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National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Harmony

April 18, 2022

Although 25 years have gone by since "Harmony" first tried out at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, the Barry Manilow/Bruce Sussman musical about the Comedian Harmonists is still relevant and timely. This historical musical based on true events which took place mainly in Germany from 1927- 1935 is a necessary reminder of the rise of Nazism and the naïve people who thought it would blow over. Produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, "Harmony" could not be in a more fitting setting to tell this story. Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, the musical has been given a big Broadway-style production for its first New York appearance starring Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess as well as a cast of featured players. [more]

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

January 31, 2022

While Gordon has said in interviews that his model for the music was Puccini, in fact, the atonal orchestral score sounds more like operas by Gian Carlo Menotti, Carlisle Floyd and Dominick Argento. The singers are usually so loud that they tend to drown out the orchestra which is playing something different than the vocal score. Placed on the far right of the stage, the orchestra plays to the side wall muffling the sound. The orchestral score suggests background music for a film rather than music for the opera house. On paper, Korie’s text reads fairly well; however, in performance the singers are punching his rhymed couplets so hard that they seem a mistaken intrusion. At almost three hours, "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" feels overwritten though episodes have been left out of the original novel. In the libretto provided to the press in advance, Alberto’s story deviates from that of the novel, but on opening night this was changed back to the book’s ending. [more]

The Sorceress (Di Kishefmakherin)

December 9, 2019

Goldfaden’s escapist musical fantasy combines bits and pieces from many sources: the Cinderella fairy tale; Gilbert-and-Sullivan-esque rapid-fire, tongue twister songs; old-fashioned (even in 1878!) melodrama; Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio; and—believe it or not—the Seventies’  TV sitcom, “Laverne and Shirley”! (The L & S reference, to be absolutely honest, might be an interjection improvised by the actor—yes actor—playing the title role.) [more]

The Golden Bride

December 13, 2015

It has taken years and many people, to restore the book and score of the 1923 "The Golden Bride" which was last performed in 1948. A concert performance by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in May 2014 laid the groundwork for the current full-blown staging with its large cast, orchestra, sets and costumes, zestfully co-directed by Bryna Wasserman and Motl Didner with not so great, but energetic, choreography by Merete Muenter. [more]

Another Hundred Years

August 11, 2015

“Papa” was the elder Theodore Bikel’s sobriquet to the younger members of the touring company of "Fiddler on The Roof." Mr. Bikel died at the age of 91 on July 21, 2015, and a warm and very well performed tribute to his life and career was the centerpiece of the splendid concert "Another Hundred Years," at 54 Below. Part of KulturfestNYC’s Encore Series, this show also celebrated the impact of Jewish songwriters on Broadway musicals and marked the centennial of The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene which co-produced it. This is the oldest continually performing Yiddish theater company in existence. [more]