“A Klezmer’s Tale” was one of the early productions of my artistic directorship of the Folksbiene (NYTF). It was a collaboration with Eleanor Reissa, the director, with Mina Bern in the cast. Frank London was enlisted to work on the music with me and we created a score based on folksongs that would be interpolated into the text. For this 1999 production the English title, “A Klezmer’s Tale” was created. The original title of the play is “Yoshke Muzikant,” by Osip Dimov. I had created the music for an earlier Folksbiene production in 1973. Back then the great actor and director Joseph Buloff and his wife Luba Kadison adapted, starred, and directed the “Yoshke Muzikant” production. That was when the Folksbiene theater was still in The Forward building at 175 East Broadway.
For an archived review in the Columbia Daily Spectator (December 8. 1999) click here.
Zalmen Mlotek (Yiddish: זלמן נתן מלאטעק), born June 15, 1951 in the Bronx, NY), is an American conductor, pianist, musical arranger, accompanist, composer, and the Artistic Director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF), the longest continuous running Yiddish theatre in the world. He is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music and a leading figure in the Jewish theatre and concert worlds. As the Artistic Director of the NYTF for the past twenty years, Mlotek helped revive Yiddish classics, instituted bi-lingual simultaneous English and Russian supertitles at all performances and brought leading creative artists of television, theatre and film, such as Itzhak Perlman, Mandy Patinkin, Sheldon Harnick, Theo Bikel, Ron Rifkin, Mandy Patinkin and Joel Grey, to the Yiddish stage. His vision has propelled classics including NYTF productions of the world premiere of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Yentl in Yiddish (1998), Di Yam Gazlonim (The Yiddish Pirates of Penzance, 2006) and the 1923 Rumshinky operetta, The Golden Bride (2016), which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and listed as a New York Times Critics Pick. During his tenure at the NYTF, the theatre company has been nominated for over ten Drama Desk Awards, four Lucille Lortel Awards, and has been nominated for three Tony Awards. In 2015, he was listed as one of the Forward 50 by The Forward, which features American Jews who have had a profound impact on the American Jewish community. (Wikipedia)