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‘Wedding Dance’.(Photo by: EZTER GORDON/OPERA HOUSE OF BUDAPEST)
The first ever klezmusical
By ORI J. LENKINSKI
07/17/2019
The Budapest Operetta Theater blends contemporary klezmer music with the drama of the theater in ‘Wedding Dance’
A young Transylvanian woman falls in love with a man during wartime. They want to get married but upon uncovering the woman’s birth certificate, they discover that she, an orphan, is actually Jewish. Shocked by this discovery, the woman runs away from home, becomes a barmaid at a Jewish establishment and explores her newfound roots. So far, this plot sounds like one that could be part of a Woody Allen movie. But in fact, it is the beginning of the libretto of the first ever Klezmer musical The Wedding Dance.

The show, produced and performed by the Budapest Operetta Theater, will soon make its way to Israel where it will be presented at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.

Through a twisting tale that takes the audience on a journey through Transylvanian, Romanian, Hungarian and Jewish villages to Brooklyn and back through the barracks of a 1930s army base, this unprecedented marriage between musical theater and klezmer musical comes to life on stage. The plot touches on the growing tensions between religious groups, the pressures of an impending war and the rampant violence against women during the period. The characters – the charmingly played Roszi, the enamored yet timid Andras and the abusive and volatile Jonel – meet, fight, make plays for one another’s affection, and eventually find bits of happiness. The story is sung in Hungarian with subtitles but audience members will certainly catch the humor in the writing.

The score, written by bandleader Ferenc Javori, blends contemporary klezmer music with the drama of the theater. At times, the songs are reminiscent of Fiddler on the Roof, at others, they hark back to the Bob Fosse era. The Budapest Operetta Theater has spared no cost or effort in bringing together this production, in which more than 100 performers contribute their talents.

The Wedding Dance will be performed at the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center on September 12 and 13. For more information, visit israel-opera.co.il.
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