By Robert Simonson January 14, 2005
Mike Burstyn, a scion of Yiddish theatre performers, will star in On Second Avenue, a tribute to New York's Yiddish theatre legacy, at the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre, Feb. 20-April 10. Feb. 20 is the opening.Second Avenue was, of course, the address of New York's Yiddish theatre community during its heyday in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The street was lined with playhouses from Houston Street to 14th Street and supported the careers of countless Yiddish actors and playwrights.
On Second Avenue was created by Moishe Rosenfeld and Zalmen Mlotek. The bi-lingual English-Yiddish musical revue also stars Joanne Borts, Lisa Fishman and Robert Abelson. It will feature the songs of Yiddish composers such as Abraham Goldfaden, Sholom Secunda, Alexander Olshanetzky and Yosef Rumshinsky, and excerpts from landmark shows.
Burstyn is an apt choice for the project. His parents were Pesach Burstein and Lillian Lux, both Yiddish stage stars. He performed with his folks as a kid, and, after he grew up, starred in such shows as Barnum and Ain't Broadway Grand.
The 90-year-old Folksbiene is America's only professional Yiddish theatre.
Tickets, which are $45, are now on sale and can be purchased by phone at (800) 9-YIDDISH or online at www.folksbiene.org.