CommunityWire: National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene – The company that brought you FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in Yiddish – Announces Its Season of “Spiritual Resistance” for 2019-2020

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(New York, NY)— On the heels of its spectacular, sold-out run of the Yiddish presentation of Fiddler on The Roof and this summer’s Hannah Senesh, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF), today announced a schedule of signature programming for the upcoming fall, winter, and spring seasons. The season features the New York debut of the acclaimed musical Harmony by the legendary Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman in February 2020. The musical tells the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, an ensemble of six talented young men in 1920s Germany who took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics, until their inclusion of Jewish singers put them on a collision course with history.

For the first time ever, NYTF is presenting four more mainstage productions with a flexible season subscription. The productions, concerts and readings were curated to accompany the exhibit Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away on display at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

The mainstage productions – which follow the acclaimed limited run production of Hannah Senesh (written and directed by David Schechter, and developed in collaboration with Lori Wilner) this summer, include a restored Yiddish musical gem Di Kishefmakherin (The Sorceress) and a newly commissioned Yiddish translation of Paddy Chayefsky’s Tony Award nominated The Tenth Man.

NYTF’s signature programming is primarily held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place, Battery Park, Lower Manhattan. Tickets and information are available at www.nytf.org.

“This season, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene is focusing on works that explore the themes of resistance and the triumph of the spirit. We are in residence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, which is presenting Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away. As their artistic collaborators, we will offer theatrical experiences through the filter of how oppression shapes us and inspires us as individuals and as a community in the worst possible circumstances,” said NYTF’s Artistic Director, Zalmen Mlotek. “It is our mission to keep finding new ways to present the Yiddish cultural experience. With new audiences interested in our work because of the phenomenal success of our Fiddler, we offer a rich exciting season of new work, revered plays, and passionate performances.”

2019-2020 MAINSTAGE SEASON – FALL, WINTER AND SPRING

THE SORCERESS (DI KISHEFMAKHERIN)
by Avrom Goldfaden
Directed by Motl Didner
Musical Direction by Zalmen Mlotek
Choreographed by Merete Muenter
Previews December 1-5, 2019; Performances December 8 – 29, 2019

This delightful operetta by Avrom Goldfaden is one of the very earliest works of Yiddish theatre and the first to be produced in America. This is a fairytale-like story of a pure-hearted young woman who triumphs over her tormentors, a scheming stepmother and a wicked witch. The fully restored orchestrations are based, in part, on pre-Holocaust musical arrangements which were saved from destruction at the hands of the Nazis by the famed “Paper Brigade” of the YIVO in Vilna, who risked their lives to save thousands of unique documents and manuscripts. This fully-staged work is the culmination of a project which NYTF begin in 2017 to restore this classic.

NYTF’s Global Restoration Initiative identifies the best examples of Yiddish operettas, musicals and plays, reassembles librettos and scores in a digital format (rendering them useable to artists and scholars) and presents the work to audiences, often for the first time in a half century or more.

In Yiddish with English and Russian subtitles.

Tickets: Previews starts at $49 | Performances start at $59

HARMONY
By Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman
In Association with Ken Davenport
Previews February 11-March 3, 2020; Performances March 4 – 29, 2020

Harmony tells the true story of The Comedian Harmonists, a group of six talented young men, Jewish and gentile, who came together in 1920s Germany and took the world by storm with their signature blend of sophisticated close harmonies and uproarious stage antics. Together they sold millions of records, starred in a dozen films and packed the houses of the most prestigious concert halls around the globe, until the world they knew changed forever. Their incredible story inspired music industry legends Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman to create a spectacular new musical with an original score that celebrates this extraordinary group of friends and ensures their quest for true harmony in the most discordant chapter of human history will never be forgotten.

In English

Tickets: Previews and Performances start at $79

THE TENTH MAN

by Paddy Chayefsky (three-time Academy Award-winning author of Network, Marty and The Hospital) in a newly commissioned Yiddish translation and directed by Tony Award-nominated director Eleanor Reissa.

Previews May 17-21, 2020; Performances May 21 – June 11, 2020

Set in a small suburban synagogue, the Tony Award-nominated play, THE TENTH MAN is an American retelling of the dybbuk story as a touching human comedy in which we must question who is really possessed: the young passionate religious granddaughter of one of the elderly congregants or the successful yet cynical Manhattan lawyer? This play captures the struggle between Jewish generations, youth and old age, cynics and believers, scientists and mystics with a moving and surprising outcome.

In Yiddish with English and Russian translation supertitles.

Tickets: Previews starts at $39 | Performances start at $49 Tickets available soon!

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS INCLUDE

BAR KOKHBA
by Avrom Goldfaden
(Date TBA)

NYTF’s Restoration Project continues with a concert version of the acclaimed 1883 Yiddish operetta chronicling the heroic Jewish uprising against the Roman occupation of ancient Judea. The premiere of this work in Imperial Russia sparked a ban on Yiddish theatre. In Yiddish with English subtitles.

Tickets start at $35

SOUL TO SOUL (An Annual MLK Jr. Day Tradition)
Sunday, January 19, 2020, at 2 PM

An electrifying concert exploring the intersections between African-American and Yiddish musical traditions during the Civil Rights Era. It includes Yiddish theatre songs, songs of Jewish immigrants, jazz and classic spirituals. Conceived and directed by NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek, it stars Lisa Fishman, Cantor Magda Fishman, Elmore James and Tony Perry. In Yiddish and English with English supertitles.

Tickets start at $35

GHETTO TANGO

Originally conceived, performed and recorded by Zalmen Mlotek and Adrienne Cooper.
April 2020

A remarkably moving and uplifting concert capturing the spiritual resistance of European Jews during the Holocaust era told through music and spoken word as documented in the artistic creations of Jews in Warsaw, Lodz, Vilna and Cracow ghettos, partisan encampments, labor camps and later in displaced persons camps.

In Yiddish and English with English subtitles.
Tickets start at $35

THE INVESTIGATION

3 Performances around NYC with 1 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (Date TBA)

Presented in partnership with Theater of War Productions, this 1965 play by Peter Weiss is adapted from the transcripts of the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials of 1963-1965, when 22 mid- and lower-level Nazi officials were tried for crimes against humanity in the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex. A diverse cast of performers will read selections from the play, followed by community panelist responses, culminating in a facilitator-led audience discussion. In addition to the reading at the Museum, THE INVESTIGATION will also be read at two other venues around NYC, to be announced. In English.

FREE

And there’s more on the horizon (with further details to be released at a later date):

Invite the Folksbiene Troupe to your community! These young performers are passionate about bringing Yiddish language performances to audiences everywhere. To find out more about having the Folksbiene Troupe perform at a venue near you, contact Motl Didner at mdidner@nytf.org.

For tickets visit NYTF.org or call 212-213-2120 Ext. 200. For group sales and membership call 212-213-2120 Ext. 204.

Now celebrating its 105th 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. NYTF is in residence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Under the artistic direction of Zalmen Mlotek, NYTF is dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations and bridging communities. NYTF aims to bring history to life by reviving and restoring lost and forgotten work, commissioning new work, and adapting pre-existing work for the 21st Century. Serving a diverse 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 a century-old cultural legacy and inspires the imaginations of the next generation to contribute to this valuable body of work.

The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will present the most comprehensive exhibition about Auschwitz ever seen in North America, Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away. from May 8, 2019 – January 3, 2020. (Tickets are available now at auschwitz.nyc.) The exhibition features more than 700 original objects and photographs from over 20 international institutions, including rare artifacts. As visitors walk through the 20 thematic galleries, they will see the development of Nazi ideology and the transformation of Auschwitz from an ordinary Polish town known as Oświęcim to the most significant Nazi site of the Holocaust—at which ca. 1 million Jews, and tens of thousands of others, were murdered. This exhibition was produced in partnership with the international exhibition firm Musealia and the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland.

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