The two hour concert featured appearances by many of the stars of the Yiddish stage and films as a preview of the 100 events that are being performed this week up and down Manhattan to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.
As Seth Rogovoy wrote in The Forward,
The event was held at at Brookfield Place, and if you’ve never seen a concert there, don’t feel the need to rectify the omission, because it’s actually a shopping mall atrium. Nevertheless, every seat was occupied, every inch of staircase was taken up by concertgoers, and the rest were left standing on the sidelines or hanging over the railings of the balcony level of retail stores.
The concert – functioning as a sampler or smorgasbord of all the musical artists who will be performing in the festival through next Sunday – included the obligatory rendition of “Rumenye”; a nod to the tradition historically embodied by Paul Robeson of African-Americans singing Yiddish through a lens of spirituals, here delivered by Elmore James; and a set-closing appearance by pop legend Neil Sedaka, who accompanied himself solo on the Steinway Grand with a poignant rendition of “My Yidishe Mame.”We were among those hanging over the railings and managed to video a portion of the concert to share with you. Here's a clip of Bernard Hiller singing Rumania Rumania.
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)