National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents Purim Celebration Feb 22-25
Hava Tequila Cabaret presents stars of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, The Sorceress; The Megillah in Yiddish features lively readings from Israel, Canada, Australia, Romania, and Argentina—
Artists and performers from around the world join National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) to celebrate Purim virtually from February 22-25, 2021. The Purim Celebration features a stellar, star-studded line-up of Yiddish music, Cabaret, and a special reading of the Megiles Ester (The Book of Ester) in Yiddish.
Each event is available “on-demand” from its start time at https://nytf.org/. Hava Tequila Cabaret is available for a limited time starting February 24 at 7 PM ET through Sunday, February 28 at 7 PM ET. All other programs will remain on the website with free access.
“Amid the pandemic, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene is reaching audiences both close to home and around the world through dynamic and innovative programs that enlighten, that entertain, and that celebrate our culture,” said Zalmen Mlotek, Artistic Director. Dominick Balletta, Executive Director added, “Purim is a period for joyous celebration and so we’re proud to celebrate with an exceptional group of young performers who are part of the Folksbiene community—and in doing so connect with communities from near and far.”
The celebration begins on Monday, February 22 at 1 PM ET, with one of Folksbiene! LIVE’s signature programs, NYTF Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek’s Living Room Concerts. Mlotek will present a selection of Yiddish Purim Songs.
On Tuesday, February 23 at 1 PM ET, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Associate Artistic Director Motl Didner will present a Purim-themed episode of 15 Minute Yiddish featuring an original Purim Shpil, the earliest form of Yiddish theater, performed by 15 Minute Yiddish fan-favorite characters Helen, Murray, Professor Thompson, Sophia, Scott, and Wayne. This episode also marks the Season 2 finale. Didner’s weekly lessons have gained a cult following, teaching adults the basics of Yiddish conversation—no experience necessary.
On Wednesday, February 24, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene will introduce a new quarterly series, Hava Tequila Cabaret. The inaugural episode is hosted by Adam B. Shapiro, one of the stars of the award-winning Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and the host and director of Folksbiene’s Chanukah Spectacular, which premiered in December 2020 and drew over 35,000 viewers. This fun-filled event brings together a cast of young and rising talent—most of who’s starred in National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene productions like Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and The Sorceress, including, Dani Apple, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Daniella Rabbani, Lauren Jeanne Thomas, Bobby Underwood, and Mikhl Yashinsky. Michael Winograd will join Daniella Rabbani to perform a duet. Hava Tequila Cabaret is a benefit for the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene through permission from Theatre Authority, Inc.
This program is available on-demand—watch any time beginning Wednesday, February 24 at 7 PM ET through Sunday, February 28 at 7 PM ET. As with all Folksbiene! LIVE programming, other Purim Celebration events will remain for free on the website after their start time.
Closing the festival on Thursday, February 25 at 7 PM ET, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust host a simkhe (celebration) in honor of Purim, led by Motl Didner. The simkhe will feature a lively reading of the Megiles Ester (Book of Ester) in Yiddish—as translated by the great poet Yehoash, featuring a cast of international readers, Rivka Augenfeld (Yiddish activist, Montreal, Canada), Cantor Arianne Brown (Adas Israel Congregation, Washington DC), Mendy Cahan (Founder of Israel’s Yung Yiddish), Jeanette Friedman (NYTF Board of Directors alumna), Rafael Goldwasser (Internationally renowned actor, Buenos Aires, Argentina), Anna Fishman Gonshor (Lecturer, McGill University, Montreal, Canada), Zalmen Mlotek (NYTF Artistic Director), Maia Morgenstern (Director, State Jewish Theater, Bucharest, Romania), Freidelle Mrocki (Singer and Yiddish teacher, Melbourne, Australia), and Shmuel Atzmon Wirtzer (Founder of Israel’s Yiddishpiel Theater).
Following the reading, the Brooklyn-based klezmer ensemble Litvakus will take the stage for a festive musical performance. The group was founded and is led by D. Zisl Slepovitch and includes Zoë Aqua, Taylor Bergren-Chrisman, Joshua Camp, and Sam Weisenberg. The program also will feature a presentation by Ari Goldstein, Senior Programs Producer at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, of historic artifacts from the Museum’s collection illustrating Purim and its role in 20th-century European Jewish communities.
About the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
Now celebrating its 106th season, Tony Award-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is the longest consecutively producing theatre in the U.S. and the world’s oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre company. NYTF, which presented the award-winning Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, directed by Joel Grey, to sold-out audiences before it moved to Off-Broadway uptown, is in residence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director Dominick Balletta, NYTF is dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations, and bridging communities. NYTF aims to bring history to life by reviving and restoring lost and forgotten work, commissioning new work, and adapting pre-existing work for the 21st Century. Serving a diverse audience comprised of performing arts patrons, cultural enthusiasts, Yiddish-language aficionados, and the general public, the company presents plays, musicals, concerts, lectures, interactive educational workshops, and community-building activities in English and Yiddish, with English and Russian supertitles accompanying performances. NYTF provides access to a century-old cultural legacy and inspires the imaginations of the next generation to contribute to this valuable body of work. Learn more at www.nytf.org.
About the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third-largest Holocaust museum in the world and the second-largest in North America, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of almost 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The Museum is the home of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.
Currently on view in the acclaimed exhibition Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away. This is the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the history of Auschwitz and its role in the Holocaust ever presented in North America, bringing together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from over 20 institutions and museums around the world.
Meyer Harroch – New York Jewish Guide