When you’ve lost family, home and livelihood, how do you start over in a country that views your language, customs and religion with deep suspicion? How do your experiences and memories shape who you’ve become?
Every immigrant has a story, and some of the most gripping belong to those who fled Europe in the 1930s and 1940s to settle in upper Manhattan. Their true accounts of love, war, faith, and survival take center stage in MendelsSongs: Stories of a Neighborhood, a unique, new multimedia musical featuring Felix Mendelssohn’s (1809-1847) piano solos, Songs without Words, and created by award-winning lyricist Alison Loeb.
Starring a versatile five-person cast of actor-singers and one very unusual concert pianist, MendelsSongs chronicles the real lives of extraordinary neighbors as they do seemingly ordinary things. Katherine tells a little boy in a diner about her life as a circus performer; Rose, an indigent woman, finds an unconventional way to pay for her phone repair; and Lotte recounts a very, very bad summer.
These and other unforgettable characters join Richie, an American-born Ukrainian-Irish Catholic who grew up in Washington Heights and can’t seem to let go of the life, and love, he left behind. The ultimate insider and outsider, Richie serves as a guide to one of New York’s great neighborhoods and the now dwindling group of European immigrants who helped build it.