The show revolves around Hershele (Burstyn), a beloved folk hero and compassionate jester who battles injustice armed only with his wits. In this comic tale full of song, Hershele mobilizes a community to overcome the greedy desires of a villain who stands in the way of young love. The musical score is compiled by the Yiddish musicologist Chana Mlotek, Zalmen Mlotek (the show's music director), and Reissa. The work is performed entirely in Yiddish, with English and Russian supertitles.
The cast will also include Shane Baker, I. W. "Itzy" Firestone, Edward Furs, Daniella Rabbani, Nicole Raphael, Steve Sterner, Nimmy Weisbrod, and Lori Wilner. The show's four-piece klezmer band features the emerging clarinetist Dmitri Splepovitch.
The production design team includes Roger Hanna (scenic design), Kirk Bookman (lighting design), Gail Cooper-Hecht (costume design), and Bruce Ellman (sound design).
Burstyn's Broadway credits include Barnum and Ain't Broadway Grand, and he starred in the national tours of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife and Jolson. He has received two Drama Desk nominations, for the productions On Second Avenue and The Rothschilds. He starred last season in the solo play Lansky. For over 50 years as a singer and actor, Burstyn has alternated between projects in Yiddish, Hebrew, Dutch, and English.
For more information, visit www.folksbiene.org.