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Yuks galore: SFSU presents a weekend of Yiddish vaudeville

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December 6, 2002

"I want to be a Boarder: an Evening of Yiddish Vaudeville," a celebration of Yiddish comedy, is now playing on campus. Some of the comic songs and sketches will be performed in English for the first time. Performances are free and open to the public and take place in the Studio Theatre in the Creative Arts building. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The performances, in English with some bilingual songs, recall the Golden Age of Yiddish theater when the culture of Yiddish-speaking Jews from Eastern Europe thrived in America. Scenes inspired by comic writers Sholom Aleichem, Moishe Nadir and S.Y. Abramovitsch, along with songs by Molly Picon, Shalom Secunda, Menasha Skulnick and Leo Fuchs are featured in the program.

The Vaudeville-style productions, written and first produced in the early 20th Century, speak to an experience common to many ethnic groups, said director Joel Schecter, a professor of theater arts.

"The acts present the American immigrant experiences, dreams of wealth, struggles to survive poverty and endeavors to adjust to a new country without losing old cultural affiliations," he said. "The experiences through which many Yiddish-speaking Eastern Europeans lived in the past century in America continue to be encountered, in new forms, by immigrants arriving here from other locations."

The Theater Arts Department and the Jewish Studies Program are sponsoring the production. The cast is comprised of SFSU students, with musical direction by California Klezmer bandleader and teacher Gerry Tenney.

For details, call (415) 338-1331.

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Last modified December 6, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs