Monday, December 24, 2012

Off Broadway: The Golden Land

Sandy Rosenberg, Cooper Grodin, Daniella Rabbani, Andrew Keltz, Stacey Harris, and Bob Ader in THE GOLDEN LAND


The National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene production of The Golden Land has re-opened at the Baruch Performing Arts Center and is now scheduled to run through January 6, 2013.  So if you missed the original run (whose opening was delayed by Hurricane Sandy and which concluded on December 2), you've just been given a second chance to see it.  

The two hours long epic musical traces the Jewish immigrant experience from the 1880s to the mid-twentieth century and is performed in a combination of English and Yiddish, but even if you don't speak Yiddish, nisht geferlach (don't worry about it) - you'll still fully understand what's going on.  The musical attempts (mostly successfully) to cover an enormous amount of ground - chronicling Jewish history from Ellis Island to the Lower East Side to Harlem and the Ivy League, and touching along the way - in song and dance - on the beginnings of the labor union movement, the Triangle Fire, Jewish Borscht Belt humor, Yiddish Theatre, the Depression, both World Wars, the Holocaust, Rumania, the founding of the State of Israel, and much, much more.  

Created by Zalmen Mlotek and Moise Rosenfeld and directed by Bryna Wasserman, the musical is a very ambitious production.  The young and talented six person cast is called upon to play dozens of different roles and does so with great exuberance, belting out 49 songs in English and Yiddish along the way.  They are all wonderful but my absolute favorite was the dynamic Daniella Rabbani whose rendition of "Oy, I Like Him" and "A Khulem" ("A Dream") brought down the house.  The cast is solidly supported by Zalmen Mlotek's great seven piece klezmer band.


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