Monday, November 23, 2020

390. THE PEARL NECKLACE. From my (unpublished) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE NEW YORK STAGE, 1970-1975

The Pearl Necklace company.
THE PEARL NECKLACE [Musical Revue/Rumanian/Yiddish Language] CN: Israel Bercovici; P: Kazuko Hillyer i/a/w Brooklyn Academy of Music; T: Brooklyn Academy of Music (OB); 9/21/72-10/1/72 (8)

Performed in repertory with The Dybbuk by the Jewish State Theatre of Bucharest, The Pearl Necklace offered audiences a lighthearted musical revue of 50 Jewish folk songs—the pearls in the necklace—on diverse but familiar topics. Family themes were predominant, touching on “matchmakers and tailors, loving mothers and freedom-seeking sons, poverty and miracles,” as Mel Gussow noted. Patriotism and Jewish pride were also stressed. Many came from a hit Rumanian musical called Mazel Tov, which had been running for 25 years. But more recognizable tunes, like “Mack the Knife,” also were heard. 

Earphones with simultaneous translations were provided, although many audience members seemed not to need them to enjoy the show. Gussow thought the jokes suffered in translation.

The show was offered in a very simple, even “rudimentary” fashion, wrote Gussow, who thought it suffered from “repetitiveness” that might have been alleviated by more clever direction. Consequently it was “only mildly entertaining.”