Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene present
New York Sings Yiddish!
Join us for an unforgettable celebration of Yiddish music! The Klezmatics and Yiddish music stars lead a massive sing-along at SummerStage in Central Park.
Come and celebrate the rich cultural legacy of Yiddish music with New York Sings Yiddish at Central Park on June 14th at 7 pm. Presented by Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage in collaboration with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, this event will see Central Park come alive with the beautiful sound of Yiddish songs featuring the Grammy Award winning ensemble, The Klezmatics, joined by an all star line up of Yiddish concert and theatre stars: Joanne Borts, Josh “Socalled” Dolgin, Cantor Magda Fishman, Avi Fox Rosen, Sarah Mina Gordon, Daniel Kahn, Elmore James, Lea Kalisch, Daniella Rabbani, Eleanor Reissa, Lorin Sklamberg and Special Guest Dudu Fisher.
During the event, lyrics will be projected on a giant screen, and available on your phone via QR codes, as our singers lead the audience in an unprecedented community chorus, joyously celebrating our precious cultural legacy. Our 2023 event will include an unprecedented 4000-voice sing-along, celebrating the launch of YiddishSongs.org, home of The Yosl and Chana Mlotek Yiddish Song Collection at the Workers Circle.
Visit summerstage.org for information about other events.
Presented in partnership with the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and supported by the Workers Circle and the Office of Mark Levine – Manhattan Borough President
Musical Director – Zalmen Mlotek
Musical Arrangements – Frank London and Zalmen Mlotek
Produced by Moishe Rosenfeld, Golden Land Concerts & Connections
The Klezmatics are world-renowned and Grammy-winning superstars of the klezmer world. They erupted out of New York City’s East Village in 1986 and revitalized klezmer for the new century with music that is steeped in Eastern European Jewish tradition and spirituality, while incorporating contemporary themes such as human rights and anti-fundamentalism with eclectic musical influences including Arab, African, Latin and Balkan rhythms, jazz and punk.
In the course of over thirty years they have released nine albums of wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective, and ecstatically danceable music, forever redefining and transcending traditional labels.
The Klezmatics have collaborated with numerous musical luminaries including folk hero Arlo Guthrie, classical legend Itzhak Perlman, Israeli pop icons Chava Albertstein and Ehud Banay, beat poet Allen Ginsberg, The Master Musicians of Jajouka, the Ben Folds Five, and Kosher Gospel singer Joshua Nelson.
Their work has extended to numerous theater, film, dance and television projects, including Pulitzer Prize Winning playwright Tony Kushner’s “A Dybbuk” and “It’s An Undoing World.” and Pilobolus Dance Theatre’s “Davenen.”
The Klezmatics have reached millions through performances and features on CBS’s “Late Night with David Letterman,” PBS’ “Great Performances,” BBC’s “Rhythms of the World,” BBC’s “John Peel Show,” various NPR programs (“A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor, “New Sounds Live” and “Soundcheck”), CBS’s “Nightwatch,” FOX’s “After Breakfast,” “MTV News,” and “Sex and the City.” Additionally, their song “NY Psycho Freyelkhs” is a theme song for Air America Radio’s “The Al Franken Show.”
They have performed in over twenty countries at some of the most storied venues and renowned festivals worldwide, including Central Park Summerstage, Carnegie Hall, Pirineos Sur (Spain), Colours of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Pohoda Festival (Slovakia), Jazzsomer Graz (Austria), and the Heimatklänge Festival (Germany).
The Klezmatics have garnered numerous awards and accolades throughout their career, including a 2006 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album (for “Wonder Wheel: Lyrics by Woody Guthrie.”), a New York Jewish Music Award (Best Klezmer Band, 2006), a GLAMA (Gay and Lesbian American Music Award) and the German Critics Award (twice), and have topped the Billboard world music charts on numerous occasions.
Joanne Borts is a New York based performer who recently appeared in SHANGHAI SONATAS, and the critically acclaimed off-Broadway production of the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in Yiddish, directed by Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner, Joel Grey. Joanne’s Broadway and National Tour credits include the 2012 Tony Award-Winning Best Musical ONCE, Rogers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA with Eartha Kitt, FUNNY GIRL with Deborah Gibson and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF with Topol, Harvey Fierstein and Theodore Bikel. She also writes and directs KIDS & YIDDISH for the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre in NYC. Joanne has performed as a solo artist with Katrina Lenk, Neil Sedaka, Robert Klein, the Grammy-Award winning Klezmatics, Klezmer Conservatory Band, Klez Dispensers, and The Three Yiddish Divas. She has appeared in concerts halls and klezmer music festivals around the globe, including KlezKanada, Vienna Kulterherbst, Warsaw Zingera Festival, Krakow Kultur Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, Kleztival Brasil, New York’s famed Carnegie Hall. For our parents.
Josh “Socalled” Dolgin is a Juno-nominated pianist, singer, accordionist, producer, composer, artist and rapper based in Montreal, Quebec. He has lectured and led master classes in music festivals around the world, from Moscow to Paris, from London to LA, and from Krakow to San Francisco, and has performed on every continent except India. With 8 solo albums to his name, he has performed all over the world for more than 15 years, and his list of collaborators knows no generational, social, cultural or religious boundaries. Aside from countless festivals and venues around the world, Socalled has performed at Carnegie Hall (twice!), the Olympia in Paris, the Apollo theatre in Harlem and the Arsht centre in Miami. He has played with, produced for, featured, recorded and arranged for Gonzales, Itzhak Perlman, Lhasa, Fred Wesley, Andy Statman, Adam Cohen, Boban Markovic, the Mighty Sparrow, Roxanne Shante, Irving Fields, Killah Priest, Matisyahu, Ben Caplan, Theodore Bikel, Jack Stratton from Vulfpeck, Enrico Macias and Derrick Carter. He tours with his full band Socalled and performs with string quartets and big bands around the world with programs of Yiddish songs. He has written and presented 5 musical comedies, including “Tales From Odessa”, a Yiddish gangster musical, as well as a 4 part magnum puppet opus called “The Season”, for which he also designed and built the puppets.In December 2015, Socalled was presented with the “Adrienne Cooper Memorial Dreaming in Yiddish” award for his work disseminating and exploring Yiddish culture. When he’s not in the studio or on the road, Socalled does magic tricks, makes cookbooks, draws cartoons, edits video and photographs and practices Kurt Weill on the piano.
Senior Cantor Magda Fishman is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s H.L. Miller Cantorial School in New York. Prior to joining B’nai Torah, she served as the Cantor at Temple Beth El in Stamford, Connecticut. Cantor Fishman brings vibrant experience to Jewish music through a unique blend of traditional and contemporary styles. Over the years, she has built a large and loving following among a wide spectrum of audiences. Her repertoire includes liturgical masterpieces, Israeli songs, jazz, musical theater, as well as her own compositions.
Prior to her investiture in May 2011, Cantor Fishman served in the Israeli Army Orchestra as a vocal soloist and trumpet player. She came to the United States as part of the Tel-Aviv Broadway Musical Theater Project and was the recipient of the prestigious America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship.
Cantor Fishman has performed extensively throughout the United States, Israel, Europe, and Canada. She had a lead role in the Prague State Opera, and she performed during the annual America-Israel Cultural Foundation Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center and at a National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene event honoring Elie Wiesel. She was featured in Folksbiene’s popular Soul to Soul concert at the Central Park Summer Stage and at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles with Maestro Placido Domingo and Melissa Manchester. She also performs with the cantorial group Divas on the Bima.
Dudu Fisher, the child of Holocaust survivors, is an internationally renowned film, television, stage, and song artist. His career spans over five decades, He is applauded from Broadway to Budapest and has performed in venues worldwide. Singing in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish, Dudu is an esteemed cantor, raising his glorious voice in traditional Jewish liturgy in synagogues worldwide. DuduFisher is widely known for portraying Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway. He has performed with many of Israel’s leading artists. Baltic Truth, Fisher’s Holocaust documentary, was released on April 21, 2023. He currently stars in the Netflix series Rough Diamonds. Dudu has released over 25 albums, with songs in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish.
Avi Fox-Rosen is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Brooklyn, NY, equally at home in theater, rock, Yiddish, klezmer or improvisational music worlds. He’s collaborated with many of the leading lights in Yiddish music over the last 20 years including Adrienne Cooper, Daniel Kahn, Sarah Gordon, Michael Winograd, Basya Schechter, Matt Darriau, Frank London and many others, including his brother, bassist and singer Benjy Fox-Rosen. Avi’s a member of .357 Lover, whose dynamics include power-chord riffs and densely-packed, narrative structures, a homunculus of Queen and Tiny Tim. As a songwriter, Avi makes music with a sardonic sense of humor, dense and dark lyrics, and enchantingly twisted melodies. New York Music Daily has heralded Avi’s work as “consistently excellent”.
Sarah Mina Gordon is a fourth generation Yiddish singer. She fronted the rock band Yiddish Princess and has recorded and performed with Daniel Kahn, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars, The Klezmatics, Sharabi, and others. Daughter of legendary Yiddish singer and scholar Adrienne Cooper, Sarah grew up immersed in innovative Yiddish culture. Dedicated to making new Yiddish art, she has collaborated with Michael Winograd, Frank London, Alicia Svigals, and The Klezmatics to pen original Yiddish songs which are sung around the world. Her song, Ekhod/Who Knows One, is internationally known and has been taught and performed at festivals from California to Krakow. Sarah is also an educator– teaching third grade at Brooklyn Friends School for over fifteen years and designing and leading Yiddish culture programs for children and adults. She is one of the founding organizers of Yiddish New York and regularly teaches Yiddish song at KlezKanada.
Elmore James sings in nine languages and first sang in Yiddish at Town Hall’s, Yid-
dish in America, a Gala Concert Celebrating the Centennial of the Workman’s Circle.
He exploded onto the stage as the finale to the evening, with the baritone solo from
Beethoven’s ninth symphony, then led the entire cast, including Bruce Adler, Theodore
Bikel, Tovah Feldshuh, Sheldon Harnick, Lainie Kazan, Mandy Patinkin and the New
Yiddish Chorale in the rousing rendition of the final chorus to the symphony, Ode to
Joy. He has been singing in Yiddish ever since. He co-starred in Hip, Heymish and Hot,
the whimsical Yiddish/Jazz concert, with Eleanor Reissa. Besides being a Broadway
musical theater veteran, Mr. James has had a career on the operatic stage, including
appearances at the Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and
the opera houses of Europe and Scandinavia.
Detroit-born, Hamburg-based troubadour Daniel Kahn mixes Yiddish, English, German, klezmer, punk, and folk. His projects and groups include The Painted Bird, Brothers Nazaroff, Semer Ensemble, The Unternationale, Bulat Blues, the solo album “word beggar,” and his forthcoming duo with Jake Shulman-Ment, “The Building & Other Songs.” He played the original Perchik in Folksbiene’s hit “Fidler afn Dakh,” Yosl in “Amerike,” Biff in NYR’s “Death of a Salesman,” the Badkhn in the Netflix series “Unorthodox,” and was featured in Carnegie Hall’s “From Shtetl to Stage.” He works frequently at Hamburg’s Thalia and Berlin’s Gorki Theater and co-founded the Shtetl Berlin festival. Videos of his Yiddish versions of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Woody Guthrie songs have received millions of views. Ashkenaz Foundation named him the inaugural Theo Bikel Artist-in-Residence. In 2018, he received the Chane and Joseph Mlotek Award for Yiddish Continuity.
Lea Kalisch is a Swiss Jewish international touring actress and singer. Some know her as the “Eshet Chayil of Hip Hop” or in her alter ego REBBETZIN LEA.
She performs a variety of concerts in the Twin Cities, on the East Coast and across Europe. She’s worked with the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene and has starred in multiple OFF-Broadway shows. In 2022 She released her debut album In Love With A Dream!
Follow her on social media or at leakalisch.com to stay entertained!
Shtreimel Red by Sy Chounchaisit
Frank London is a Grammy Award–winning trumpeter and composer, a member of the Klezmatics, and leader of the Astro-Hungarian Glass House Orchestra, the Klezmer Brass Allstars, and his Shekhinah Big Band. He has performed and recorded with John Zorn, Pink Floyd, Mel Tormé, Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, LaMonte Young, Gal Costa, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, and is featured on over 500 albums.
His own recordings include Ghetto Songs; Salomé Woman of Valor (with poet Adeena Karasick; Invocations (cantorial music); the Klezmer Brass Allstars’ Di Shikere Kapelye and Brotherhood of Brass; Nigunim and the Zmiros Project (Jewish mystical songs, with Klezmatics vocalist Lorin Sklamberg); the folk opera A Night in the Old Marketplace (based on Y.L. Peretz’s 1907 play); and four releases with the Hasidic New Wave. His first symphony, 1001 Voices: A Symphony for a New America (with text by Judith Sloan and video by Warren Lehrer), premiered in 2012. His Yiddish-Cuban opera, Hatuey Memory of Fire (libretto by Elise Thoron), premiered in Cuba and New York in 2018.
London’s newest projects include the Neshome Quartet (with Marilyn Lerner, playing Jewish spiritual Jazz), and the brass trio with percussion ¡No Pasarán!, formed to perform London’s score for Jody Oberfelder’s dance piece, Rube G. He scored Maxim Pozdorovich’s feature documentary, The Conspiracy.
Zalmen Mlotek is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music and a leading figure in the Jewish theatre and concert worlds. Mr. Mlotek was raised in a prominent Yiddish-speaking family renowned for its Jewish songbook collections. His formal training as a classical musician and conductor was at the Julliard School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes School of Music. Among his most notable teachers and mentors was Leonard Bernstein. Mr. Mlotek also studied conducting with Zubin Mehta, James Levine, and other Master of Music and conducting.
Mr. Mlotek’s deep roots in Yiddish culture, his elite musical education, and his talent and passion for both have merged into a career that has revitalized the world of Yiddish music and theater. Mr. Mlotek brought Yiddish- Klezmer music to Broadway, and off-Broadway stages as a co-creator, music director, and conductor of Those Were the Days, the first bilingual music honored with a Drama Desk Award and nominated for two Tony Awards. He was co-creator, music director, and conductor for The Golden Land, an off-Broadway hit that toured nationally and was produced in Italy under the sponsorship of Leonard Bernstein. Mr. Mlotek was the arranger and music director for Robert Brustein’s acclaimed production of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Shlemiel The First at Lincoln Center’s Serious Fun Festival in 1995 that, subsequently toured to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston.
He is currently the Artistic Director, Musical Director, and Conductor of The National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene (NYTF), America’s oldest Yiddish theater. When he took over the organization in 1998, he instituted bilingual, simultaneous English and Russian supertitles at all performances. NYTF is dedicated to bringing quality performances of the spoken and sung Yiddish word, with accessible translation, all year to new audiences around the country. His vision has propelled classics, including NYTF productions of the world premiere of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Yentl (1998) in Yiddish, Di Yam Gazlonim (2006) (The Yiddish Pirates of Penzance) and the 1923 Rumshinky operetta, The Golden Bride (2016), which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and listed as a New York Times Critics Pick. Other notable productions include On Second Avenue, a historical musical overview of the heyday of the Yiddish Theater, nominated for two Drama Desk awards and performed in Los Angeles in February 2007, Amerike, The Golden Land, nominated for a Drama Desk Award, and most recently, the critically acclaimed, Fidler Afn Dakh (Fiddler on the Roof – In Yiddish).
In 1995, Mr. Mlotek conceived and was musical director for the first All-Star Klezmer Extravaganza at Lincoln Center, filmed by PBS for Great Performances and later released on CD and video as In the Fiddler’s House with Itzhak Perlman. Mlotek has concertized in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Krakow, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other cities in Europe and Israel and has performed extensively throughout North America.
His many recordings include several made at the request of the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. His tribute to wartime Yiddish Theater, Ghetto Tango, which he conceived in collaboration with Adrienne Cooper, is performed all over the world and is available on the Traditional Crossroads label. Mlotek’s Yiddish choral work can be heard on Mandy Patinkin’s Yiddish language CD Mameloshen on Nonesuch Records.
He has presented master classes in Yiddish art song, folk, and theater music and taught at Columbia University, Yeshiva University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, the University of California at Berkeley, and Bar-Ilan University.
As a leading authority on Yiddish folk and theatre music, Mr. Mlotek has taught and performed all over the world, and worked with countless singers, including Jan Peerce, Theodore Bikel, and others. His piano artistry can be heard in over two dozen recordings and films. He is gratefully married to Debra Cohen, a pediatric occupational therapist, and is a proud father and zeyde.
Eleanor Reissa is a Tony-nominated director; Broadway, film and television actress; a prize-winning playwright and an international singing artist. Former artistic director of the Folkbiene Yiddish Theater, a storyteller in English and Yiddish, she has sung in every major musical venue in New York and in festivals around the world. Current film/tv includes THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, DEAD CITY (a sequel to THE WALKING DEAD), and THE ZWEIFLERS (a new German television series). She hosts Yale University’s podcast: “Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust” and is the audio-guide narrator of “What Hate Can Do” at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Her book, The Letters Project: A Daughter’s Journey was recently published by Post Hill Press. www.eleanorreissa.com
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage present
New York Sings Yiddish!
June 14, 2023 @7PM