The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, the company behind the still-running, acclaimed Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, will present two performances of Ben Gonshor's historical drama, When Blood Ran Red, this summer. The new play shines a light on a dark period during the Soviet Union, when former wartime heroes of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee were persecuted as enemies of the state for reporting on the truth of the Holocaust in the German-occupied East.
When Blood Ran Red will be performed in English June 16 at 2 PM and 6 PM at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Edmond J. Safra Plaza.
The play chronicles the friendships between African-American actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson and leading Soviet Jews in the Soviet Union after World War II—a time when Yiddish culture and life (including theatre) were under threat.
Kenneth Ferrone (Spongebob Squarepants, Cruel Intentions national tour) will direct a cast made up of Heidi Armbruster (Time Stands Still, Disgraced), William Broderick (Family Dinner, Plane Crazy), Samuel Druhora (Ragtime), Georgi James (Annie, Billy Elliot), Tyler Kent (Yiddish King Lear, A Marriage Contract), Zal Owen (The Band’s Visit, Fiddler on the Roof ), Bruce Sabath (Fiddler on the Roof, Company), Stephen Barker Turner (Bernhardt/Hamlet, Benefactors), and Charles E. Wallace (Amazing Grace, Miss Saigon).
When Blood Ran Red won NYTF’s inaugural David and Clare Rosen Memorial Play-Writing Contest. The performance is part of NYTF’s season of Spiritual Resistance, which features artistic and theatrical works that explore themes of struggle against oppression, and coincides with the exhibition Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
"When Blood Ran Red is a potent meditation on various kinds of power," says NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek. "The play depicts deep-rooted traditions that Stalin suppressed because of their subversive, uplifting spiritual power—a force that was truly threatening to the totalitarian and spirit-crushing power of the Soviet government.”
Tickets to performances are $25, available at nytf.org .