Reviews & Previews

Segal Centre revives Shtet’l Wedding

Of the 70 plays that the late Dora Wasserman directed as part of her Yiddish Drama Group, A Shtet’l Wedding (A chaseneh in Shtet’l) was among the most popular.

To commemorate its past performances, the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre is presenting a concert revival of the play focusing on the infectious and fun–filled music composed by the late Eli Rubenstein.

The show, which includes some dialogue and continuity, but not the actual script, is being presented for two nights only, Sept. 24, 8 pm, and Sept. 25, 7 pm, at the intimate Studio of the Segal Centre, 5170 Côte Ste. Catherine. The seating capacity is 117, so tickets will be at a premium.

It was and is a lot of fun, and you don’t have to understand the language to connect with the spirit of a joyous event amid the usual poverty and simplicity of life for the inhabitants of the villages of Eastern Europe. Full disclosure: I am part of the chorus in the play.

The musical was first performed in Montreal in 1969 at the Saidye Bronfman Centre. The music was among the 27 plays featuring songs composed by Rubenstein.

According to Yiddish Theatre in Montreal by Jean-Marc Larrue, the plot was developed by S. Okun and Z. Schneir, about a couple whose hope for marriage is impeded by the young man’s father, who has other plans.

It included 14 songs and was a huge hit. It was reprised in 1974 and 1979, with performances at Concordia and Laval universities, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, New York City, Toronto and to packed houses in Israel, including the 3,000-seat Mann Theatre in Tel Aviv.

The current show features actors who were in the original production, such as Pinchas Blitt and Pearl Levy. Her daughter, Bronna Levy, is a leading singer and actor among Yiddish theatre regulars.

This version was developed and  produced by Yiddish Theatre veterans Aron Gonshor and Edit Kuper, with direction by Rachelle Glait, musical direction by Nick Burgess, and choreography by Paula Frank.

$30, seniors $25, students $20, children under ten $10. Call 514-739-7944 or visit segalcentre.org

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