THE ESSENCE is the long-running comedy smash - AmNews Curtain Raiser


Thursday, September 23, 2021

THE ESSENCE is the long-running comedy smash

Performances Begin October 10.
Opening Night Will Be October 17 at the WP Theater.

THE ESSENCE (A YIDDISH THEATRE DIM SUM) is a fast-paced comedy which has been playing to sellout crowds for over a decade throughout the Northeast and Europe as well as at the New York International Fringe Festival. At long last, THE ESSENCE will be making its official Off-Broadway bow at the WP Theater, 2162 Broadway (at 76th Street). Performances will begin October 10th, with the official Opening Night set for Sunday, October 17th at 7 p.m., and will continue for 10 weeks only through December 23rd.
According to its creators, THE ESSENCE is “an introduction to Yiddish language and culture designed for people who don’t give a rat’s rectum about Yiddish language and culture”. “Guaranteed nostalgia-free,” this irreverent journey through Yiddish theater’s legacy has established its success by bringing in audiences of all ages who have had no prior exposure to the language. THE ESSENCE introduces them to the most expressive language in the world via scenes, sketches, and songs in Yiddish (accompanied by English supertitles) along with “oddball detours” about the language itself, all “in 83 New York minutes.”
"HILARIOUS AND SMART...There wasn't a dry eye
in the room, but the tears were from laughter!”
 Huffington Post

– The Forward

"AMAZING...Makes you want to laugh and cry...
Not just for the old folks...See it!"

"DELIGHTFUL...Fast-moving, informative and funny!"
 Jewish Standard
  Jackie Hoffman
Actor and Director Allen Lewis Rickman invites New York theatergoers to "see what happens when you sin with a shiksa, come jam to Soviet Yiddish Rock, and hear Einstein's theory debated by imbeciles." Rickman and fellow actor Yelena Shmulenson are better known as the shtetl couple from the Coen brothers' Oscar-nominated A Serious Man, and they are joined on the stage by Broadway veteran Steve Sterner, who also serves as the show’s Musical Director.
Beyond A Serious Man, Rickman is familiar from his work on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (as Red Skelton), Barry Levinson's Emmy-winning “You Don't Know Jack,” and his recurring role on HBO's “Boardwalk Empire.” His NY stage credits include Broadway’s Relatively Speaking and Mack & Mabel at Encores! Yelena Shmulenson has appeared Off-Broadway in Tevye Served Raw (co-starring & directed by Allen Lewis Rickman), as well as the film The Good Shepherd and on TV’s “Orange is the New Black,” “Blue Bloods,” “Madame Secretary,” and “The Knick.” Steve Sterner has been the resident silent film composer and accompanist for New York’s Film Forum since 1987, creating scores and performing for hundreds of films. As an actor and singer, Sterner has appeared extensively on and Off-Broadway.
The playing schedule for THE ESSENCE will be Thursdays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 3 & 7 p.m. Tickets are $52 and are available through or by calling 1-800-838-3006. A limited number of $25 rush tickets will be available at the box office during preview performances only.
THE ESSENCE will be presented by the Congress for Jewish Culture. Founded in 1948, the Congress for Jewish Culture (Executive Director, Shane Baker) is a secular organization based in New York City dedicated to enriching Yiddish culture worldwide. 

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