Yiddish Operetta The Sorceress Gets First Revival in Over 80 Years

Off-Broadway News   Yiddish Operetta The Sorceress Gets First Revival in Over 80 Years
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene will stage a restored version of the operetta at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Michael Yashinsky
Michael Yashinsky

Following the success of last season’s revival of The Golden Bride, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene will present another restored Yiddish operetta Off-Broadway. Beginning December 25, NYTF will stage a limited engagement of Abraham Goldfaden’s 1878 The Sorceress (Di Kishefmakherin), the first piece brought to life under the organization’s new Global Yiddish Theatre Restoration Project.

Performances of The Sorceress will take place in New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage through January 1, 2018. The production will be staged in workshop form with scripts in hand, with English and Russian translation supertitles.

Conjuring up a fairytale-like world, The Sorceress tells the tale of an innocent young heroine, her handsome fiancé, a wicked stepmother, and a scheming sorceress.

According to NYTF, it was the first Yiddish Theatre production ever produced in the United States. Its U.S. premiere, presented in 1882, was conceived and directed by a then-14-year-old Boris Thomashefsky, who went on to become a preeminent name of the Yiddish theatre.

In sticking to tradition (the role of the Sorceress was originally played in drag when the woman cast to play the role was paid off by a competitor, forcing the young, male producer to step in), Michael Yashinsky is set to make his NYTF debut in the role of Bobe Yakhne, the sorceress.

Completing the cast will be Stephanie Lynne Mason (Fiddler on the Roof) as Mirele, Pat Constant (Les Miserables) as Markus, Steve Sterner (Yiddle with a Fiddle) as Hotsmakh, Rachel Botchan (God of Vengeance) as Basye, along with Chelsea Feltman (Carmen), Kirk Geritano (My Name is Asher Lev), Emily Hoolihan (Hair), Richard Lisenby (Into the Woods), Riley McFarland (Next To Normal), Raquel Nobile (Amerike The Golden Land), Bruce Rebold (The Golden Bride), Gera Sandler (Rhinoceros), Kayleen Seidl (Guys and Dolls), Lisa Stockman (Into the Woods), Bobby Underwood (Amerike The Golden Land), and Tatiana Wechsler (NYTF’s The Golden Bride).

Orchestral arrangements for The Sorceress were located in the archives of YIVO’s Vilna Collection. The workshop revival will be the first time in over 80 years that the operetta will be presented with its fully restored text and music. The production will be directed by NYTF Associate Artistic Director, Drama Desk Award nominee Motl Didner, with music direction by NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek.

Tickets are priced at $25 and are on sale at NYTF.org and via Ovation Tix by calling (866) 811-4111.


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