Our 109th season is about to begin – and there’s much to celebrate!
”The upcoming season is filled with opportunities for audiences of all ages,” says NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director Dominick Balletta, “from a new, original Yiddish musical to the wildly entertaining and family-friendly show, Kids & Yiddish, to the Broadway debut of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony, which our audiences enjoyed in 2022. This will be one of our most dynamic seasons ever!”
And that it will be!
The new season kicks off in June with a free concert, New York Sings Yiddish!, as part of Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage on June 14. The event will feature The Klezmatics and an illustrious lineup of Yiddish theater and concert superstars, including international stage and screen star Dudu Fisher, known for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway, as well as Joanne Borts, Joshua (SoCalled) Dolgin, Cantor Magda Fishman, Sara Mina Gordon, Elmore James, Lea Kalisch, Daniel Kahn, Frank London, Daniella Rabbani, Eleanor Reissa, Avi Fox-Rosen, and Lorin Sklamberg.
Led by Musical Director Zalmen Mlotek and featuring Musical Arrangements by Mlotek and Frank London, the celebratory event is produced by Moishe Rosenfeld, Golden Land Concerts & Connections. Throughout the night, Yiddish lyrics will be projected on a giant screen as singers lead the audience in an unprecedented community chorus, joyously celebrating our precious cultural legacy.
In partnership with the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, and with support from Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and the Workers Circle, the evening will celebrate the launch of Yiddish Songs.org, home of The Yosl & Chana Mlotek Yiddish Song Collection at the Workers Circle. This collection is comprised of songs compiled in five anthologies by Yosl Mlotek and Chana Mlotek and contains songs that highlight important themes, cultural activities, daily life, celebrated musicians, undiscovered musicians, and much more.
Then, on June 19, our Folksbiene community comes together for a Summer Soirée, a celebratory evening that honors the inaugural year of Folksbiene’s Education Initiative. The celebration takes place at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers, featuring a 6:00pm cocktail reception followed by a 7:00pm dinner, a special celebrity address, and an exclusive preview of musical moments from NYTF’s 2023-2024 season.
Adam B. Shapiro (Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) serves as the Master of Ceremonies. The event features a celebrity address by Michael Zegen from the hit show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and special performances by Julie Benko, the breakout star of Broadway’s Funny Girl, and Danny Kornfeld from Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman‘s new musical Harmony, and the Schechter Bergen Children’s Chorus.
Throughout the night, attendees will be treated to performances from artists who have been part of Folksbiene’s stellar productions (including Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish): Dani Apple, Joanne H. Borts, Aaron Diskin, Abby Goldfarb, Dmitry Ishenko, Sophie Knapp, Annette Ezekiel Kogan, Yosef Kogan, Frank London, Avram Mlotek, Raquel Nobile, Jenny Romaine, Rachel Yucht, Avi Fox-Rosen, Ilya Shneyveys, Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch, Jodi Snyder, and Matt Temkin.
This fall and winter, audiences of all ages can enjoy quality programming and a new musical production, Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent). Opening at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in November, the musical tells the story of the perseverance of the Jewish spirit during the Holocaust as expressed through Yiddish song.
Curated and arranged by Zalmen Mlotek, with a libretto by Avram Mlotek, and directed by Motl Didner, Amid Falling Walls (Tsvishn Falndike Vent) features material written and performed in ghettos, cabarets, partisan encampments in the forests, concentration camps and clandestine theaters. Funding for this project comes from an anonymous family foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts.
The curtain also rises this fall on the Broadway transfer of our 2022 award-winning hit Harmony: A New Musical by Barry Manilow and his longtime collaborator Bruce Sussman. Harmony begins performances at the Ethel Barrymore Theater on October 18 in advance of a November 13 opening.
Also on the horizon is Kids & Yiddish: The Mishegas Continues, a wildly entertaining and family-friendly Jewish-themed show that introduces children to the Yiddish language through Billboard chart-topping songs and pop culture in the style of Sesame Street meets Saturday Night Live, and Hannah Senesh: Youth Edition (working title), an immersive three-part theatrical and educational experience for kids and young adults that will feature a visit to a curated exhibition around the life and impact of Hannah Senesh, followed by a performance, and a docent-led reflection/conversation experience.