American Premiere New Yiddish Theatrical Concert pleytem tsuzamen פּליטים צוזאַמען (Refugees Together)

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      March 26, 2023, at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – 

    – Two Performances Only –

     This March 26, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will bring together – for two performances only – some of the most renowned Yiddish musicians from across the globe for the American premiere of the new Yiddish theatrical concert pleytem tsuzamen (Refugees Together).

    A star-studded cast of master singers from across the world – Ukraine, Latvia, Berlin, England, and the Americas – will perform a contemporary musical exploration of resistance, weaving a defiant garment of hope in a threatening and threatened world.

    The performance, from creators Josh Waletzky, and Jeyn Levison, and director Michael Barakiva, runs for two performances only. Purchase tickets here.

     pleytem tsuzamen (Refugees Together) is a call for solidarity with those who are most threatened. Confronting our current reality, the songs present a dynamic fusion of traditional forms with the social, political, and personal challenges posed by the world today — and they embody the power of music to foster the courage we need to “link arms and take to the streets together against bloodshed and hatred.”

    The cast includes Daniel Kahn (voice, accordion, guitar), Sveta Kundish (voice), Sasha Lurje (voice), Polina Shepherd (voice, piano), Josh Waletzky (voice), Merlin Shepherd (clarinet), Ilya Shneyveys (accordion, piano), Jake Shulman-Ment (violin), Beth Silver (cello), and Deborah Strauss (violin).

     

    Waletzky wrote these songs for this chosen group of master Yiddish singers and instrumentalists—the foremost contemporary performers on the global Yiddish scene. The work was first presented in a workshop concert in July 2019 at the Yiddish Summer Weimar festival, where it originally was commissioned.

    In the resurgent interest in Yiddish theater of the past decades, one gap has stood out. “Where is the newly written material, Yiddish texts written today, about our world today?” pleytem tsuzamen (Refugees Together) answers that question resoundingly. Michael Barakiva directs the production, which features music and lyrics written by Josh Waletzky and a new book by Jeyn Levison. The production features sand art by Ukrainian Jewish artist Zhenya Lopatnik. The show will be presented with supertitles in English and Ukrainian.

    National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents the American premiere, long-delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 26, 2023, at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, in Battery Park City. To increase safety for all, the 6 p.m. performance will require audience masking.

    Josh Waletzky is the foremost Yiddish songwriter of the 21st century. Ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin has called him “the poet laureate of new Yiddish songwriting. He blends a deep sensitivity to poetics and heartfelt messages with a native’s ear for the sinuous and sensual sound of eastern European Jewish melody.” Critic Seth Rogovoy has written, “If Steven Sondheim wrote in the language and musical idiom of his forebears, he would be Joshua Waletzky.”

    To date, institutional support for pleytem tsuzamen comes from The Center for Traditional Music and Dance, The Kronhill Pletka FoundationThe League for YiddishWestern States CenterThe Yiddish Book CenterThe YIVO Institute, and Yiddish New York.

    About National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

    National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is the longest consecutively producing theatre in the US and the world’s oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre company. NYTF’s Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, originally produced in 2018, sold out for six months before moving uptown to Off-Broadway’s Stage 42, where it played for a year before returning in the fall of 2022 for a celebrated seven-week run. The production won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical, a New York Drama Critics Circle Special Citation, an Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical Revival, and a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical – Steven Skybell. Last year, NYTF also staged the New York premiere of Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s award-winning Harmony.

     

    NYTF 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, Russian, and Ukrainian 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.

    About Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

    The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors and community members about Jewish life and heritage before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third largest Holocaust museum in the world, 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’s current offerings include The Holocaust: What Hate Can Do, a major new exhibition offering a timely and expansive presentation of Holocaust history, on view in the main galleries. Also on view is Survivors: Faces of Life After the Holocaust, featuring photographer Martin Schoeller’s portraits of Holocaust survivors on view in the Rita Lowenstein Gallery. Opening this fall is the Museum’s first exhibition for visitors aged 9 and up, Courage to Act: Rescue in Denmark, which will bring the lessons of the Holocaust to life through the remarkable story of Danish collective resistance during World War II.

    Each year, the Museum presents over 75 public programs, connecting our community in person and virtually through lectures, book talks, concerts, and more. For more info visit: http://mjhnyc.org/events. Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.

    For more information, visit: https://mjhnyc.org

     

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