If you haven't yet heard Mandy Patinkin sing his all-Yiddish, one-man concert Mamaloshen, nu, so what are you waiting for? The limited engagement, at Broadway's Belasco Theatre, ends Nov. 7.
The concert idea started as a concept CD of songs sung in Yiddish. Patinkin's latest album, "Mamaloshen," was released on Nonesuch Records, Feb. 24, 1998, and mixes Yiddish standards ("Oyfn Pripetshik," "Belz," "Raisins and Almonds") with translated American numbers (Paul Simon's "American Tune," "Take Me Out To The Ballgame.") Mamaloshen played at Downtown New York's Angel Orensanz Center, July 21-Aug. 22.
Patinkin is joined at the Belasco by violinist Saeka Matsuyama, who also played the Orensanz Center.
On the CD, Judith Blazer (Titanic) joined on some tunes, while violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg plays on a medley of "The Old Gypsy" and "White Christmas" (penned by the very un-goyish Irving Berlin).
Said Patinkin in a statement, "Yiddish is not a religious language; it's a street language... It's not my intention to literally trace the history of Jewish or Yiddish music...but I have always been interested in what Jewish musicians and composers have done to assimilate." For the compact disc, arranger Paul Ford helped the singer assemble a team of translators and language coaches to bring Patinkin back to his Yiddish roots - a suggestion first made to him by producer Joseph Papp.
Patinkin, a former principle on TV's "Chicago Hope," appeared on Broadway in Evita and Sunday in the Park with George, as well as special concert outings. He recently finished a 40-city concert tour. Other Patinkin concerts have had Broadway runs including a three week engagement in March of 1997 at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre.
On CD, Mamaloshen (which literally means "mother tongue") was produced by Tommy Krasker and taped at NYC's Hit Factory, August 1997. The stage version is produced by Dodger Endemol Theatrical Productions.
For three Mondays (dark nights) during Mamaloshen's run, Patinkin's real-life wife, Kathryn Grody, performed her acclaimed, autobiographical A Mom's Life in repertory at the Belasco.