Friday, June 4, 2010


A bit of a tongue twister to the uninitiated to be sure. A simpler and briefer start to this is to tell you that it is now playing at the National Yiddish Theater (Folksbiene) in the Baruch Center for The Arts  in NYC (25th St. /Lexington Ave.).  The brief run ends on June 27.2010.

This is a musical play based on a real, supposedly, folk hero of a play written by Moishe Gershenson.  The cast includes--and not in order of appearance---Mike Burstyn (Hershelle), I W Firestone (Reb Kalmen) Dani Marcus (Tsipke), Daniella Rabbani (Dvoshe) and a bevy of other talented artists.

If the children of Tevya were orphans and one of them wanted to marry this might well have been her story.  A comedic tale in the tradition of Fiddler, Gilbert and Sullivan, and totally Yiddish in concept with music to add to that concept. And also totally equal to the power and story line of Fiddler on the Roof thanks to this brilliant cast and the interpretation of the director.

An opening number featuring the entire cast singing the number in Yiddish and each chorus of that in English is musically brilliant and then shifts to the entrance of the two lovers singing entirely in Yiddish (fear not---supertitles in English and Russian (?) for that and the rest of the show.  Enter, then, our hero---Hershelle (Mike Burstyn) in a number that will floor anyone who sees it. 

The two lovers have, of course, a problem and the only thing standing in their way is Reb Kalmen---the Pawnbroker who holds the ring of the girl's grandmother that is needed for the wedding and can only be returned to her. She, however, is dead.    

What transpires to bring off a wonderful wedding thanks to Hershelle and to the many characters he creates to fool, not only, Reb Kalman, the pawnbroker and miser (I W Firestone), Genendl (Lori Wilner), Zaydl (Steve Sterner) and the redemption of Kalman in the likes of Scrooge is a wonderful tale filled with some joyous music that will have everyone's feet tapping.

While Mike Burstyn will totally grab you with his solo numbers---and even his Michael Jackson "moonwalk"--there are numbers that have the power to move you in so many ways---Meshuge, Koynim (where are the Customers) , and so many more.  

Eleanor Reissa directed and choreographed this production and Zalmen  Mlotek (with thanks to his mother for initially starting the project---years ago) is the musical director for the Folksbiene.

The credits could go on for a long time since the lighting, stage setting, and all the other accoutrement need for for such a production are endless but, suffice it to say, here are some credits"

Lighting:   Kirk Brookman
Costumes   Gail Cooper Hecht
Scenic Designer: Roger Hanna

This production runs through June 27 and tickets can be purchased by calling 646 312-5073 or go to

Thursday, June 3, 2010

THURSDAY--Another Edition of......:

A flip of the fedora to Jimmy Cannon.


1) The NY Times critic hit it on the head when commenting on the cancellation of “Law and Order”---An operetta compared to the Grand Opera of “Homicide---Life on The Streets” (I paraphrased and it was more detailed).

2) Richard Clarke’s latest book---“Cyber Wars” is a must read if you want to know the newest battlefield---and, strangely, being non-wired might make a nation less subject to successful attack and being totally wired (power grid, communications, etc;) more vulnerable.

3) Since less technology might be better---as in less is more---moving into a cave might not be so bad and I doubt that Bin Laden would be my neighbor since I suspect he is living high off the hog (well, not “kosher”—or whatever expression a Muslim would use) in a posh pad somewhere.

4) Why do nations play into the hands of provocateurs when it comes to PR? Israel did not do wrong---they just handled it wrongly and gave the publicity hounds exactly what they wanted.

5) You have to wonder why an Arabic Knesset member was aboard the ship and then spouted off to the news media. That says more to Israel’s openness to people than to Hamas’ flouting of rules of civility.

6) Memorial Day has come and gone and TCM played some grand old films---but the only one two I watched were real classics---From Here To Eternity and Mr. Roberts. Hard to believe that those films are around 60 years old---way past draft age.

7) Seems that acting had gotten a lot better around the time those films came out and I still think Frank Sinatra was a better actor than a crooner.

8) I am always delighted to find that the writers of “Family Guy” have the same sense of humor that I do and I always wish that it were possible to let youngsters watch---but not a good idea.

9) Having lost track of how many channels are now offered on Cable, Satellite, and whatever else there is out there I am still trying to count the programs that might be of interest (and new) and have to use two hands with, thankfully, ten fingers. So far---one hand does it. One finger does it for some of them---the middle one.

10) Having seen a Podiatrist today I am happy to find that he found nothing wrong in the area where my brains are stored.