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Interview (part 1) with Mike Burstyn, discussing the recently released stream of Megillah Cycle, which premiered February 21. The second part will be airing the following Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Burstyn directed Megillah Cycle and performed three of its roles. The show is his adaptation of Itzik Manger’s famed Megile-Lider (Poems of the Megillah), a book published in Warsaw in 1936 as a playfully anachronistic version of the Book of Esther and the traditional Purim-shpil. Burstyn's connection to this material is long and deep, having begun his career as a child actor in the famed Burstein family of Yiddish singers and actors who staged the original Megillah of Itzik Manger, a Yiddish-language musical that became an overnight sensation in Israel in the 1960s, and eventually came to Broadway. From that success Burstyn went on to stardom in Israeli film and TV/film/theater internationally in English, Hebrew, Yiddish and other languages, as well as being a singer with a great many recordings to his credit, also in English, Yiddish, Hebrew and other languages. For more info on Mike Burstyn, visit: https://www.mikeburstyn.com
Besides Burstyn, the cast of Megillah Cycle features Shane Baker (Tevye Served Raw), Yidlife Crisis performers Eli Batalion (Stage Fright) and Jamie Elman (California Dreamin’), Avi Hoffman (Too Jewish?), Daniel Kahn (Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish), Lia Koenig (Shtisel), Noah Mitchel (My Favorite Year), Eleanor Reissa (Those Were the Days), Joshua Reuben (Shakespeare in Yiddish), Allen Lewis Rickman (A Serious Man), Yelena Shmulenson (Orange Is the New Black), and Suzanne Toren (From Door to Door).
The streamed production of Megillah Cycle, presented in Yiddish with English-subtitled translation, also features interspersed English rhymes written by the late Joe Darion (Man of La Mancha). Original artwork is by Adam Whiteman, with music, editing and technical supervision by Uri Schreter. It was produced by Shane Baker, executive director of the Congress for Jewish Culture. For more information and to view the stream, visit CongressforJewishCulture.org.
Participating in the interview are historian Prof. Sholem Beinfeld and Yiddish scholar Dovid Braun, along with regular host Mark David.
Air date: February 24, 2021
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