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Musicals

Martha Schlamme

Once described as a “Viennese Mary Martin,” Martha Schlamme began her American career singing Yiddish and Hebrew songs in the resort hotels of the Catskills in the late 1940s. She earned a national reputation in the 1950s as a performer of “Songs of Many Lands”, and later won acclaim for her interpretations of Kurt Weill songs.

Bette Midler

Humor is an extremely effective tool with which to observe human behavior. When the comic laughs at herself as well as at the foibles of her audience, she creates a connection between people and an opportunity to examine serious subjects in a funny manner. Important and forbidden topics receive airings. Bette Midler’s knowing smile, which rarely leaves her face, reminds her audience that a humorous perspective, on any and all subjects, offers catharsis alongside illumination.

Sara Levi-Tanai

Sara Levi-Tanai was the founder, choreographer and artistic director of the Inbal Dance Theater. With an original style and multiple talents (music, art, theater, dance), she established a unique dance theater that combines the East and West, the early history of the Nation of Israel with the present, nascent Israel—thus creating a new language of movement in the world of dance that is called “the Inbal language.”

Miriam Kressyn

Miriam Kressyn—of the Yiddish theater and film, songwriter, translator, recording star, radio announcer, historian of the Yiddish theater, news analyst, and teacher—left an indelible mark on Yiddish culture of the twentieth century.

Isa Kremer

Diva, folksinger, and citizen of the world, Isa Kremer was born in Belz, Bessarabia, on October 21, 1887, to Jacob and Anna (Rosenbluth) Kremer.

Miriam Kainy

“Men have been running this world for thousands of years. Obviously in a lousy fashion. Now it’s our turn.” These words are typical of Miriam Kainy, winner of the Israel Prime Minister’s Literary Prize in 1997, who regards herself as the “big mamma” of Israeli women playwrights—a claim which is difficult to contest.

Jewish Women and Jewish Music in America

American Jewish music has expanded vastly in variety, range, and quality of activities. Jews brought to America their secular-folk and sacred-liturgical musical heritage. There has been a renascence of age-old traditions that have become means of self-expression for Jewish women.

Libby Holman

“I always have to break a song over my back. … I just can’t sing a song; it has to be part of my marrow and bones and everything,” Libby Holman explained in a 1966 interview. Daring, dark, and impetuous, Holman led a rich public life that touched a dizzying array of people, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Montgomery Clift, from Alice B. Toklas to Jane Bowles. A musical and sexual revolutionary from the 1920s to the 1960s, Holman succeeded at two different musical careers. Known as the “Statue of Libby,” she carried one of the smokiest torches of American music hall society in the 1920s and 1930s, and was the inventor of the strapless evening dress. From a deep sense of personal commitment, she later made significant contributions to the civil rights movement as both an artist and a wealthy benefactor. However, murder, millionaires, death, and suicide were morbid recurring themes in Libby Holman’s life, reaching tabloid proportions.

Eydie Gorme

One of the great stylists of the American popular song, Eydie Gorme has had a loyal following from the 1950s to the present.

Sylvia Fine

Contemporary commentators often ascribed much of entertainer Danny Kaye’s success to his having a “Fine” head on his shoulders. Publicly, his wife Sylvia Fine’s coruscating lyrics supported Danny’s zaniness in such films as Up in Arms (1944), Wonder Man (1945), The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), The Inspector General (1949), and On the Riviera (1951).

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Musicals." (Viewed on December 13, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/musicals>.

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