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December 25, 1987 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ENTERTAINMENT

dining room, carry-out and trays

• breakfast • lunch • dinner
• after-theater • kiddie menu

open tuesdays thru sundays
10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

968-0022

lincoln shopping center, 101/2 mile & greenfield, oak park

Deli Unique

25290 GREENFIELD North of 10 Mile Rd.

MARLENE GOLDMAN

1967-3999

CATERING FOR ALL OCCASIONS

titt -TM A4 ,44/ 44 oumi

Tradition
S ince 1934

i ce

n
-gine 2)inin9 and Cochi

Fred Bayne at the organ nightly

1128 E. Nine Mile Road (1 1 /2 Mile East of 1-75)

Recommended by AAA & Mobile Guides

(313) 541-2132

GOLDEN BOWL

Restaurant

22106 COOLIDGE AT 9 MILE In A & P Shopping Center
398-5502 or 398-5503
DINE IN & CARRY-OUT

SZECHUAN, MANDARIN, CANTONESE & AMERICAN CUISINE

OPEN 1 DAYS-Mon.-Thurs. 11-10, Fri. & Sat. 11-11, Sun. & Holidays 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Your Chef: FRANK ENG

• Banquet Facilities

THE GOLD COIN

LEE

OPEN 7 DAYS — YOUR HOST: HOWARD LEW
SZECHUAN, MANDARIN, CANTONESE
AND AMERICAN FOOD

COMPLETE
CARRY-OUT
AVAILABLE

24480 W. 10 MILE (IN TEL-EX PLAZA)

353-7848

West of Telegraph

GPEAT

SERVING YOUR FAVORITE EXOTIC
DRINKS & CHOICE COCKTAILS

PRIVA TE DINING ROOM

I • BANQUETS • PARTIES • BUSINESS MEETINGS I

Your host ... HENRY LUM

Businessmen's Luncheons • Carry outs • Catering

35135 Grand River, Farmington
(Drakeshire Shopping Center)

476-9181

HOA KOW INN

Specializing In Cantonese, Szechuan & Mandarin Foods

Open Daily 11 to 10:30, Sat. 11 to 12 Mid., Sun. 12 to 10:30
— Carry-Out Service —

13715 W. 9 MILE, W. of Coolidge • Oak Park

KING LIM'S 'GARDEN

Mandarin, Szechuan & Cantonese Food

26196 GREENFIELD, LINCOLN CENTER, OAK PARK

Mon.-Thurs. 11 to 10:30
Fri. 11 to 11. Sat. 11 to 12
Sun. 12 noon to 10

968-3040

547-4663

OPEN 7 DAYS
A WEEK

NEW KING
LIM'S

3305 Auburn Rd.

Carry - Out Service
Catering To Parties Available

852.8280

Exotic Cocktails

KOW KOW INN

• Famous Chop Suey • Cantonese Food • Steaks • Chops • Sea Food
OPEN Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m., Sun. & Holidays 12 Noon-12:30 a.m.

CARRY OUT SERVICE

EASY PARKING

322 W. McNichols Bet. Woodward & Second

62

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25, 1987

Yiddish Theater Revived
With Help Of The Young

868-7550

M

ost youth cannot
remember the Gold-
en Age of Yiddish
theater, beginning in Europe
in the second half of the 19th
Century and immigrating to
America around the turn of
the century. America's major
cities housed more than 20
Yiddish playhouses, the bulk
in New York's Lower East
Side, where in the early 20th
Century an estimated
250,000 Yiddish theatergoers
turned Second Avenue into a
bustle of marquees
equivalent to today's theater
district.
Among those theaters were
Maurice Schwartz's famous
Yiddish Art Theater, Boris
Tomashevsky's The people's
Theater, Abraham Gold-
faden's Turn Hall and the sur-
viving Folksbiene Theater.
They featured such revered
stars as Molly Picon, Jacob
Adler, Menasha Skulnick and
Aaron Lebedeff.
As Picon wrote, New York
could hardly house the
number of theaters required
to meet the appetite of im-
migrants. But after the
Holocaust, an attrition of
Yiddish-speaking immi-
grants darkened the marquee
lights.
The trick to reviving in-
terest in Yiddish theater in-
volves catering to a varied
American-born audience that
may remember their bubbes
and zaydes speaking Yiddish,
but never learned the
language. This generation
stems from a 1960s riots
revival and a secure and
assimilated group longing for
a defined Jewish cultural
identity and heritage.
"We had to ask how could
we bring things alive for
now," explained Isaiah Shef-
fer, director of On Second
Avenue, Off Broadway's
newest hit Yiddish musical.
The revue fuses traditional
Yiddish songs, such as

Rozhinkes mit Mandlen

(Raisins and Almonds) with
rare material found in the
YIVO Institute archives, like
the vaudeville comedy rouser
Hootsatsa, connecting the
numbers in an anthology of
Yiddish theater on the Lower
East Side.
"Nostalgia doesn't carry
you very far," Sheffer con-
tinued, but without an influx
of new Yiddish plays, most
productions must revamp old
material for a present day
audience.

"Yiddish material must be
made accessible to non-
Yiddish speaking people," but
must also please first and se-
cond generation Yiddishists,
said Moishe Rosenfeld, who
with Zalmen Mlotek created
On Second Avenue and a hit
of two seasons ago, The

Golden Land.

A successful formula utiliz-
ed the past few years either
incorporates English into the
show, provides translation
through subtitles or, as in this
year's production at the
Folksbiene Theater, Riverside
simultaneously
Drive,
translates from Yiddish to
English through headsets.
Yiddish purists, like Diana
Cypkin, currently in River-
side Drive, "can't believe peo-
ple come to Yiddish shows to
hear English," but unders-
tand the need to appeal to a
younger audience.
"Just a synopsis should be
enough;" said Cypkin, who is
in her 30s and was one of the
first of the younger genera-
tion to be accepted into an ex-
clusive Yiddish theater group,
not 'very open to the younger
generation. "But I accept it,"
she continued, "and hope it
encourages people to learn
Yiddish!'
Bruce Adler, a third-
generation Yiddish theater
performer — descending from
grandparents Joseph and
Bessie Jacobson, and parents
Henrietta Jacobson and
Julius Adler — agreed with
the modified stir about the
future of Yiddish theater.
"I'm not trying to build a
new future of vaudeville Yid-
dish theater," he said,
equating it to the variety
show medium on television.
"Yiddish theater highlights a
portion of culture that should
be revered and preserved,"
Adler added.
Not all the players belong to
the Yiddishly cultivated.
Many must learn their lines
phonetically and some are not
even Jewish. Carolyn Goor's
first Yiddish show a few years
ago "was kind of weird. I was
making sounds that didn't
mean much." But Goor, now
in On Second Avenue, her
fourth Yiddish production, is
"beginning to understand
and it doesn't feel as foreign."
Lines become more pro-
blematic than songs, she ex-
plained, because of the
possibility of a wrong cue line
that could throw off an actor
who does not understand the
language.
This is one reason revues
and musicals flow smoother

than Yiddish plays. "You
can't play a regular drama if
the youth talk a broken Yid-
dish," said Seymour Rexsite,
a veteran of Yiddish theater
and now executive secretary
of the 72-year-old Yiddish
Theater Alliance, an actor's
fund providing for indigent
Yiddish actors.
But Rexsite — who co-hosts
Memories of the Theater on
WEVD in New York with his
wife, Miriam Kressyn, who
adapted this year's Folks-
biene play — observed that
"for many years they've tried
to bury Yiddish theater, but
it's alive and well and will go
on as long as one Jew is left."
Rexsite, whose office walls
are replete with memory
photos of Einstein or Frank
Sinatra attending Yiddish
shows and portraits of stars
with whom he has worked,
calls today's shows, "theater
with a Yiddish flavor," but ac-
cepts the need to attract a
younger audience.
Not only does Yiddish
theater exist in New York,
Israel and Florida, but there
is a demand in countries in
South America, Europe and
in such American cities as
Chicago and Philadelphia.
To continue the
renaissance, Cypkin points
not only to the English, but to
the basic quality productions,
favorable publicity, a longer
season and recognized
legitimacy from American
theater. But no matter the
result of the current
renaissance, Cypkin proposes
that Yiddish theater will
never die. "It's a little flame
that billows when people
come and when they don't, it's
a spark that waits."

Copyright 1987, JTA, Inc.

The deadline for the
January edition of L'Chayim
is Jan. 8 at noon. Organiza-
tions who wish to have their
family activities listed in that
edition should type, double-
spaced, their notices and in-
clude time, date, place of the
event and a contact person's
name and phone number.
Send notices to L'Chayim,
The Jewish News, 20300 Civic
Center Dr., Suite 240,
Southfield 48076.

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