Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn
Through The Golden Age of American Yiddish Theater
Join Zalmen Mlotkek, Artistic Director of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene and Musical Director of Fidler Afn Dakh (Fiddler on the Roof – In Yiddish), directed by Joel Grey, as he leads us on a one-of-a-kind journey of the Yiddish theater, from its European roots to Ellis Island, Second Avenue and beyond, joined by renowned singers Cantor Elizabeth Shammash and Broadway star Steven Skybell. The storytelling-in-song takes us from despair to hope to entertainment, and everything in between, with musical influences of operetta, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, including chestnuts such as Rozhinkes mit Mandlen and Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn. The message is timeless, speaking to this moment with immigration hopes, dreams and desperation, the drive to make a new life in a new homeland and integration of personal stories with humor and poignancy. Originally commissioned by Lyric Fest, one of Philadelphia’s premiere musical organizations, this show received acclaim as a powerful fusion of entertainment and education.*
STEVEN SKYBELL- most recently starred off-Broadway as Tevye in FIDDLER ON
THE ROOF in Yiddish directed by Joel Grey, for which he received the Lucille Lortel
award for Best Performance by a leading actor in a musical. His other Broadway
credits include: the 2016 revival of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF(Lazar Wolf); PAL JOEY;
WICKED; THE FULLY MONTY; LOVE!VALOUR!COMPASSION!; CAFÉ CROWN; AH,
WILDERNESS! His additional off-Broadway credits include: BABETTE’S FEAST,
CYMBELINE, ANTIGONE in NY (Obie Award) Other: CAMELOT (Helen Hayes
nomination); BROKEN GLASS, CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE (both, Connecticut Critics Circle nomination); HENRY V (Shakespeare Globe, London) TV/Film: “Blue Bloods” “Elementary,” “Chicago P.D.,” Cradle Will Rock, Simply Irresistible, Arthur Miller’s Everybody Wins, many others.
Praised as “a mezzo voice that makes one sit up and take notice” (Boston Globe), Elizabeth Shammash has enjoyed a career that embraces many genres. Symphonic appearances have included the Israel Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony, Los Angeles Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra. Recital and chamber music have brought her to residencies at the Ravinia Festival, Beijing Music Festival, Tanglewood and Marlboro Music. She has recorded extensively for the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, including Yiddish Theater and art songs of Lazar Weiner. Recent appearances at YIVO in New York City have included an evening of Hebrew art song and a concert of Yiddish art song. She is a graduate of Brown University in Italian Studies, Manhattan School of Music and the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she received ordination as Hazzan. She makes her home in Philadelphia with her husband David and their dog, Lenny.
Zalmen Mlotek is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music as well as a leading figure in the Jewish theatre and concert worlds. For the past 20 years, Zalmen Mlotek has been the Artistic Director and conductor at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. He was the musical director and conductor of critically acclaimed, Fidler Afn Dakh (Fiddler on the Roof – In Yiddish), directed by Joel Grey. He brought Yiddish-Klezmer music to Broadway and Off-Broadway stages with the Tony-nominated Those Were the Days and Drama Desk Nominated Amerike – The Golden Land. He serves as Music Director for most NYTF productions, including the Drama Desk Nominated musical, THE GOLDEN BRIDE. His music can be heard in over two-dozen recordings and films, has taught and performed all over the world and worked with countless singers including Jan Peerce, Theodore Bikel and Mandy Patinkin. Mlotek received his musical training at the Juilliard School of Music and studied under Leonard Bernstein.