New Yiddish Repertory Theater
Yiddish Theater for the next generation
UNLOCKING OUR PAST
BY BREAKING NEW GROUND
דער נייער יידישער רעפערטואַר־טעאַטער
מאמע–לשון איז א מחיה
| David Mandelbaum
Amy Coleman Founder/Producing Director
Rabbi Meir Berger
Shane Baker boasts over 30 years of experience as an actor, magician and puppeteer, and has worked on shows and presented programs across the U.S., Canada and Europe. As a director and assistant director, he has worked on stages from regional theaters to Off (and Off-Off) Broadway, including Seattle Rep and the Manhattan Class Company. He is especially proud of his work on the plays of Henry Fielding, including stagings of/appearances in “The Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great”, “The Historical Register for the Year 1736”, “Eurydice”, and “Eurydice Hissed”.
As an actor, Shane played the Torah Scribe in the infamous 1999 ShowWorld production of “God of Vengeance”, Charles Ludlam in Ethyl Eichelberger’s “Fiasco”, and roles too numerous to mention in Jeff Weiss’s “Hot Keys” and “Come Clean” at PS 122. He studied and worked with Everett Quinton at the Ridiculous Theatrical Company, where he played Carla the Gypsy Wildcat in “Turds in Hell”, and with the anarchist puppet troupe Great Small Works in ”The Rapture Project”, a Sicilian-style marionette show.
He studied acting and recitation in Yiddish with the late Luba Kadison-Buloff, a founding member of the Vilna Troupe, and has appeared at the Jewish Library of Montreal, the Paris Yiddish Center, and the Folksbiene, et al. His recitations from Yiddish literature have been favorably compared with those of Joseph Buloff, Hertz Grosbard, and Sidi Tal.
For more information on Shane Baker, please see these profiles in the Forward , Tablet and the New York Times .
Amy Coleman's recent credits include touring Italy with the Italian blues band Texaco Jive, where she sang in out door festivals and blues clubs. Amy recently directed Yosl Rokover Speaks to God at the Actors' Temple Theater and directed and performed in a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues (along with Valerie Smaldone, Ally Sheedy, Kathryn Erbe, and a host of others). Ms. Coleman played the Octorator in Captain Gravy’s Wavy Navy at the New York Musical Theater Festival. Coleman and writing partner Valerie Smaldone’s play with music, Spit It Out! was seen at the Midtown International Theater Festival. Ms. Coleman is frequently heard around town singing with her band, The Amy Coleman Band, at venues like The Cutting Room, Birdland, and Tagine dinning Gallery. She co-produced and performed in a salute to Stephen Schwartz (accompanied by Mr. Schwartz himself). Coleman sang with Peter Frampton in the British Rock Symphony and originated the role of Vickie in the acclaimed musical The Last Session, both in New York and Los Angeles. She played Janis Joplin in the original production of Beehive. Regional theater credits include, The Voice of the Plant in Little Shop of Horrors , the Gypsy Queen in Tommy and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Super Star. Film credits include: Split and Habit. On TV, she has appeared on MSNBC America’s Talking, The Hollywood Easter Parade and the series: Here. She has recorded four cd’s; Flame on, Soul Kiss, Only Sleep Brings Dreams and the cast recording of The Last Session. She is currently working on a one woman show entitled How Billie Saved my life- a Performance Memoir of Music and Madness. She is also performance and voice coach. For more info visit her website:
David Mandelbaum. Hi folks. That's me and my buddy Sammy Katz. I founded this company with my wife, Amy Coleman, and I'm the artistic director. I've worked in non-profit theater for 40 years, as an actor, writer, producer, and director. I guess that's why I'm so broke. New Yiddish Rep is a labor of love, and its a privilege to work with such talented and dedicated collaborators.
Yelena Shmulenson started singing and studying piano in her native Ukraine at the age of six; she emigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1993. Her credits include four seasons with the National Yiddish Theatre/Folksbiene, two seasons at the Ellis Island Theatre, “Bronx Express” and “The Unlucky Man In A Yellow Cap” (both Fringe NYC), Frank (‘Klezmatics’) London’s musical of “A Night In the Old Marketplace”, the tour of “Lady of Copper”, and Off-Off Broadway productions of “Flowers For Algernon”, “The Lilac Minyan”, etc. Film: Robert DeNiro’s “The Good Shepherd” and the upcoming Coen Brothers project. Yiddish is her fifth language.
Steve Sterner is a native New Yorker who has appeared on Broadway in “Oh, Brother!”, “Yiddle With A Fiddle”, and “The Sheik of Avenue B”; Off-Broadway in “That’s Life!”, “The Grand Tour”, “Kuni-Leml”, “Vagabond Stars”, and many others. For years his voice was heard as the Singing Fire Hydrant on ABC-TV, and he succeeded Julius LaRosa as the star of “The Spectacular Days of Radio” at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. At the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater Steve performed in “Double Identity”, “An American Family”, “Yentl”, “A Novel Romance”, and as ‘The Pirate King’ in “Di Yam Gazlonim”, the Yiddish version of “The Pirates of Penzance”.
As a pianist Steve conducted and played keyboard for “A Yiddish Vaudeville” starring Bruce Adler and “1040”, a new musical with Mike Burstyn. He has accompanied Robert Merrill, Jerry Vale, Joan Collins, Joanne Woodward, and many others. As a composer, Steve wrote the scores for the musicals “Lovers” and “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”, which have been performed in the U.S. and all over the world. He has composed music for and accompanied over three hundred silent films at Film Forum in New York (where he is the house pianist) as well as at Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the Moving Image, and BAM Rose Cinemas at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
As a cruciverbalist, Steve has constructed crossword and acrostic puzzles for the New York Times and other national publications.
Since studying in Paris with the legendary Jean-Marie Serreau (where he worked as an assistant on some of Ionesco’s first plays) and in New York with Lee Strasberg and Harold Clurman, Moshe Yassur has directed theater in Romania, Israel, Germany, The Republic Of Moldova, and the U.S. His production of “What The Butler Saw” is one of the major hits of current Romanian theater; his production of Mario Diament’s “The Book of Ruth”, a memory play about escaping the Holocaust, opened there in 2002 and is still being performed by the State Jewish Theater of Bucharest. Another play he directed by Diament, “Lost Tango”, starred Maia Morgenstern just after she finished playing ‘Mary’ in Mel Gibson’s notorious “Passion of the Christ”.
A native of Romania, Yassur was invited by Harry Eliad, Artistic Director of SJTB, to direct part of their Yiddish repertoire. (The theater, the sole survivor of the state-sponsored Yiddish theaters that once flourished in Eastern Europe, also produces plays in Romanian.) Apart from his directorial bona fides, Yassur had the perfect background for Yiddish theater: born in Iasi, Romania, where Abraham Goldfadn founded the modern Yiddish theater, Yassur had acted as a boy on the very stage where Goldfadn worked, and with actors who had been trained by Goldfadn himself.