Select Page

The YIDDISH KING LEAR, written by Jacob Gordin (aka the Jewish Shakespeare), is without a doubt one of the most famous Yiddish plays of all time. Starring David Serero in the title role of King Lear, this unique play will be performed on January 30th and February 1st 2018 at 8pm at the Orensanz Foundation located in the heart of the Lower East Side, New York.

This revival will be starring opera star and actor David Serero as Reb Dovidl Moysheles (King Lear). The rest of the cast will include Arielle Beth Klein (Taybele), Alexander Chilton (Yaffe), Ross Kugman (Treytel), Sarah Feinmark (Gitele), and more, as well as Shawn Chang on the piano.


This staged-reading is adapted in English, featuring classic Yiddish songs. World premiere adaptation by David Serero.


The Angel Orensanz Foundation is one of the most prestigious venues in New York. Notable artists have performed there such as Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande and John Legend. The objective of David Serero is to bring Yiddish Theater back to the Lower East Side (which was the center of New York City’s Yiddish theatre scene in the early 20th century) and the Orensanz Foundation is the ideal venue since it was formerly a synagogue.


This production is made in partnership with the YIVO foundation, home of the Yiddish culture which holds the original script of the original Yiddish King Lear.


Beth Kaplan, grand-daughter of Jacob Gordin and author of “Finding the Jewish Shakespeare – The life and legacy of Jacob Gordin” will attend both performances and will talk after the performances about Gordin’s life and the play.


Written in 1892, Jacob Gordin’s the Yiddish King Lear is a legend of the Yiddish theater. It was the signature role of the great actor Jacob Adler (father of Stella Adler). Gordin’s groundbreaking opus was a fresh interpretation of the story of a patriarch with three daughters who are unkind and disloyal to him. In Gordin’s retelling, the hero is Reb Dovidl Moysheles, a Russian-Jewish merchant whose daughters abandon their filial love and duty towards him. Only one will show him her true love. In David Serero’s adaptation, classic Yiddish songs of the era are added to the play, making it a classic Yiddish Musical!



A wealthy Russian Jew prepares to celebrate Purim with his three daughters. The eldest is married to an intelligent, orthodox student of religion. The middle daughter is married to a lively young Hassid. And the youngest is married to a nice bright graduate student who has no particular use for Jewish observance at all. As you can imagine, this leads to lively discussion around the table. And when the old man announces that he’s going to divide his business interests among the children and go to live in Israel, one immediately exclaims: “King Lear!” It’s not a translation or an adaptation: it’s the whole postmodern twist, transposed in a 1892 shtetl. This play changed Yiddish theater by bringing realism to the genre.


About YIVO

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is dedicated to the preservation and study of the history and culture of East European Jewry worldwide. For nearly a century, YIVO has pioneered new forms of Jewish scholarship, research, education, and cultural expression. Our public programs and exhibitions, as well as online and on-site courses, extend our global outreach and enable us to share our vast resources. The YIVO Archives contains more than 23 million original items and YIVO’s Library has over 400,000 volumes—the single largest resource for such study in the world.



The Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts was established in 1992 as an artistic and cultural resource open to artists, writers, thinkers and leaders from all over the world, and to the community around us. Over the years we have welcomed and been inspired by Philip Glass and Spike Lee; Arthur Miller, Alexander McQueen, Salman Rushdie, Maya Angelou and Alexander Borovsky; Elie Wiesel and Chuck Close.


We cooperate with PS1/MoMA; The Goethe Institute and the Whitney Museum, New York; the Italian Cultural Institute, New York University; Columbia University and Princeton University; the National Russian Museum of St. Petersburg and the Royal Shakespeare Company of London; The World Council of Peoples for the UN, the United Jewish Council and the American Academy in Rome. We work with independent artists from all over the world to develop here educational and artistic projects. The Foundation has just opened a digital department of cultural and artistic projects with a strong educational basis in the community.


We publish a quarterly magazine, Artscape; a weekly TV program on MNN, and maintain an archive of 50,000 pictures of the work of Angel Orensanz. We run a library of social and cultural history as well as a collection of thousands of digital files and video of Angel Orensanz.

The Foundation prides itself in maintaining the building at 172 Norfolk St., the former Ansche Chesed Synagogue (1849), in its architectural integrity and in the tradition of the German Reform Movement of the mid 19th century.



Actor and baritone, David Serero, has received international recognition and critical acclaim from all over the world. At only 36 years old, he has already performed more than 1,200 concerts and performances throughout the world and played in over 100 films and recorded 20 albums. He has given concerts in Paris at the PARIS OPERA GARNIER, OLYMPIA, EIFFEL TOWER; in New York at the LINCOLN CENTER, CARNEGIE HALL, TIMES SQUARE; in London at the ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC, WEMBLEY STADIUM; and in Moscow at the TCHAIKOVSKY HALL; in Amsterdam at the CONCERTGEBOUW, the BUDAPEST OPERA conducted by PLACIDO DOMINGO and more. He made his sold out WEST END debuts at the Dominion Theatre. He has sung more than 30 lead roles in Opera, Operetta and Musical Theater. In 2012, David Serero performed Don Quixote from MAN OF LA MANCHA in Paris and the title role from the revival of Duke Ellington’s only musical: BEGGAR’S HOLIDAY and also starred in the cast album recording. In 2013, David performed with JERMAINE JACKSON in YOU ARE NOT ALONE, a musical written, directed and produced by David Serero. He has also produced and arranged I WISH YOU LOVE an album of Jazz standards for Jermaine Jackson. In December 2013, David shared the cover of Theatre & Performances with Barbra Streisand in London, and made his BROADWAY solo debut at the Snapple Theatre in New York and released his first studio album ALL I CARE ABOUT IS LOVE. In 2014, he released The Broadway Baritone featuring Broadway classics and toured in the UK with a performance on WEST END. During the summer 2014, he recorded the entire love letters’s correspondence of NAPOLEON to Josephine and released his new studio album THE CROONER BARITONE, The FRANK SINATRA Classics for the 100th anniversary of Sinatra. In 2015 and 2016, he played Off Broadway the lead roles of SHYLOCK (MERCHANT OF VENICE) and OTHELLO’s title role with both critical acclaim. In 2015, he performed two open air concerts on TIMES SQUARE (New York) for BEST OF FRANCE with the presence of the French President Mr Francois Hollande. He released SEPHARDI, an album of Sephardic music in Ladino language and records the title role of RICHARD III in French. In 2016, he releases ALL MY LOVE IS FOR YOU, a Pop Rock album, entirely composed, performed, arranged and produced by himself. He also played NABUCCO (Nabucco) in New York; and the title roles of DON GIOVANNI and RIGOLETTO at the CARNEGIE HALL. In 2017, David entered the prestigious WHO’S WHO AMERICA for demonstrating outstanding achievements in the entertainment world and for the betterment of contemporary society.


In the summer 2017, he releases BARITONE OPERA ARIAS, singing opera classics such as Toreador (Carmen) and from operas Tosca, Nozze di Figaro, Fanciulla del West and Barbiere di Siviglia.


Among his next performances in New York for 2017/2018 are the title roles of CYRANO OF BERGERAC (Rostand), DON GIOVANNI (Mozart), BARABAS (Marlowe’s Jew of Malta), Hermann (World Premiere adaptation of the Queen of Spades) and KING LEAR (Jacob Gordin’s The YIDDISH KING LEAR).


In American Television, he has appeared in: The Hunt with John Walsh (CNN), Mysteries at the Museum (Travel Channel), Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall (NBC), Six Degrees of Murder (Discovery Channel), Checked Out, On The Case with Paula Zhan (Discovery ID), Rabid Beast (Animal Planet TV), Suddenly Rich (TLC TV), Whistleblowers (Spike TV), Blood Feuds – Gangs of New York (Discovery Channel), We Are New York WANY (New York TV).


In American Films he starred in Alice in America, Tango Shalom, Winter Has No Sun, Most Beautiful Island, Paisanos in Paris, Following Phil, Terminal 5, Sheepshead, Again, Overload Rock or Die, The Redemption, Kingdom of the Alley, Ring Ring, Laundry Day, Capicola, Make it Work, There Will Come Soft Rains, Amarena, When I Sing, Hatikvah.


He starred in several commercials for Sotheby’s & eBay, Bank of America, Don Julio Tequila, Khiel’s, Volkswagen, BJ’s, Pepsi, Mitsubishi Cars and more.


Full biography on




Born in Manhattan and raised in Canada, Beth Kaplan, an actress turned writer, is the author of three books: the Sixties memoir All My Loving; True to Life, a textbook about creative writing; and Finding the Jewish Shakespeare: the Life and Legacy of Jacob Gordin, the biography of her great-grandfather, reissued in paperback in 2012 and described by playwright Tony Kushner as “a witty, shrewd, elegant book that tells a story of vital importance.” Beth has lectured on Gordin, among many other places, at Oxford University, in French at the Medem Yiddish Library of Paris, and at the 92nd Street Y and the Stella Adler Studio in New York. In 2008, she delivered the Wexler Lecture in Jewish History in Washington, D.C. She has taught non-fiction writing at the University of Toronto and at Ryerson University for many years and is the winner of U of T’s Excellence in Teaching award.

After the performance, Beth will speak about her ancestor’s extraordinary life. Finding the Jewish Shakespeare will be available for sale and signing. The book is also available on-line. Purchase Finding the Jewish Shakespeare Online


WHAT: The Yiddish King Lear by Jacob Gordin.

WHEN: January 30th and February 1st 2018 at 8pm.

WHERE: The Orensanz Foundation, 172 Norfolk Street, New York, NY 10002.


Tickets: or 1.800.838.3006

Tickets are from $10 to $36.



The Culture News




%d bloggers like this: