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Soul to Soul

African American Yiddish Fussion

Soul to Soul

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s Soul to Soul:

“African American and Jewish music meet in a celebration of two cultures.”

Live national broadcast on January 18th 2021, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

conceived of by musical director Zalmen Mlotek
narration and images curated by Motl Didner
video produced by Tatiana Wechsler

Starring Lisa Fishman, Cantor Magda Fishman, Elmore James, Zalmen Mlotek, Tony Perry and Tatiana Wechsler

with Brian Glassman on bass, Dmitri Slepovitch on clarinet and saxophone and Matt Temkin on percussion.

The Jewish and African American people arrived in America by different paths. But the parallels in their histories as oppressed minorities brought them together in the struggle for equal rights. This dynamic concert explores the musical record of their journey and expressions of hope for a better world.

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 Soul to Soul performance in January 2020, with special appearance by IMPACT Repertory Theatre

The exciting celebration of a common journey of two cultures is the essence of Soul to Soul which brings together the African American and the Yiddish American experience in a deeply stirring musical presentation. Mlotek performs with 2 African American Broadway veterans, Tony PerryElmore James, Lisa Fishman, and Cantor Magda Fishman, sharing the stage with a wonderful Klezmer ensembleSoul to Soul has been performed for enthusiastic audiences from Coast to Coast.

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is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music as well as a leading figure in the Jewish theatre and concert worlds. For the past 20 years, he has been the Artistic Director and conductor at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. His vision brought the critically acclaimed award-winning Fidler AfnDakh (Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish ) directed by Joel Grey, for which he served as music director to NY, and will serve as musical supervisor for the International and National tours being planned

He brought Yiddish-Klezmer music to Broadway and Off-Broadway stages with the Tony-nominated Those Were the Days and Drama Desk Nominated Amerike – The Golden Land. He serves as Music Director for most NYTF productions, including the recent New York Times Critics Pick The Sorceress and Drama Desk Nominated musical The Golden Bride. His music can be heard in over two-dozen recordings and films, has taught and performed all over the world, and worked with countless singers including Jan Peerce, Theodore Bikel, and Mandy Patinkin.  


magda_stand_b&w CANTOR MAGDA FISHMAN Is a singer, musician, songwriter, who is building a large and loving following among a wide spectrum of audiences. She has created a unique blend of traditional and contemporary styles. Her repertoire includes Israeli songs, jazz, liturgical masterpieces, musical theater and her own compositions. She served in the Israeli Army Orchestra as vocal soloist and trumpet player. She performed extensively in Israel and Europe, the US and Canada. Fishman came to the United States as a part of the Tel-Aviv Broadway musical theater project and is the recipient of the prestigious America-Israel Cultural Foundation scholarship. She has performed at the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery of Canada, the First Night Festival in Boston, the 92nd Street Y Festival, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Baked Potato Jazz Club in Los Angeles, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Walter Reade Theater, Town Hall, Prague State Opera, and most recently AIPAC, The Apollo Theater, The Jewish Museum of Heritage and the Israeli Embassy in Washington and NYC.


 LISA FISHMAN Singer, actress, songwriter, and guitarist Lisa Fishman has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe – in a varied career that has included starring in Off-Broadway and Regional Musical Theater, singing and recording Jewish music, starring in Yiddish Theater productions, concertizing in broad range of styles of music from Folk, Rock, Pop and Jazz, to Heavy Metal, Broadway, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Ladino, and recording and performing her own original music.  Lisa’s work in Klezmer and Jewish music include lead vocalist with Chicago’s renowned Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, as well as sharing the stage in concerts with luminaries from the world of Jewish music – including the legendary Claire Barry of The Barry Sisters, Theodore Bikel, Fyvush Finkel, Seymour Rechzeit, Alicia Svigals, Frank London, Michael Alpert, Adrienne Cooper, Debbie Friedman, Lorin Sklamberg, Hankus Netsky, and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, & Mary. Yiddish Theater and Jewish concert work include Di Goldene KaleOn Second Avenue (with Mike Burstyn), Shpiel, Shpiel, ShpielGimpel Tam, and the concert piece, Ghetto Tango - all with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene.


elmore_james   ELMORE JAMESIs a veteran of five Broadway Shows. He sings in nine languages and first sang in Yiddish at Town Hall’s, Yiddish in America, a Gala Concert Celebrating the Centennial of the Workman’s Circle in New York City. He exploded onto the stage as the finale to the evening, with the baritone solo from Beethoven’s ninth symphony, then led the entire cast, including Bruce Adler, Theodore Bikel, Tovah Feldshuh, Sheldon Harnick, Lainie Kazan, Mandy Patinkin and the New Yiddish Chorale in the rousing rendition of the final chorus to the symphony, Ode to Joy. He was such a smash sensation that night that he has been singing Yiddish ever since. The following year he was invited to return to Town Hall for the Workman’s Circle concert as well as the 70th Gala Cultural Seder honoring Mina Bern and Jerrold Nadler at the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Merkin Hall. Elmore James co-starred in the last show to perform at the Harold Clurman theatre on Theatre Row, Hip, Heymish and Hot, the whimsical Yiddish/Jazz concert with Eleanor Reissa. As one of Broadway’s most versatile artists, Mr. James’ operatic performances include appearances at the Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and the opera houses in Paris, Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Rome, Verona, Sicily, Sweden and Norway.


tony_perry         TONY PERRY Has been seen on the New York stage in the US premiere of Murray Schisgal’s “74 Georgia Avenue,” which was performed in English and Yiddish; the recent staged reading of Kevin Ray’s jazz musical The Last Word; the New York theatrical premiere of Cross That River,  A Shelter In Our Car, Repo: The Genetic Opera, The Elf, The Bunny and the Big Xmas Blowup and the workshop of Hell’s Kitchen: The Musical. Among his favorite roles are Jim Conley in Parade, Big Moe in Five Guys Named Moe, Ken in Ain’t Misbehavin, Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show, Parchester in Me and My Girl, Victor in Smokey Joe’s Cafe and Jim in Big River. He had a featured role in the film “Mickey.” As a singer-songwriter, he has performed across the Northeast, and has three CDs available at He resides in New York City with his wife, Beth, is a student of George DiCenzo and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

About the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Now entering its 106th season, Tony Award-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is the longest consecutively producing theatre in the U.S. and the world’s oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre company. NYTF, which presented the award-winning Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, directed by Joel Grey, to sold-out audiences before it moved to Off-Broadway uptown, is in residence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director Dominick Balletta, NYTF is dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations, and bridging communities. NYTF aims to bring history to life by reviving and restoring lost and forgotten work, commissioning new work, and adapting pre-existing work for the 21st Century. Serving a diverse audience comprised of performing arts patrons, cultural enthusiasts, Yiddish-language aficionados, and the general public, the company presents plays, musicals, concerts, lectures, interactive educational workshops, and community-building activities in English and Yiddish, with English and Russian supertitles accompanying performances. NYTF provides access to a century-old cultural legacy and inspires the imaginations of the next generation to contribute to this valuable body of work. Learn more at















“On a Midtown stage next week, the week of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, two African-American singers will sing a medley of traditional slavery-inspired blues and jazz songs. Within a few minutes they will be joined by an Israeli-born performer, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors — and the trio will sing together in English and Yiddish…” more