A CurtainUp Review
The Golden Bride (Di Goldene Kale)
The show was remounted for a summer run at
The Museum of Jewish Heritage
is located at 36 Battery Place at First Place (accessible from the 4/5 trains at Bowling or the 1/R at Rector Street.(866) 811-4111 or nytf.org. Performance schedule: Mondays at 7:30pm; Wednesdays at 2pm & 7:30pm; Thursdays at
2pm; and Sundays at 2pm & 6pm with additional performances
August 9 at 2pm and August 11 at 7:30pm, through August 28th.
Long live my dead father, who left me such a large inheritance!
Gilbert and Sullivan meet klezmer in the 101-year-old National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's The Golden Bride (Di Goldene Kale), a 1920s operetta with music by Joseph Rumshinsky, lyrics by Louis Gilrod and a libretto by Frieda Freiman. Co-directed by Bryna Wasserman and Motl Didner, The Golden Bride features a cast of over 20 backed by a 14-piece orchestra.
Jillian Gottlieb, center, as Khanele
The plot involves marriage, money, family and love— all subjects that make up the heartbeat of Yiddish theater. Goldele (Rachel Policar), who was abandoned by her parents and raised by innkeepers Pinchas (Bruce Rebold) and Toybe (Lisa Fishman), is suddenly made rich by the death of her missing father. Now all the eligible bachelors of the shtetl want her for their wife.
But, to the chagrin of all these hopefuls, Goldele's rich American Uncle Benjamin (Bob Ader) has arrived with his son, Jerome (Glenn Seven Allen), and plans to bring her back to his mansion in the States. This is especially heartbreaking to Pinchas and Toybe's son, Misha (Cameron Johnson), who has been in love with Goldele since their youth.
As if this weren't enough, Goldele soon declares she will marry only the man who can find her long lost mother. This sends Misha and two other suitors off on the age-old quest in which the hero must find the treasure to win the bride.
True to so much of musical theater, there's a subplot here involving another pair of lovers. Misha's sister Khanele (Jillian Gottleib) and Jerome are also in love. The match between this spoiled and feckless youth and an unworldly but clever young lady seems unlikely, but in this fantastical and romantic world, who knows?
There's little doubt that love will triumph in this winsome operetta. But it's the warmth and humor we encounter along the way that makes The Golden Bride so enchanting.
The music ranges from waltz to opera to vaudeville. There are even a few songs that might remind one of what might be heard in a synagogue today. And many of the fantastic and flexible voices that bring these songs to life would be at home in both Broadway and opera houses.
John Dinning's fanciful set, complete with trellises and trees, is true to operetta, but Izzy Fields' period costumes are more Second Avenue and vaudeville. Like Yiddish itself, The Golden Bride is an eclectic mixture that ends up being totally unique and wonderful. It originally played at the Second Avenue Theater in 1923 for 18 weeks before going on tour in both America and overseas. In the following ninety-two years this charming show has been lost to theater goers.
Jews in America today are no longer the recently arrived Yiddish-speaking immigrants they were then. In fact, although The Golden Bride is presented in Yiddish, English and Russian super titles are provided for the mostly non Yiddish speakers in the audience. So you don't have to speak Yiddish to enjoy The Golden Bride. And you don't have to be Jewish. All you need is an open heart, a sense of humor and a love of life.
The Golden Bride (Di Goldene Kale)|
Music by Joseph Rumshinsky
Lyrics by Louis Gilrod
Libretto by Frieda Freiman
Directed by Bryna Waserman and Motl Didner
Cast: Bob Ader (Benjamin), Glenn Seven Allen (Jerome), Lisa Fishman (Toybe), Regina Gibson (Sheyndl), Jillian Gottlieb (Khanele), Cameron Johnson (Misha), Rachel Policar (Goldele), Bruce Rebold (Pinchas), Adam B. Shapiro (Kalmen)
Scenic Design: John Dinning
Costume Design: Izzy Fields
Lighting Design: Yael Lubetzky
Sound Design: John Emmett O'Brien
Production Stage Manager: Sean Francis Patrick
Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission
The Museum of Jewish Heritage at 36 Battery Place
From 12/02/15; opening 12/09/15;closing 1/03/16
Tickets: $35 Previews/$40, 866.811.4111
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons Dec.10, 2015
Freyt ayhk (Rejoice)/Toybe, Pinchas, Kalmen, Company
Kanele! Kanele!/Jerome, Company
Ot iz Khanele (Here Is Khanele)/Khanele, Goldele, Female Company
Heym zise heym (Home, Sweet Home)/Misha
Mayn Goldele (My Goldele)/Goldele, Misha, Company
Over ther (Over There)/Khanele/Jerome
Dray khasanim (Three Suitors)/Yankl, Motke, Berke
Freyt zenen a le meydlekh (We're All Girls)/Kalmen, Female Company
Mir zenen aktyorn (We Are Actors)/Khanele/Jerome
A grus fun dem nayem rusland (A Greeting from the New Russia)/Misha
Der Masknbal (The Masked Ball)/Company
Zise derinerung (Sweet Memory)/Godele, Misha
Mir vintshn ale (We All Wish You)/Reprise Mayne Goldele/Company
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