Following the success of its Yiddish-language presentation of Fiddler on the Roof, which continues through December 30 before transferring to Off-Broadway's Stage 42 in February 2019, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) has announced its upcoming winter-spring 2019 season.
The season launches January 9–13, 2019, with Dear Erich, presented with New York City Opera. The world premiere of jazz pianist Ted Rosenthal’s first opera is based on his family’s story—letters written by Rosenthal’s grandmother in Nazi Germany to her son in Chicago, where he was studying, having left Germany only a few months before Kristallnacht. The presentation is in English with suprtitles.
Soul to Soul, a concert exploring the intersections between African-American and Yiddish musical traditions during the Civil Rights Era, will be offered January 20. Expect 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.
The concert presentation From the Yiddish Rialto to the Silver Screen, which is scheduled for March 10, features rediscovered songs from jazz-infused Yiddish musical hits made popular on the Yiddish radio and the Yiddish musical cinema of the 1930s and ’40s. Both Soul to Soul and Rialto will be performed in a mix of Yiddish and English with supertitles.
Purim Simkhe, set for March 20, includes a festive reading of Megiles Ester in Yiddish with food, fun, and libations, while a dramatic reading of H. Leivick’s The Golem, a retelling of the legendary Golem of Prague that delves into the world of mysticism as a meditation on the effect of violence on the Jewish soul, will be presented April 28 in Yiddish with English supertitles.
Also on the schedule: When Blood Ran Red, an exclusive look at this developing project, on June 16. This new play (in English) by Ben Gonshor chronicles the darkest era in the Soviet Union when former wartime heroes of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee were persecuted as enemies of the state for daring to report on the truth of the Holocaust in the German-occupied East.
“The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene has flourished for more than a century because the range of artistic work transcends language and birthright, and resonates with audiences across the spectrum. The amazing success of last season’s Fiddler on the Roof proved that, as does being named Theater of the Year by the National Theater Conference. This season’s offerings are among the most diverse we have ever created—from jazz, to a new Russian-themed dramatic work, to the classics of Yiddish theatre,” said NYTF Chief Executive Officer Christopher Massimine in a statement. “We look forward to engaging new audiences while we delight our most loyal theatre goers.”
“The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene will honor its tradition of superb theatrical experiences next season with old and new dramatic and musical work,” added Mlotek. “Promoting Yiddish language and culture are our thematic core, but it is the highest standards of excellence that have kept us relevant. We are thrilled to partner with the New York City Opera to present Dear Erich in its world premiere.”
Additional programming will be announced in 2019.
Most events are 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 additional information are available at nytf.org.