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"Lansky” is the American premiere of a fascinating new play about the efforts of the Jewish gangster and gambler, Meyer Lansky, to become an Israeli citizen. The play uses Lansky's life story as a crucible to explore Jewish identity and the choices first generation Jewish Americans made in order to achieve wealth and success.
This one man tour-de-force stars the legendary American and Israeli star Mike Burstyn who was recently seen in L.A. in “On 2nd Avenue,” for which he received his second Drama Desk nomination. He has been acclaimed on and off Broadway in “Barnum,” “Jolson,” “The Rothschilds,” “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife,” “Ain’t Broadway Grand” and is the recipient of three Israeli “Oscars.”
The play is directed by Joseph Bologna who is best known for his classic comedies such as “Made For Each Other” and “Lovers & Other Strangers” written with his wife, Renee Taylor.
“Lansky” is written by Bologna and Richard Krevolin who wrote the hit comedy, “King Levine” which played at the Odyssey a few years ago.
MIKE BURSTYN - Lansky
Born in New York to a famed family of actors, Mike first walked out on stage at the age of three, stole the show from his father and hasn’t looked back since. He has enjoyed a unique international career entertaining audiences on stage, screen and television, in nightclubs and on concert stages throughout the world. "The Komediant," a documentary about Mike and his family, won the Israeli Oscar and is available on DVD.
Mike just received his second Drama Desk Award nomination for his acclaimed performance in the Off-Broadway hit “On 2nd Avenue.” He recently co-starred with Valerie Harper in the National tour of "The Tale Of The Allergist's Wife" and starred in the National tour of the musical "Jolson,” garnering rave reviews in the title role. He won an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination and a Drama League Outstanding Artist Award starring as Mike Todd in the Broadway musical "Ain’t Broadway Grand" and a Drama Desk Award nomination for his portrayal of Mayer Rothschild in the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway revival of "The Rothschilds." Mike starred as P.T. Barnum in the Tony Award winning Broadway musical "Barnum" (a role he re-created in the Dutch language production in The Netherlands). Other Broadway credits include "The Megilla" and "Inquest," in which he was hissed and booed eight times a week as Roy Cohn.
Among his other New York credits Mike acted as host-narrator for the 92nd Street Y’s famous "Lyrics & Lyricists" series, inaugurated City Center’s popular Encores series with "Fiorello," and starred in "The Fishkin Touch," in Murray Schisgal’s "Circus Life," in the revival of Neil Simon’s "The Prisoner of Second Avenue," and in “The Prince of Grand Street.”
His regional credits include acclaimed portrayals of Tevye in "Fiddler On The Roof," as Nathan Detroit in "Guys & Dolls" with Vic Damone, "1040," a musical by Jerry Bock ("Fiddler On The Roof") and Jerry Sterner ("Other People’s Money"), as Kurt Weill in "Berlin To Broadway," (Carbonell Award Nomination), "Hatikva," his tribute to Israel’s 50th Anniversary and the national tour of the Broadway musical "Those Were The Days."
Recent U.S. TV appearances include "As The World Turns," "The Cosby Mysteries," "Law & Order" and HBO’s "Dog Watch" with Sam Elliot and Paul Sorvino. Overseas, Mike has been one of Israel’s all-time popular stars. He is the winner of two Israeli "Oscars" for his screen portrayal of Kuni Leml, a kind of Israeli Forrest Gump. The Israel Cinematheque saluted his achievements in the Israeli film industry by honoring him at a special ceremony in 1997. Over the past decades he has had several successful television shows and been a recording artist for CBS Israel.
From 1978 to 1981, Mike hosted and starred in his own TV variety show in Holland. "The Mike Burstyn Show" was rated among the ten most popular shows in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Among the many guest artists to make their Dutch television debuts on the show were Mike’s friends Ben Vereen, Petula Clark and Chita Rivera, who recommended him to the producers of "Barnum." Since then he has divided his time between the US, Holland and Israel.
Among his other numerous achievements: Mike had the honor of performing before President Reagan, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, and the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Israel; starred in a Royal Variety Show at London’s famed Paladium; and as a soldier in the Israel Defence Forces entertained the troops both in peacetime and during three wars, hosting and performing with Danny Kaye on his month-long tour of army bases and hospitals following the Six Day War. He is fluent in and has performed in eight languages.
Mike’s parents were two of the greatest stars of the Yiddish theatre. His father’s auto-biography, "What A Life," is published by Syracuse University Press.
Mike has been honored through the years with numerous artistic, cultural and humanitarian awards. He is an honorary board member of Gilda's Club, a Trustee of the American Friends of the Hebrew University and has served as Honorary President of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Israel.
Mike is blessed with a beautiful angel of a wife, two incomparable sons, one lovely daughter-in-law and a Shih-Tzu named Sunshine.