIGOLO, CHINESE PUZZLE (with Audrey Tautou), THE COBBLER (with Dustin Hoffman) and the documentaries WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY and IN THE SHOES OF SHOLEM ALEICHEM. TV: "You Don't Know Jack" (with Al Pacino), recurring roles on "Boardwalk Empire" and Steven Spielberg's "Public Morals," "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" (as Red Skelton), etc. He appeared on Broadway in RELATIVELY SPEAKING (with Marlo Thomas) and has extensive Off-Broadway and regional theatre credits. Rickman has directed Off-Broadway and regionally, including the Drama Desk-nominated Yiddish PIRATES OF PENZANCE. He is also an internationally-produced playwright whose work has been presented in six languages. His new subtitle translation for the classic film Tevye, starring Maurice Schwartz, will be released by Kino Lorber this year.
Yelena Shmulenson is perhaps best known as the ice pick-wielding Dora in the Coen brothers' Oscar-nominated Best Picture A SERIOUS MAN. Other film & TV credits include "Orange is the New Black," "Blue Bloods," "Madame Secretary," "The Knick," "Boardwalk Empire", "Chicago Med," THE GOOD SHEPHERD, ROMEO & JULIET IN YIDDISH, and CHINESE PUZZLE. Stage credits include THE GOLEM OF HAVANA (Miami New Drama), THE ESSENCE: A YIDDISH THEATER DIM SUM (Fringe/tour), two seasons at the Ellis Island Theatre,COVERS (New York/St. Petersburg/Moscow/Montreal), etc. She won three Earphones Awards for her recorded books and is fluent in five languages.
Shane Baker has starred as Yankl in Sholem Asch's GOD OF VENGEANCE; in his one-man show The Big Bupkis! A COMPLETE GENTILE'S GUIDE TO YIDDISH VAUDEVILLE; and in his own Yiddish translation of WAITING FOR GODOT ("Beckett's play may finally have found its mother tongue" - The New Yorker) for the play's Yiddish world premiere, two Off-Broadway runs, and tours to Enniskillen, Ireland and Paris, France, all with New Yiddish Rep. He has also appeared with the Folksbiene in THE ADVENTURES OF HERSHELE OSTROPOLYER (with Mike Burstyn) and THE MEGILE OF Itzik Manger. In English he has worked with the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, and spent several seasons with Jeff Weiss in his serial AND THAT'S HOW THE RENT GETS PAID / HOT KEYS / COME CLEAN.
One of the most beloved writers of Yiddish literature, Sholem Aleichem (Solomon Rabinowitz) was born in Pereyaslav, Ukraine, and moved as a child with his family to Voronkov, a neighboring small town which later served as the model for the fictitious town of Kasrilevke described in his works. One of his first stories appeared in a Yiddish paper under the pseudonym "Sholem Aleichem" which in Hebrew means "Peace be unto you." From this time on, this became his pen name. He wrote stories, sketches, critical reviews, plays, and poems in both verse and prose. His immense popularity did not decline after his death in 1916 but rather increased beyond the Yiddish-speaking public. His works have also been translated into most European languages, as well as Russian and English. His plays and dramatic versions of his stories have been performed by the top Yiddish and Hebrew theatrical companies in America, Israel, Russia, Poland, and many other countries.
TEVYE SERVED RAW features an original score by Alex Ryaboy. The playing schedule will be Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7pm with a 3pm matinee on Wednesday, February 13th. Tickets are $38 and are available through www.TevyeServedRaw.com or by calling 1-800-838-3006.