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August 23, 2002 - Image 83

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-23

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

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Songs My Mother Taught Me

Luck Speriab
Maid* at $4.95

complete with your choice
of fries, hommous or rice
& pop, coffee or tea

A hit in Moscow, Efim Alexandrovs "Songs of the Jewish Shtetl"
tours North America and makes a stop in Southfield.

His Yiddish-language performances
reach audiences "on a very deep-root-
ed, elementary level," Alexandrov said.
he climate for artists and
"This is true for Jewish and non-
Jewish audiences alike. Some of my
intellectuals in the former
Soviet Union was a stifling
non-Jewish audiences are absolutely
fanatical about this music."
one, with writers and per-
formers who dared to celebrate their
Born in 1960, in the small town of
Jewish heritage literally risking their lives.
Podvolochizy in Ukraine, Alexandrov
But nearly 50 years have passed
was not taught Yiddish, although his
since the reign of Joseph Stalin, and
parents spoke the language to each
the scene at Moscow's "New Opera"
other. As a boy, he spent summers in
theater on May 13, 2001, was one
the village of Bershad, which is saturat-
that would have made the dictator
ed with traditional Jewish influences.
turn over in his grave.
The opportunity to perform the
There on the stage was a- robust,
songs he heard sung in Bershad in
unabashedly Jewish performer, backed
symphonic arrangements is "a little
by a choir, a full orchestra and a dance boy's dream come true," he said.
troupe from the Moiseev Ballet —
From the ages of 14 to 18,
belting out Yiddish folk songs, jokes
Alexandrov attended the
and stories.
Dnepropetrousk Theatrical School, a
The performer was the irrepressible
specialized high school, where, in
Efim Alexandrov-Zitzerman, stage
addition to acting, he studied clar-
name Efim Alexandrov, and his show,
inet and basic piano technique.
Songs of the Jewish Shtetl, comes to
After about a year of work as an
Southfield's Millennium Theatre
actor, he joined the Soviet army,
Monday, Sept. 2. It's part of a month-
returning to Moscow to attend col-
long tour that will stop at 16 cities in
lege at the Russian Theatrical
Academy.
the United States and Canada.
The show will be performed in
Over the next 10 years, he
Yiddish with English surtitles — simul- worked primarily as a comedic -
taneous translations projected
actor, with his plump,
on the overhead arch of the
dimpled face becoming
Efim Ale. xandrov:
Millennium's stage.
a familiar one in live
A
long w ay to
The Moscow production
theater, film and televi-
come fro m the days sion.
of Songs of the Jewish Shtetl,
of the po groms.
later turned into a CD, was
Alexandrov also retained
applauded by the Moscow
his love for Jewish culture,
Courier as "a visual episode of days
spending the High Holidays with
gone by of the Jewish villages."
family and friends. He said he
"Many of them (the audience) don't
would love to keep Shabbat,
know Yiddish," the review continued,
"but, being a performer,
"but already the sound of the language Fridays and Saturdays are
tough not to work."
their parents and grandparents used to
In Songs From the Jewish
speak will undoubtedly make any
Shtetl, which features a
heart pound in unison with the redis-
covered and everlasting tunes."
20-member dance
ensemble fr o - m the
In recognition of their contributions,
Alexandrov and producer Yan Yakushev Moiseev, Alexandrov
will be singing,
were honored with Russia's prestigious
"Man of the Year" award for "extraordi- dancing and doing
some storytelling.
nary achievement in culture."
"Unfortunately,
It was the first time Jews had been
we could not
recognized in this way, Alexandrov said.
afford to bring a
"It's a milestone for Russia, really,"
live orchestra
he commented in a Russian-language
(that would
interview with the Jewish News, and a
require about
long way to come from the days of the
120 people), so
pogroms.

DIANA LIEBERMAN
Copy Editor/Entertainment Writer

T

we are doing the show to prerecorded
music. However, when we were in
Israel, we had a sponsor, so we were
able to bring a full orchestra, even a
chartered plane," he said. LI

— Jewish News graphic artist
Alex Lumelsky contributed to this article.

Efim Alexandrov performs in
Songs of the Jewish Shtetl 7:30
p.m. Monday, Sept. 2, at the
Millenium Theatre in Southfield.
$30-$45. For tickets, call (248)
967-2146, (248) 538-6700 or
(248) 483-3830.

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8/23

2002

83

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