Friday, July 15, 2016

The Golden Bride **** A-

After a successful run last winter, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s (NYTF) production of this Yiddish operetta is back for a summer season at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. A big hit when it was produced on Second Avenue in 1923, it was still being revived 25 years later. With a luscious, eclectic score by Joseph Rumshinsky, lyrics by Louis Gilrod and a deliriously frivolous libretto by Frieda Freiman, it provides a time capsule of the popular Yiddish musical entertainment of its day. NYTF has given us a lavish production with 20 actors, an orchestra of 14, attractive sets (by John Dinning), colorful costumes (by Izzy Fields), evocative choreography (by Merete Muenster) and skillful direction (by Bryna Wasserman and Motl Didner) that does not condescend to the material. The uniformly talented cast is blessed with some outstanding voices including Rachel Policar as Goldele, Cameron Johnson as Misha and Rachel Zatcoff as Khanele. Adam B. Shapiro is a hoot in the comic role of Kalmen. The silly plot revolves around a poor girl in a Russian shtetl whose mother disappeared when she was a toddler, who comes into a large inheritance from her father in America and who offers to marry whichever suitor finds her mother. Forget the plot and just relax and enjoy the great singing, dancing and comedy. There are surtitles not only in English but also in Russian. The audience, which seemed to be composed mainly of Russian speakers, loved it. If you like operetta and are interested in the history of Yiddish theater, you will too. Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes including intermission. 

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