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Alex FrohlingerBy BERNIE BELLAN
Is it fair to refer to someone like Alexandra Frohlinger as an ex-Winnipegger? Sure, Alex – which is how she is commonly known, has been living in different parts of the U.S. for many years now.

Our most recent mention of Alex came just last August, after she had finished a year and a half run in the Broadway touring production of “Cinderella”. But, like many other Winnipeggers who have fashioned careers elsewhere, while Alex Frohlinger now lives and works primarily in New York City (She lives in a part of Manhattan known as “Alphabet City”, she says.), it’s hard to think of someone whom I’ve known since she was a young girl as an ex-Winnipegger.
Just this past month, Alex has begun performing in an all-Yiddish production titled “Amerike – The Golden Land.” Prior to that, as noted, Alex had appeared in “Cinderella”. Before that, in 2013, she had been in a musical based on the life of the singing rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, titled “Soul Doctor”, and before that Alex had been in a touring production of “West Side Story” as the character “Anybodys”.
As a matter of fact, a search of our online archives reveals many references to Alex’s performing career, going back to 2001, when she appeared in “Big – The Musical” at Rainbow Stage, when she was 11. (Our own son who, at the time, was known as Jordy Bellan, also appeared in that show. Other locals who were also in that particular show included Debby Maslowsky, Lindsay Shearer-Nelko, Noah Hornstein, and Alex’s brother, Joey Frohlinger.)
After graduating from the Gray Academy, Alex went on to study at the Boston Conservatory, from where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. When she’s not performing herself, Alex says she works as a dance teacher, and occasionally judges dance competitions.
On Monday, July 10, Alex became immersed in the world of Yiddish theatre, when she began appearing in “Amerike – The Golden Land”, a production of the National Yiddish Theatre.  (Previews for the show actually began July 4. The show is being performed in New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park, until August 6. (There is the possibility of it being extended to Aug. 20, Alex says.)
According to the play’s website, “Amerike” is a musical journey detailing the Jewish American immigrant experience. Set in New York City’s Lower East Side and of the outer-borough neighborhoods to which the Jewish population gravitated, Amerike—The Golden Land, weaves stories and observations of real-life immigrants collected by Zalmen Mlotek (who has appeared in Winnipeg in “Mameloshen”) and Moshe Rosenfeld (who is from Montreal, Alex notes). “They are tales of love, heartbreak, poverty, and racism.”
Set in Yiddish, the show also features English and Russian supertitles.

Recently we had the chance to chat with Alex Frohlinger, to discuss her current show – and where life has taken her.
Alex began by explaining that the current production of “Amerike” is “the second or third iteration of this show.” It was written in the 80s, she says, by Rosenfeld and Mlotek – “who are both still involved in the process, ” she adds.
The show is made up of “vignettes” of the immigrant experience, Alex explains – from “the 1890s through the 1940s”.
“It’s not really a linear story,” she notes. “I play a character named ‘Sadie’. She’s the youngest” of the main characters the story follows. “She goes from selling newspapers to working at a Jewish radio station to lobbying for an end to immigration quotas in the 40s – “but it’s not really telling the life story of any particular characters, Alex suggests. “It’s a series of moments in time. There’s a section about the Yiddish theatre in New York – it’s such a rich history – that I didn’t really know about.”
I asked Alex whether she spoke any Yiddish prior to this show. She said that she took “one semester of Yiddish” at the Gray Academy, “but I definitely don’t identify as a Yiddish speaker”. Further, “there are a lot of others involved in the show who aren’t Yiddish speakers” as well, but with excellent coaching they are all perfectly at ease in their roles now.
If you’re in New York sometime in the next month – or know someone who might like to take in the show, show times and ticket information are available on the National Yiddish Theatre Folsbein website at nytf.org.
While there have been a lot of Yiddish-speaking audience members attending preview performances of “Amerike”, it’s a show that will definitely resonate among all age groups, Alex says.
As far as coming home to Winnipeg goes though, while Alex says she “comes back quite a bit – mostly to attend weddings for old high school friends” - and was here for Passover, she adds, she’s loving life in New York City.
If you’d like to see a clip from “Amerike”,
go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LTuqoqaPLw

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