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April 24, 1992 - Image 64

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-04-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTERTAINMENT 1

ENJOY
THE BEST
I AUTHENTIC
CHINESE FOOD
AT MODERATE
PRICES AND
CHILDREN'S
MENU, TOO.

Chairman John Wong Invites You To Enjoy THE BEST!

Golden Age

SUNDAY BUFFET

Continued from preceding page

11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

• Pasta
• Appetizers
• Fresh Fruits
• 3 Entrees
• Desserts
• Fried Rice
• Hot Tea or Coffee

$495
Children 10 & Under
person
$6" per Tax
and tip not included

COUPON

R

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Includes Soup of the Day & 2 Egg Rolls,
ALMOND BONELESS CHICKEN, BEEF
WITH BROCCOLI, FRIED RICE, HOT TEA'
OR COFFEE. • DINE IN ONLY I

00 OFF— I
PDS EAT FREETI I r$1 W. ' Each

Person

I 1 Child FREE with I
ith This Coupon
I 2 Full Price Buffets I I • Buffet Only
No t Good With Any Other Coupons I
p
And This Couon
Coupon Per Person
1

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emp

ATI

• No Substitutions, Please

• Not Good With Any Other Discounted Offer I
• Coupon Valid Only at Southfield Location I
_IN I
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64

FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 1992

Exercise
r egularly.

WE'RE FIGHTING FOR
YOUR LIFE

American Heart
Association

about a murder in a Chasidic
community.
Ms. Reissa, who grew up in
a Yiddish-speaking house-
hold, the daughter of Holo-
caust survivors, was pro-
foundly aware of the cultural
wealth that gave life to Those
Were the Days.
"There's always a respect
given to the material because
the people who created it,
their lives were cut short,"
says Ms. Reissa. "Whatever
sketches and songs we do, the
cast keeps in mind that they
are standing on a base of
souls, in a way. I'm acting in
the name of people who can't
speak for themselves any-
more."
The Philadelphia version
ran successfully, partly be-
cause the spot in the Walnut
Street season had been oc-
cupied in previous seasons by
The Golden Land and On Se-
cond Avenue, two English-
Yiddish musicals created by
Mr. Rosenfeld and Mr.
Mlotek. The audience was
hungry for a third show.
Although Those Were the
Days was originally conceiv-
ed as a straight collection of
"gems and chestnuts" from
the Yiddish music hall, the
creators shaped their selec-
tion of material into not just
a re-creation of famous acts.
They attempted to bring a
sophisticated revue sensibili-
ty — complete with elegant
evening wear — to the rich -
work of a bygone era.
The result, it turns out, was
a logical extension of the col-
laborators' previous off-
Broadway work.
The Golden Land (1984)
was about the immigrant ex-
perience, moving from Euro-
pean shtetls to New York City
tenements. On Second Ave-
nue (1987) was a celebration
of the Yiddish theater in that
very specific section of New
York's Lower East Side.
Those Were the Days might
be considered a kind of re-
thinking of the two earlier
shows: Act 1 of the revue is
called "The Shtetl," Act 2 is
"The Music Hall."
"The two acts are very
distinct from one another, but
one leads to the other, very
clearly," says Mr. Rosenfeld.
"The first act is the music
and the folklore and the folk-
songs and the Yiddish culture
that came out of the shtetl.
The second act takes it to
where Yiddish really became
a part of contemporary
culture in this century."
Much material was cut and
added by the time the show
played a successful run in Los
Angeles, where a three-week
engagement was extended to
eight. The need for a New
York run was decided upon

and Mr. Septee joined forces
with producer Emanuel
Azenberg (Lost in Yonkers) to
bring the show to New York.
Critic Clive Barnes wrote a
helpful notice in the New
York Post that read, "As those
old-time bread advertise-
ments used to put it, 'You
don't have to be Jewish to en-
joy it! "
For young Jewish audiences
weaned on mainstream pop
culture, such a review
translated to: "If you're
Jewish, you don't have to
speak Yiddish to like it."
"That was the innovative
element in our work,"
observes Mr. Rosenfeld.
"We're trying to deliver this
rich, relevant culture to our
generation, and to younger
generations!"

The show focuses
on the golden era
of the Yiddish
theater, from
1900-1940. Its two
acts are very
distinct.

Mr. Rosenfeld, an actor, pro-
ducer and Yiddish news
broadcaster, says when Yid-
dish theater was in its heyday
70 years ago it didn't attempt
to speak to American-born
generations. He suggests
that's one reason the Second
Avenue entertainment in-
dustry declined in audience
and quality after World War

II.
"When we tour, we often
hear of people joining Yiddish
classes just because of how
they've been affected by the
material we've presented,"
says Mr. Rosenfeld. "That's as
gratifying as the Broadway
recognition because it means
we're having an effect on our
culture!'
Those Were the Days ran on
Broadway between October
1990 and February 1991, and
Mr. Rosenfeld speculates it
would have played longer had
audiences not been preoc-
cupied with the Gulf War.
The run garnered Tony
nominations for Bruce Adler
in the category of best
featured actor in a musical
and for Ms. Reissa as best
director. Ms. Reissa, who per-
formed in Wendy Wasser-
stein's Isn't It Romantic? at
the Birmingham Theatre in
1985, says the Tony nomina-
tion "was some blessing from
beyond, it was so truly unex-
pected!'
Mr. Adler won a Drama
Desk award for his work, and

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