Folksbiene Presents World’s Largest Festival of Jewish Performing Arts — Spanning Music, Theatre, Dance, Film and Social Engagement
The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) presents KulturfestNYC, the international festival of Jewish performing arts, that attracted 50K+ attendees in one week in its June 2015 inaugural year, and this year returns for three months, from June 6 to August 29. With over three-dozen separate events in venues across the city, the summer-long festival welcomes artists and groups from France, Romania, Japan, Israel, Russia and the U.S.
The Festival’s eclectic programming includes concerts at SummerStage in Central Park; City Winery; Joe’s Pub at The Public; the Robert F. Wagner Park in Lower Manhattan, and The Paper Box in Brooklyn. The theatre events take place at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Park Place, which is the Festival’s headquarters.
A number of outdoor and family cultural events — including a street fair, music brunches, singalongs and barbecues — are also scheduled throughout the Festival, emphasizing cross-cultural and cross-generational audience engagement.
FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS (Theatre)
NYTF’s critically acclaimed “Di Goldene Kale” (“The Golden Bride”) plays a special eight-week encore engagement from July 4 to August 28. The Drama Desk-nominated production (Best Revival of a Musical and Best Direction), which rescued and recreated a long-lost Joseph Rumshinsky operetta, returns with its original (and youthful) cast. The crowd-pleasing NY Times Critics’ Pick production starts off with a bang: Enjoy a post-show “Coming to America” July 4th fireworks celebration and bbq reception. July 4 to August 28, Museum of Jewish Heritage. Tickets www.kulturfestnyc.org
NYFT presents a unique “’Fiddler on the Roof’ Father’s Day Singalong.” This interactive event uses the 1971 film adaptation as its anchor and will feature past and present stars of the beloved musical. Confirmed so far are Rosalind Harris (Tzeitel in the film); Neva Small (Chava in the film), and Adam B. Shapiro (Kalmen the matchmaker from “The Golden Bride”). Sunday June 19 at 3pm. Museum of Jewish Heritage. Tickets www.kulturfestnyc.org
From France, Der LufTeater’s Rafael Goldwaser’s solo performance “Uncle Arthur” about the Israeli playwright Dani Horowitz’s doomed attempts to reverse the damage of his past, and the long-term effects of survival. Wednesday June 22 at 7:30pm & Friday June 24 at 1pm. Baruch Performing Arts Center Tickets www.kulturfestnyc.org
KulturfestNYC welcomes “Tararam” — Israel’s seismically talented rhythm and dance ensemble — for an amazing outdoor family music & theatre concert celebration. Described as the Israeli “Stomp,” this group’s ingenious harnessing of drums and other acoustic instruments, as well as their bodies, creates a deeply thrilling, organic sensory experience flowing from Jewish folk and ancient world traditions. Sunday August 7, 4pm. Robert F. Wagner Park, adjacent to the Museum of Jewish Heritage. FREE
FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS (Music)
Get ready for the return of “Yiddish Soul” at SummerStage in Central Park! — this year featuring the internationally acclaimed Dudu Fisher. A remarkable concert blending Eastern European and American music, “Yiddish Soul” brings together an eye-popping minion of cantorial and Chassidic superstars, including Netanel Hershtik, Yanky Lemmer, The Maccabeats, Joseph Malovany, Lipa Schmeltzer and Zusha. Only in New York, my brother, only in New York! Wednesday June 15, 7pm. City Parks Foundation SummerStage (enter at 72nd Street, 5th Avenue). FREE
Have a ball at the “Borscht Ball.” Sponsored by the Genesis Philanthropy Group, this festival party-concert showcases the talents of leading Russian klezmer and Jewish pop musicians playing high energy music that you think you know but you’ve never heard quite like this before. Thursday June 16, 8pm. The Paper Box, 17 Meadow Street, Brooklyn. Tickets www.kulturfestnyc.org
Here’s a page burner. Introducing the “Brothers Nazaroff” a special confederation of some of the world’s top Yiddish/klezmer stars — Daniel Kahn, Psoy Korolenko, Michael Alpert, Bob Cohen, Jake Shulman-Ment, and Hampus Melin. Friday June 17, 9:30pm. Joe’s Pub at The Public, 425 Lafayette Street. Tickets www.kulturfestnyc.org
ALSO AT JOE’S PUB
Yemen Blues, a contemporary mix of Sephardic, Mizrahi, blues, and West African (June 6, 9:30pm); Andy Statman (June 16, 9:30pm); Eleanor Reissa and Frank London & The Klezmer Brass Allstars release new album “A Vilde Mikhaye” (June 20, 9:30pm).
KLEZMER BRUNCH SERIES AT CITY WINERY
Enjoy enriching concerts mixing traditional and contemporary Jewish styles, and featuring some of New York’s most accomplished musicians: Litvakus & Friends (Sunday June 26, 11am); Howard Leshaw (Sunday July 3, 11am); Lyla Canté (Sunday July 31, 11am); Isle of Klezbos (Sunday August 21, 11am).
The Workmen’s Circle hosts one of New York’s most lively summer street fairs, “A Taste of Jewish Culture Street Fair.” Foodies of all ages and descriptions enjoy the food, art and handiwork of dozens of purveyors in this day of all days of eating, learning and celebrating the many wonders of Jewish life in New York. Sunday June 26, 11am to 6pm. Sixth Avenue between 48th & 50th Streets
The Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene — now in its 101st consecutive season — celebrates the Jewish experience through the performing arts and transmits a rich cultural legacy in exciting new ways. Zalmen Mlotek serves as artistic director; Bryna Wasserman is the executive director, and Christopher Massimine is the executive producer. The Festival organizers are Moishe Rosenfeld of Golden Land Concerts & Connections, and Folksbiene Associate Artistic Director Motl Didner.
The 2nd annual KulturfestNYC is presented by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in collaboration with UJA-Federation of New York and Capital One. Festival sponsors also include Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks, and Forest City Ratner.