AL GRAND is a life-long Gilbert
& Sullivan devotee with a fervent passion to preserve the Yiddish
language. He combines these two enthusiasms by translating the
Gilbert and Sullivan operas into Yiddish. In doing these
translations he adheres faithfully to Gilbert's dazzling rhymes while
striving to preserve unblemished Yiddish. He endeavors to
maintain a perfect match of verbal to musical cadence so that the lyric
conforms to the accentuation and rhythm of each musical phrase.
These works have been remarkably effective in bringing a renewed
sense of the charm of Yiddish to U.S., Canadian and English audiences via
fully staged productions. He was particularly interested in gauging
the reaction of British audiences to this project. To his delight
hundreds of people attended four sold out Yiddish G&S performances at
the Rudolph Steiner Theatre at Regent Park in London in August 1996.
Al Grand's Yiddish version of The Pirates of Penzance otherwise known as DI YAM GAZLONIM has been playing to enthusiastic audiences throughout North America (including Toronto and Winnipeg) since 1988. In a review written for the May 1989 issue of American Theatre magazine, Isaac Asimov wrote, "Al Grand doesn't change Sullivan's notes; they're all there; every one of them. And he doesn't change Gilbert's words, in essence. He changes them into Yiddish, to be sure, but he keeps the rhymes, the lilt and the wit." Al wrote a Yiddish version of Trial by Jury (a.k.a. A TUML IN BEZDIN). He expanded an existing 25 minute translation of Pinafore to a full-length show. He retransliterated an existing version of Mikado using the YIVO method and added additional lyrics and emendations to it. Al is currently translating Ruddigore into Yiddish. He introduced Yiddish to the Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Company of Long Island (GASLOCOLI) and has been their Yiddish coach and a performer since 1980. Al taught Yiddish at the Sholem Aleykhem School in Little Neck, NY.
Al Grand has appeared in numerous publications. Among them are * THE NEW YORKER magazine, "The Talk of the Town", March 19, 1990, * THE B'NAI B'RITH INTERNATIONAL JEWISH MONTHLY, October 1990, * MOMENT magazine, June 1990, *AMERICAN THEATRE magazine, May 1989, a review by Isaac Asimov, * INSIDE MAGAZINE, Spring 1994, "The Man Who Pirated Penzance", by Harvey Widell. His TV and radio interviews include * NBC-TV, "Live at Five", February 7, 1986, * ABC-TV "Eyewitness News" February 25, 1987, *CABLE CHANNEL 12, European- American Bank commercial and roadside billboard displays, Fall 1989, * NEW YORK CABLE, Lubavitch Telethon, March 21,1993, RADIO: * WOR, "The Barry Farber Show", April 18, 1986, * WOR, "The Barry Farber Show", May 13, 1986, * WEVD, "The Jewish Home Show", August 18, 1987, * "Ray Heatherton Show", October 29, 1989, * CANADIAN BROADCASTING COMPANY, "As It Happens", Toronto, Ontario, March 21, 1990, * CANADIAN BROADCASTING COMPANY, "The Vicki Gabereau Show", Vancouver, B.C., August 22, 1990.
For information regarding the Folksbiene Yiddish Theaters production of Di Yam Gazlonim (THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE) please contact Zalmen Mlotek at (212) 213-2120, fax (212) 213-2186. Or call Al Grand at (516) 292-8724, e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.