Folksbiene, Neil Sedaka
The National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene stages a tribute to the legendary singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, on Tuesday June 12 at 7:30pm. The gala concert, with performances by the Broadway actor and Israeli singer Dudu Fisher, Jay Black of Jay and the Americans, Klezmatics star Lorin Sklamberg, and the actor-singers Eleanor Reissa, Lori Wilner, Robert Abelson, Dani Marcus, and Rebecca Garfein, among many others, celebrates the wide-ranging impact of Yiddish culture on other popular cultures.
The Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel will introduce Sedaka and the noted Yiddish song-anthologist Chana Mlotek. In addition, the Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz will be on hand to pay homage to Sedaka on behalf of the singer's homeborough. The medical leader H Jay Wisnicki is the evening's third honoree.
With music direction by Folksbiene Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek, the evening recognizes how the vast legacy of Yiddish culture -- spanning centuries, cultures, art forms and geography, and having withstood unimaginable threats to its very existence -- has always, and continues to spawn new work in music, theatre, literature and many other media. "Thanks to devoted scholars and preservationists like Chana Mlotek, Yiddish still inspires countless artists working in a spectrum of media in direct and even subtle ways," comments Folksbiene's Executive Director Bryna Wasserman. "The fact that new work inspired by this legacy is being created by young artists today is a remarkable development," she continues.
The son of Turkish Jewish immigrants, Neil Sedaka grew up hearing Yiddish in the homes of neighbors and on records in his own home in Brighton Beach. In 2003 he released "Brighton Beach Memories," in which he performed an all-Yiddish collection of songs in honor of his wife, Leba, and her mother. In 2004, Sedaka headlined a special benefit concert for Folksbiene at Carnegie Hall that put a special exclamation point on his devotion to his family's heritage. The rock 'n roll legend, Songwriters Hall of Fame member, and 2004 recipient of the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Popular Music, has written countless #1 hits in a career spanning six decades.