Theater

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Celia Adler

Celia Adler won acclaim and success in the Yiddish theater world as a founding member of the Jewish Art Theater.

Shelley Winters

An actress who cared deeply about the world, Shelley Winters donated the Oscar she won for her role as Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank to Otto Frank.

Wendy Wasserstein

In 1989, Wendy Wasserstein not only won the Pulitzer Prize for The Heidi Chronicles, she became the first woman playwright to win a Tony Award.

Sophie Tucker

“The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas,” Sophie Tucker defied conventions about gender, age, weight, and ethnicity with her saucy comic banter and music.

Sylvia Blagman Syms

A jazz saloon singer with a gift for connecting with her audiences, Sylvia Blagman Syms continued performing despite ill health and was praised as one of the greats by performers that included Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington.

Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand’s outsized personality, combined with her voice and acting talents, made her one of the most successful performers of the twentieth century.

Sophie Okonedo wins a Tony Award for “Raisin in the Sun”

June 8, 2014
"I feel as proud to be Jewish as I feel to be black." Tony Award winner Sophie Okonedo

Joan Micklin Silver

Joan Micklin Silver bucked Hollywood assumptions about what made a successful film, becoming a critically acclaimed director of independent films with Jewish themes like Hester Street and Crossing Delancey.

Sylvia Sidney

In contrast to the helpless waif she played so perfectly on screen, in real life Sylvia Sidney was a strong, opinionated woman who was unafraid to challenge some of the top Hollywood directors of her time.

Madeline Kahn

Madeline Kahn acted in dramas and musicals on stage, film, and television, but she was best known for her comedic roles as Mel Brooks’s favorite female lead.

Lillian Roth

While Lillian Roth’s career as an actress and musician was derailed by her alcoholism and mental illness, the painful story of her life made her autobiography an international bestseller.

Bette Midler

Unapologetically bawdy, Bette Midler used elements from earlier brassy entertainers like Sophie Tucker in her comedy and music, but with a style that was all her own.

Helen Menken

Actress Helen Menken’s greatest contribution to Broadway history was her work as theatrical producer for the innovative wartime effort Stage Door Canteen, offering entertainment to servicemen and women.

Adah Isaacs Menken

In her short but remarkable life, actress Adah Isaacs Menken became legendary for her scandalous defiance of convention.

Judith Malina

Judith Malina won acclaim as an actress, a director and a producer through the experimental Living Theatre she cofounded with her husband, Julian Beck, in 1948.

Bertha Kalich

A distinguished performer, Bertha Kalich performed 125 roles in seven languages and became the first actress to make the transition from Yiddish theater to mainstream American drama in film, radio, and on stage.

Judy Holliday

Judy Holliday won an Academy Award for her performance as the not-so-dumb blonde in Born Yesterday, a role she fought hard to play.

Lillian Hellman

Lillian Hellman displayed courage not only in her writing of powerful and controversial plays like The Children’s Hour, but in her public refusal to name colleagues to the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp

Josephine Sarah Marcus Earp led a life equally as colorful as her famous lawman husband, but struggled for the right to define her own story.

Betty Comden

Betty Comden wrote lyrics and librettos for enduring and beloved musicals like Singin’ in the Rain and Peter Pan, winning some of the industry’s highest honors.

Fanny Brice

The original funny girl, Fanny Brice earned a reputation as a vaudeville star before creating some of her best-loved comedic personae for radio.

Gertrude Berg

Gertrude Berg was the lead actress and driving force behind The Goldbergs, which successfully made the leap from radio plays to national television and brought a Jewish family into mainstream American homes.

Vicki Baum

Vicki Baum jokingly referred to herself as “a first-class second–rate writer,” but she created a new genre for popular fiction when she wrote the novel that inspired the stage and screen classic Grand Hotel.

Theda Bara

The original vamp of the silver screen, Theda Bara became an icon of sensuality and the exotic for generations.

Stella Adler

As an actress and a teacher, Stella Adler transformed a generation of American actors though her understanding of Method acting.
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