Experience NYC's Immigrant History with Amerike—The Golden LandJuly 18, 2017 - by Chelsey Grasso
Amerike—The Golden Land, a re-invented musical being brought back to the stage by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in NYC this summer, is a story of cultural immigration, xenophobia, social struggles, economic difficulties, and the learning of a new language, filled with powerful messages. This Off-Broadway show at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust will bring up important questions of what it means to integrate into something new, whether it be a place or a group of people, taking an immersive journey in the process.
The show is based on the real experiences of immigrants to the United States, as it paints the picture of New York City’s Lower East Side and outer boroughs, where much of the Jewish population has taken up residence. The struggle of finding a new life while holding onto old values and traditions is evident in this gripping story. Watching the show, especially in NYC itself, will serve as an enlightening chance to understand the impact that immigrants have had in the shaping of the city and the country as a whole. The soundtrack adds depth and wonder, as authentic Yiddish music is presented on a journey from the 1880s to the 1940s.
Amerike is the product of a long line of productions that have been re-imagined and altered with each new performance since its original debut as The Golden Land in 1982. The production has done just what its content suggests: persevered and adapted. The shows being put on this summer are being presented in Yiddish, which the entire cast has learned in preparation for the performances. As the story moves along, more and more English sticks out, as though the audience is experiencing language assimilation as they watch. Subtitles in English and Russian accompany the show’s dialogue.
Cast and Crew
The cast consists of Glenn Seven Allen, Alexandra Frohlinger, Jessica Rose Futran, Daniel Kahn, Dani Marcu, Stephanie Lynne Mason, David Perlman, Christopher Tefft with Maya Jacobson, Alexander Kosmowksi, Isabel Nesti, Raquel Nobile, Grant Richards, and Bobby Underwood. Many of these performers have credits from Broadway, including shows like West Side Story, Light in the Piazza, and Fiddler on the Roof. Daniel Kahn, the only native Yiddish speaker in the cast, even performed in a Yiddish version of Death of a Salesman.
The show will be directed by Bryna Wasserman, a Drama Desk Nominee; and the behind-the-scenes team features Eileen F. Haggerty as stage manager with assistant Rachel Calter and a design team of Yael Lubetzky, Izzy Fields, Jason Lee Courson, Patrick Calhoun, and Colleen Lynch.
The play was written by Moishe Rosenfeld and Zalmen Mlote.
Amerike—The Golden Land will be playing at the Museum of Jewish Heritage through August 6th. Tickets prices range from $35 to $65, and you can purchase them either by calling 866-811-4111 or visiting the website, nytf.org.