Yiddish theater marks 100th anniversary with international Jewish performing arts festival, set for June.
It’s like the Summer Olympics of Yiddish, without the competition.
In a week of back-to-back performances, Yiddish will be heard in multi-accented songs, shouts and whispers on stages throughout the city, when the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene presents KulturfestNYC, an ambitious celebration of its 100th anniversary being billed as a major international Jewish performing arts festival.
While its central motif is a precariously perched violinist, “Fiddler on the Roof” has about as tight a grip on the Jewish — and non-Jewish — imagination as any work of popular culture. This was abundantly in evidence on Monday night, at the jubilant celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic musical, orchestrated by the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre.
Largest cast ever for Yiddish theater’s musical adaptation of ‘Lies My Father Told Me.’
Special To The Jewish Week
It was a kind of Canadian spin-off of “Fiddler on the Roof.” When Jan Kadar’s cinematic classic, “Lies My Father Told Me,” premiered in 1975, it was hailed as a stunning evocation of Jewish life in Montreal in the 1920s, as the older immigrant generation and its ways began to fade into obsolescence. The tale of a 6-year- old boy caught between his Tevye-like grandfather and his ambitious, money-hungry father, the film rode the wave of multiculturalism that had engulfed North America, and focused new attention on Jewish ethnicity.
The tunes in the musical ‘The Golden Land’ are ‘living documents of Jewish life in America.’
Special to the Jewish Week
Of all the enticing myths about America that drove Eastern European Jews to uproot themselves and immigrate to these shores, perhaps the most seductive was that the streets were paved with gold. Nor was it just the streets — America itself was known as the “goldene medina.”