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Performing Arts

Sara Adler

Although her reputation as an artist must have benefited from the association with her husband, Jacob P. Adler, Sara Adler was an admired actor and a strong presence on the Yiddish stage.

Celia Adler

Celia Adler’s popularity as a Yiddish actor made her a force in the Yiddish art theater movement, where she succeeded despite her lack of a powerful male protector. She was acclaimed for her ability to combine pathos and charm, and those who witnessed her performances especially remember her talent for comedy.

Lina Abarbanell

Abarbanell’s success lay in lighter musical fare and operetta. Composers such as Oscar Straus, Franz Lehár, and Edmund Eysler wrote for her expressive soubrette voice. She made about twenty recordings in 1903 and 1904, only four of which appear to have survived. In 1905, Heinrich Conried, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, invited her to sing the role of Hänsel and to perform at his Irving Place Theater, where she delighted his German-speaking audiences.

Vamping with Theda Bara (Who?!)

One of the highlights of our work at the Jewish Women’s Archive is uncovering hidden histories. In our This Week in History profile this week, we are looking back at silent film star Theda Bara.

Molly Picon: A Celebrity for the Ages

Years ago, when I was working on my undergraduate thesis on Yiddish film, I attempted conversation about the subject at cocktail parties (well, at that point they weren’t yet cocktail parties, but there were definitely M&Ms) –

“Yiddish? Film? What? Like Yentl?”

No. Not like Yentl. They’re in Yiddish! And most of them were originally Yiddish theater productions. Molly Picon? ... No?... Nobody?... Nevermind. Is it hot in here? Pass the M&Ms.

Comedy, Cultural Memory & Legacy

In a recent session of my comedy class for Jewish high schoolers, I instructed the students to re-do a scene in the style of the "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson." I might as well have said "gee willakers" and put on my newsies cap.

Who Does She Think She Is?

This past weekend I saw a documentary film called Who Does She Think She Is?. The film profiles five female artists who are also mothers, as well as several commentators including Tiffany Shlain, creator of The Tribe, and Courtney Martin author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and contributor to Feministing.com.

Joan Rivers as Yoda

I've always had a soft spot for Joan Rivers. Once, as a student at Barnard, (BC '98), Rivers's Alma Mater, I was highlighted by a Barnard publication for my work as a comedian, and was noted to be "the next Joan Rivers." Erroneously, this allowed me to believe that we were secret best friends, and that if ever I was to meet Joan -I would say "Hello, I am the next You; we are best friends, yes?"  Also erroneous is the claim itself - there is no "Next Joan Rivers" - she is irreplaceable  (nor do I come close).

Radical Dancing Annas!

Seventy-one years ago today, Broadway got a little bit feistier when 27-year-old choreographer and dancer Anna Sokolow made her debut with several politically and socially charged compositions.

Anna Schön, a 23-year-old graduate of Barnard College, is a present-day radical dancer of another kind.

Film Review: Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn

If I ever had any doubt about whether "the ordinary" mattered, Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn drove such doubt away. Based on a true story, and adapted from the play by Ellen Cassedy, Beautiful Hills of Brooklyn is a life portrait of Jessie Singer Sylvester, a retired elderly Jewish woman living on a pension in 1976 who is confronting the changes in her life and in her beloved Brooklyn neighborhood.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Performing Arts." (Viewed on January 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/topics/performing-arts>.

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