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National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene
Address 36 Battery Place, NY, NY 10280
New York City
United States
Type Yiddish theatre
Opened 1915

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, commonly known as NYTF, is a professional theater company in New York City which produces both Yiddish plays and plays translated into Yiddish, in a theater equipped with simultaneous superscript translation into English. The company's leadership consists of artistic director Zalmen Mlotek (considered to be one of the world's top authorities on Yiddish culture), executive director and producer Christopher Massimine, associate artistic director Motl Didner. The notably distinguished board is chaired by Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, principal at Bernstein Global Wealth Management, and vice chaired by Feliks Frenkel, principal at OTW Wealth Management.

Folksbiene (Yiddish for the People's Stage) was founded in 1915, by the Workmen's Circle,[1] on New York City’s Lower East Side, and is thought to be "New York’s oldest theater company, English or Yiddish, commercial or not."[2] The era when it was founded is considered to be the height of Yiddish theater; at the time there were 15 Yiddish theatre companies in the Yiddish Theater District in New York and many more worldwide. Due to the destruction of European Jewry by the German Nazis, the Folksbiene is one of only five professional Yiddish theatre companies still in operation; also in New York City is the New Yiddish Rep, and the others are in Bucharest, Warsaw and Tel Aviv.[3]

The company's 2006 production of Di Yam Gazlonim, a Yiddish adaptation of The Pirates of Penzance, by Al Grand, was nominated for the 2007 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revival, and their 2012/13 Off Broadway production of The Golden Land was nominated for the 2013 Drama Desk Award for outstanding Musical Revival. In the summer of 2012, Folksbiene announced their plans to create a major international Festival of new works in celebrating their Centennial in 2015. A play contest accompanying the festival will be juried by producer Manny Azenberg; the Tony Award-winning composer and songwriter Jason Robert Brown ("Parade"), and the playwrights Joe DiPietro (Tony Award for "Memphis"); Obie Award-winning Israel Horovitz, and Pulitzer Prize finalist Jon Marans ("Old Wicked Songs").

A revival of the 1923 operetta The Golden Bride in 2015/6 drew press attention.[4][5] NYTF is a producer on the current Broadway play "Indecent."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene: History, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, accessed November 23, 2016
  2. ^ Shephard, Richard F. and Levi, Vicki Gold. Live & Be Well: A Celebration of Yiddish Culture in America. Rutgers University Press, 2000, p. 56
  3. ^ Folksbiene: History
  4. ^ Schleier, Carl (8 December 2015). "A classic Yiddish operetta, revived for a new generation". JTA. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  5. ^ Barone, Joshua (28 August 2015). "A Yiddish Operetta, Once Lost, Will Receive Its Full First Staging in 70 Years". New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 

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