The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's limited run of Abraham Goldfaden's operetta The Sorceress closed as scheduled yesterday, January 1, after beginning performances December 25, 2017, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
Inspired by last season's revival of Joseph Rumshinsky's The Golden Bride, another lost operetta of the Yiddish theater canon, The Sorceress was the first piece brought to life under the Folksbiene's new Global Yiddish Theatre Restoration Project. Directed by the associate artistic director Motl Didner, with music direction by artistic director Zalmen Mlotek, The Sorceress was presented as a work-in-development, performed in Yiddish with English and Russian supertitles.
Populated with a cast of unforgettable characters including a deviously wicked stepmother, a humorous itinerant peddler, and a scheming sorceress, The Sorceress conjures up a fairy-tale-like world starring an innocent young heroine and her dashing fiancé.
The cast featured Michael Yashinsky in his Folksbiene debut as Bobe Yakhne, with Stephanie Lynne Mason as Mirele, Pat Constant as Markus, Steve Sterner as Hotsmakh, Rachel Botchan as Basye, and Chelsea Feltman, with Kirk Geritano, Emily Hoolihan, Richard Lisenby, Riley McFarland, Raquel Nobile, Bruce Rebold, Gera Sandler, Kayleen Seidl, Lisa Stockman, Bobby Underwood, and Tatiana Wechsler.
The production also featured musical staging by Merete Muenter. Folksbiene CEO Christopher Massimine served as producer, with casting by Jamibeth Margolis.
Written in 1879 by Abraham Goldfaden, known as "the father of Yiddish theater," The Sorceress was the first Yiddish Theatre production ever produced in the United States. Its U.S. premiere, presented in 1882, was conceived and directed by a then-14-year-old Boris Thomashefsky, who went on to become one of the preeminent names of the Yiddish theater.
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