ONCE … and forever

with 11 nominations, ONCE leads the pack for the 2012 Tony Awards! 

Jumping for Joy at Once!!

It’s a dream come true… “Once” is certainly one of the most beautiful Broadway shows I’ve ever seen, and I am so grateful to be a part of it!  I have the privilege to understudy the role of Baruška, brilliantly performed by the magnificent Anne L. Nathan.  Come see us at the historic Jacobs Theatre every night – where Grease broke the record for longest running show on Broadway… And best of all, I get to play my accordion with this outrageously talented band of performers.  LUCKY ME!!

Opening night with Anne

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Hot Klezmer for a Cold Winter Night!

Heating up the east village with the Levitt Legacy Kleztet

…kickin’ out some crazy klezmer…

Joanne and the Levitt Legacy Kleztet

I am super excited to sing the repertoire of Harriet Kane and Marty Levitt with The Levitt Legacy Kleztet under the direction of their son, the amazing Dave Levitt. (That’s Dave, playing the trombone over my left shoulder!)

This music series, curated by Aaron Alexander and co-created with Rabbi Greg Wall has brought Klezmer back to the Lower East Side.  I’m thrilled to make my East Village Klezmer debut with this remarkable band that features the music of my super hero, that gorgeous and hilarious Yiddish redhead, Harriet Kane!  I can’t promise I’ll be dressed in my snow-bunny sweater & boots, but I do promise you’ll have a fantastic night!

WHEN:  Wednesday, February 8th at 8pm as part of the East Village Klezmer Series

WHERE:  325 East 6th Street, between 1st & 2nd Ave (at the Sixth Street Synagogue)

Follow the above link to get your tickets to this terrific evening.  See you there!


The East Village Klezmer Series is co-sponsored by Workmen’s Circle/Arbeiter Ring of NY, Living Traditions/Klez Kamp, and Center for Traditional Music and Dance.


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Remembering Adrienne, z”l…

Adrienne's Wedding Blessings

It is with a heavy heart and unbearable sorrow that the world now mourns the passing of our sister, Adrienne Cooper z”l.

She was my mentor, my surrogate mother, spiritual guide, partner in crime and a dear, dear friend.  Adrienne lives on through her music and her words, but our community will never be the same without her sweet smile, those sparkling eyes and her warm embrace.

As the Three Yiddish Divas, Adrienne, Tova and I traveled the world together – and each city was another adventure.  We made each other laugh, toasted our successes, shared our secrets and forged unique friendships.   As I share these pictures, the memories are a comfort in this time of incredible sadness.

Zol zi hobn a likhtikn gan-eydn.   
Kovod ir ondenk… may her memory be for a blessing.


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A sweet and healthy new year!

As we enter this Season of Renewal,  let our sorrows be behind us and our best endeavors still to come. Wishing you and your families, your loved ones and our community a year of sweetness and health,  prosperity and peace, blessings and joy.

A shenere un besere velt far ale! 

A better more beautful world for all!

See you all in 5772!




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The end of a beautiful Summer…

What a terrific Summer, filled with music, Yiddishkayt and great friends…


with Frank London at KlezKanada (photo by Mookie Parago)

  • KlezKamp in Madison! — What a privilege to be part of this inaugural event!  Many thanks to Sherry Mayrent, Henry Sopoznik and the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Jewish Studies for making Yiddish music and culture a part of their ongoing curriculum.
  • Ot Azoy / Tumbala in London!! — This was my second appearance at the University of London/Jewish Music Institute’s festival of Jewish Language and Song.  Collaborating with Shura Lipovsky, Polina Shepherd, Helen Khayele Beer and Sonya Pincusowitz (among many others) was a huge highlight of this wonderful experience.  Also, I had the opportunity to see lots of great theatre, including London Road at the National Theatre and Anne Boleyn at Shakespeare’s Globe.
  • KlezKanada in the beautiful Laurentian Mountains!!!  Besides being able to share this exciting week with my husband, it was great to be surrounded by the music of Theodore Bikel, Tamara Brooks and their groundbreaking project, Serendipity 4.
  • Performing with Yiddish Hip-Hop star So-Called aka Josh Dolgin and the Klezmer Conservatory Band in Mexico City!!!!  The 90th Anniversary of the Ashkenazi community in Mexico City was a huge success.  So many languages in one room… Yiddish, Spanish, Hebrew, Ladino… listening to the audience as they sung along to all of our Yiddish favorites was remarkable…
  • And finally, singing at Yiddishfest 2011 at Tompkins Square Park, NYC  with Grammy winners Arturo O’Farrill and Frank London!!!!!  The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring continues its commitment to Yiddish culture in this final free concert of the 2011 Season.

Keep an eye out for upcoming Fall events, including Rosh Hashone and Yom Kippur Observances at the new Workmen’s Circle in New York, a Kosher Kabaret in Jericho, NY, and a return engagement at Valley Beth Sholom in Encino, California.

Hope to see you all soon!!

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The Long Anticipated Return …

After many months of radio-silence, I’ve resurfaced in the blogosphere …
… and I’ve got lots and lots to report!

First of all, many apologies to my followers… I’ve been remiss… mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!!  I’ve missed you to pieces…

Next up, I hope everyone will be come see me in The Adventures of Hershele Ostropolyer at The Baruch Performing Arts Center.  The Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre has revived last year’s off Broadway smash hit which stars Mike Burstyn in the title role – and I am thrilled to have joined this wonderful cast!  Visit Dani Marcus’ blog about our adventures backstage!  (beware Hershele, the Vampire Slayer…) Show schedule is on my calendar page with links to websites to buy tickets!

In other news:  Kids & Yiddish 2011 was a huge success way back in February!  We visited schools and community centers around the New York area, and hope to have more opportunities to perform in NYC and beyond!   Follow this link to find out how you can bring Kids & Yiddish to your community!

The Witches of Lublin has been having a wonderful life on NPR stations across the US and Canada!  Many thanks to creators Elizabeth Schwartz, Ellen Kushner and Yale Strom for their incredible tale of magical musicians, and to director Sue Zizza’s vision and efforts to get this beautiful piece On the Air.

Stay tuned… lots of travel, concerts and festivals coming up this Summer… I’ll be looking for you!

Anyway, I promise not to be a stranger… Joanne’ll never go away again!!

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I sang… I ran… I lived…!!

Anthem … then five fabulous miles!

Marathon Kickoff in Central Park

OK, I promise I will not blog every NYRR National Anthem that I’m lucky enough to perform, but today, after singing the Anthem on a spectacular Halloween morning in Central Park … I put on my running shoes and… (drumroll please…)


Ready to Run...

How ’bout that??!!  5 miles!! It was a blast, and I didn’t stop, or pass out, or even regret getting out there after a three and a half year hiatus.   Afterward, a long hot shower … and a teeny little nap … and I’m ready to get up and do it again!  Who knew?  Now, I’m not going to wax poetic –> way too tired… but I am so pumped!  And though I look like a little teapot in this picture, I finished the race in relatively good time… FYI, I’ll be singing – and running again – at the NYRR 5-miler this Friday, November 5th, 8am — so come to the Central Park if you’re around.  If I can do this, so can you!!

In Other News: The Witches are Coming!

I am so proud to be part of a wonderful new public radio program that begins recording next week.  The Witches of Lublin, a new one-hour drama by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz, and Yale Strom. It stars Tovah Feldshuh (Yentl, Golda’s Balcony) and features Simon Jones (Brideshead Revisited, Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) Neil Gaiman (Coraline, The Graveyard Book) and Barbara Rosenblat (Anne Frank Remembered, The Secret Garden) with a supporting cast of New York’s finest audio actors (that includes me!!) and fresh music by leading klezmer musicians.  Directed and Produced by Sue Zizza, I am totally psyched to be working with this incredible company on such an innovative project!

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