Over the past decade, international singer and entertainer David “Dudu” Fisher noticed a decline in American concert promoters asking for performances in Yiddish.
“They used to tell me, ‘Dudu, we want to hear a lot of Yiddish,’” Fisher recalled. “Lately, in the past 10 years, the same promoter can call and he can tell me, ‘Dudu, we know that you love Yiddish, but one song is enough.’ Because people don’t hear Yiddish anymore.”
When Shawn Fink, who serves as committee co-chair and concert producer for the 41st annual Yiddish Concert in the Park, asked Fisher to headline the concert, Fisher was “surprised” to learn 50% of the concert needed to be in Yiddish.
“I was very, very happy to go into my books and look for the Yiddish songs I loved to sing,” Fisher said.
Fisher will perform songs in Yiddish, songs from musicals, like “Les Miserables” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” in addition to songs from the 1960s during the concert at 7 p.m. June 30 at Evans Amphitheater in Cain Park in Cleveland Heights. His 3-year-old son, Samuel Michael, will also briefly appear on stage.
“The show is very versatile and I tell a lot of stories during my shows,” he said. “So I’m telling the story of my life, the story of my child.”
Fisher first performed professionally after serving in the Israel Defense Force when he became cantor for the High Holy Days at a synagogue in Winnipeg, Manitoba. That opportunity launched his nearly five-decade singing career bringing traditional Chasidic, Yiddish and cantorial music to his audience along with fan favorite musical numbers. He has since served as cantor of the Grand Synagogue in Tel Aviv.
Fisher entered the musical world after being inspired by a 1986 showing of “Les Miserables” in London. While he didn’t have any theater experience, he auditioned and earned the role of Jean Valjean in the Hebrew production. He has since played roles such as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Moses in the Hebrew release of “The Prince of Egypt.”
As an observant Jew, Fisher was the first Broadway and West End actor to be excused from performing during Shabbat and on all Jewish holidays.
The Cleveland Jewish News is the media sponsor of the event.