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The Wise Men of Chelm
A Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre Production

June 11 - July 3, 2008
By Abraham Shulman
Music by Eli Rubinstein
Directed by Bryna Wasserman

Presented by Reitmans (Canada) Limited


Watch The Wise Men of Chelm CBC TV Commercial



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“You find yourself humming melodies at intermission and long after the show is over. One wonders why the song Ich Bin Shein is not at the top of the pop charts!” – The Montreal Star

It is said that after God made the world, he filled it with people. He sent off an angel with two sacks, one full of wisdom and one full of foolishness. The second sack was much heavier and, after getting caught on a mountaintop, all the foolishness spilled out and fell into Chelm. Created by the legendary duo of Dora Wasserman and composer Eli Rubinstein, The Wise Men of Chelm is a loving tribute to one of the most enduring icons of Eastern European folkore – the town and people of Chelm. Don’t miss one of the Yiddish Theatre’s most beloved musicals!

BEHIND THE SCENES

The libretto of Chelm was written by Abraham Shulman, a Jewish journalist from New York who had kept his script in a drawer for two years before showing it to Dora Wasserman. In creating the music for the play, Rubinstein said, “You must make people laugh, dance, cry – all the pleasures and passions must be there. What I really wanted to do is combine the best tradition of Jewish theatre with my musical ideas.” Only in Chelm! A fire broke out one night in the city and all the inhabitants rushed to the fiercely burning building to extinguish the blaze. When the conflagration had been put out, the rabbi mounted a table and addressed the citizens: “My friends, this fire was a miracle sent from heaven above. If it were not for the bright flames, how would we have been able to see how to put the fire out on such a dark night?”

Abraham Shulman Eulogy (PDF)
June 1993 The Suburban Article on Eli Rubinstein (PDF)
November 1992 Montreal Gazette Article on Eli Rubinstein (PDF)
Photo: Abraham Shulman, Eli Rubinstein and Dora Wasserman

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