Cabaret Performers — Los Gatos and Berkeley 2017

Bruce Bierman, dance leader (both shows)

Bruce Bierman is an award winning theater and teaching artist. He is a co-founder of the New Yiddish Theater where he directed and choreographed the West Coast premiere of Dov Seltzer's musical 'The Megillah of Itzik Manger' for the Berkeley Jewish Music Festival. Last year, he and the NYT team introduced Klez California's first Yiddish Cabaret series inspired by the radical avant-garde 'kleynkunst' cabarets of prewar Warsaw. After performing and teaching with the internationally acclaimed Aman Folk Dance Ensemble of Los Angeles, Bruce began studying Yiddish dance with some of the top masters in the country and is now a leading presenter of Yiddish Dance on the West Coast. He is the founder and co-director of New Stages --a performing arts institute for LGBT seniors at the LGBT Center in L.A. and currently serves on the teaching faculty of the Stagebridge Theater Company in Oakland.

Sheldon Brown, clarinetist (both)

Sheldon Brown has a long track record with Klezmer music. He toured Europe extensively with The Klezmorim from 1988 to 1993 and was one of the founding members of The San Francisco Klezmer Experience (Klez-X), a Bay Area Klezmer super-group led by violinist Daniel Hoffman. Klez-X recorded several albums and performed extensively in the Bay Area and abroad, including a performance with the San Francisco Symphony for the 2000 New Year’s Eve celebration at Davies Hall under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. He is currently performing Klezmer music with The Goniffs, led by singer/accordionist Jeanette Lewicki. Brown also leads his own groups, which perform his own original music. In 2014 Brown premiered his commissioned suite Blood of the Air at the 32nd annual San Francisco Jazz Festival. See SheldonBrownMusic.com

Sara Felder, comic vaudevillian (Los Gatos)

Sara Felder is a solo theater artist, playwright and juggler. While the themes of her plays and performances are serious, her form is comic, engaging, vaudevillian. She strives to integrate personal experiences with the urgency of this moment in history. Out of that mix she creates funny and provocative theater. Sara began performing in 1984 with San Francisco’s Pickle Family Circus. She has also toured with Jugglers for Peace in Cuba, the Women’s Circus in Nicaragua, Joel Grey’s Borscht Capades and at Festivals of Jewish/Yiddish Culture in Berlin, London, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Through juggling, she has been able to find her theatrical voice, create compelling performance, teach alternative populations and pursue social justice.

Lisa Geduldig, comedian (Berkeley)

Lisa Geduldig is a New York-bred, Bay Area-based comedian and the creator, producer, and MC of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ — Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant, as well as other innovative comedy shows. The 25th Anniversary of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ takes place December 23-25 this year! She also runs a monthly show Comedy Returns to El Rio! on the third Thursday of the month at El Rio in San Francisco’s Mission District, as well as the monthly Comedy at Ashkenaz! on the second Thursday of the month at Ashkenaz in Berkeley. Lisa is also a bilingual publicist (Spanish-English) and a budding filmmaker. Her first film, Esther & Me, the story of her friendship with Esther Weintraub, a resident of the Jewish Home (San Francisco nursing home) and former model and comedian screened at 12 film festivals in the US, Canada, and Europe. See koshercomedy.com

The Gonifs, hot klezmer band (both)

See Jeanette LewickiSheldon Brown, Richard Saunders, Aaron Kiebel, Joshua Laurenzi. See gonifs.com

Aaron Kierbel, drummer (both)

Aaron Kierbel is a drummer/percussionist who tours nationally and internationally with the genre-defying band Rupa and the April Fishes. He can also be heard playing with Jazz Mafia, SF Mime Troupe, Meklit Hadero, La Misa Negra, and others. He is the head rhythmallogist with Rhythm-ALL-ogy, an organization dedicated to building community through rhythm. See rhythmallogy.com. He is also a dedicated youth worker, teaching drumming residencies throughout the Bay area through organizations such as Destiny Arts, Performing Arts Workshop, LEAP, and Attitudinal Healing Connection.

Gale Kissin, Yiddish vocalist (Berkeley)

Gale Kissin (Gishe Reyzl) has been singing Yiddish music since before she was fluent in English. In childhood, she was exposed to a Yiddish education in the Workmen’s Circle / Arbeter Ring tradition. Years later, she studied Yiddish at the YIVO Institute and in 2012 co-founded the Sonoma County band Mama Loshn. In 2014, Gale co-founded the first two-day Sonoma County "YiddishLand!” Festival. She has served as Musical Director for the annual Sonoma County-wide Yom HaShoah commemoration for several years, and has stage-managed the Sonoma County JCC's annual Simcha Sunday. Gale is frequently invited to present workshops, including a JCC Sonoma County-sponsored workshop entitled “Where Did Yiddish Come From and How Do I Put It to Music?" Gale serves on the Sonoma County Jewish Film Festival Committee and is a member of the JCC Sonoma Board of Directors.

Heather Klein, Yiddish vocalist (Los Gatos)

American soprano, Yiddish Chanteuse and Bay Area favorite Heather Klein follows her passion for special projects, Yiddish song and bringing stories to life. She has performed across the U.S., Canada and Europe. Title roles in the premieres of: Ravensbruek, Lilith the Night Demon, and Di Megile of Itsik Manger (West coast premiere).  She has released two Yiddish musical albums with her “Inextinguishable Trio.” She has performed extensively in Northern America, Canada as well as in Europe for a residency in Budapest. She has also has worked with Sundance (Mass) and Music Theatre Group (NYC). After her last project Yiddish Spring, she continued her work with The Contemporary Jewish Museum with her most recent project Shanghai Angel. The show continues touring into 2019. Klein also produces the festival Yiddish Las Vegas, where she lives and works as a Cantorial soloist. See HeatherKlein.net

Joshua Laurenzi, fiddler (Berkeley)

Joshua Laurenzi is a folk fiddler who has studied Klezmer and East European fiddle styles across North America and Europe. He borrows from regional musical lexicons of Moldavia, Hungary, and Ukraine and blends them with contemporary Klezmer style to produce a re-imagining of Jewish village music of the early 20th century. He performs with Oakland based collective, Ghost Note Ensemble.

Jeanette Lewicki, accordionist (both)

Singing accordionist Jeanette Lewicki appears in subways, concert halls, dreams, and recording studios around the world. Orphaned young, without a dowry, Jeanette did what she had to do to learn Yiddish, and found her first accordion at the vegan commune where she grew up (in her twenties). Jeanette has produced numerous recordings including Mayn Shtetele Soroke (with Bessarabian Yiddish singer Arkady Gendler) and Fli Mayn Flishlang (Yiddish children’s songs by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman). She is a member of the Klez-X, editrix of the zine Yiddish Tango Illustrated, and leader of the gonifs klezmer band, founded in 1996 with clarinetist Peter Jaques. See MadamLevitsky.com 

Ariel Luckey, klezmer hip-hop storyteller (Berkeley)

Ariel Luckey is a nationally-acclaimed interdisciplinary artist who blurs the lines between performance, ritual, and political action. Born and raised in Oakland, California, Ariel has dedicated his life to an artistic practice rooted in community-based storytelling, hip hop aesthetics, Jewish mysticism, and street theater. His solo plays Free Land and Amnesia embody an innovative methodology of sourcing family history, to investigate social justice themes and stage personal and ancestral narratives as a public platform for dialogue and civic engagement. Ariel’s new hip hop klezmer band waystation will release its debut album rememory in the fall of 2017.  See ArielLuckey.com and @waystationplays

Andy Muchin, MC (both)

Andy Muchin is host and producer of “Sounds Jewish,” a syndicated weekly radio show airing on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Radio-J.com, and stations around the U.S. Over the past few years, he has learned a bisl Yiddish, with the goal of understanding the Yinglish comedy songs of Mickey Katz. Andy recently convinced his children that he’s more amusing than embarrassing. At the Cabaret he hopes to convince you.

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Richard Saunders, bassist (both)

Richard Saunders has been playing bass for over 50 years. He has toured with Klez-X, Dan Hicks, Country Joe McDonald, and Freddie Hubbard. Recording credits include Country Joe and the Fish, Jessica Williams, and various movies and TV shows. He teaches at the Community Music Center in San Francisco.


Stephen Saxon, trumpeter and vocalist (Los Gatos)

Stephen Saxon plays trumpets, alto horn, and sings. In addition to Klez-X, Stephen Saxon has performed and recorded as a trumpet player and / or singer with The Klezmorim, Klezmer Conservatory Band, Chanticleer, Kitka, San Francisco Symphony (soloist), Spokane Symphony (soloist), and many other excellent ensembles. He has served as Cantor for congregations in California, Texas, and Washington. Stephen is an award-winning arranger and composer, and he has composed and produced Gospel Shabbat, a new setting of the Friday evening service, accompanied by a Gospel band and choir. He teaches improvisation at the California Jazz Conservatory (formerly The Jazzschool) in Berkeley. See StephenSaxon.com