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Theatre: Free Program of Comic Songs and Sketches Inspired by Yiddish Comedians Opens at SF State University, December 5


Ariane Bicho
SFSU College of Creative Arts

(415) 338-1442

(415) 338-0520


Press Release published by the College of Creative Arts and the Office of Public Affairs

Performed in English, 'I Want to be a Boarder: An Evening of Yiddish Vaudeville' recalls the Golden Age of Yiddish-American Comedy

SAN FRANCISCO, November 8, 2002 - SFSU's Theatre Arts Department and Jewish Studies Program present "I Want to be a Boarder: An Evening of Yiddish Vaudeville," opening at 8:00 pm Thursday, December 5 and running through 2:00 pm Sunday, December 8 in the Studio Theatre on the San Francisco State University Campus. Performed in English with the exception of a few bilingual songs, the variety show recalls the Golden Age of Yiddish-American comedy, when the culture of Eastern European Jews who spoke Yiddish thrived in American theatres in the first half of the 20th century. Scenes inspired by comic writers Sholom Aleichem, Moishe Nadir, and S.Y. Abramovitsch, along with songs of Molly Picon, Shalom Secunda, Menasha Skulnick and Leo Fuchs, are featured in the program. Some of the acts are performed in English for the first time. Directed by SFSU Theatre Arts Professor Joel Schechter, with musical direction by California Klezmer band leader and teacher Gerry Tenney, the acts are performed by an ensemble cast of SFSU students.

"You don't have to know Yiddish to enjoy these songs and stories," says Dr. Schechter. "The acts present American immigrant experiences, dreams of wealth, struggles to survive poverty, endeavors to adjust to a new country without losing old cultural affiliations. The experiences through which many Yiddish-speaking Eastern Europeans lived in the past century in America continue to be encountered, in new form, by immigrants arriving here from other cultures and locations."

Schedule Information: Thursday-Saturday, December 5-7, 8:00 pm; Matinees: Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, 2:00 pm. All performances are in the Studio Theatre located in the Creative Arts Building on the SFSU campus, 19th and Holloway avenues. For information call (415) 338-1331.

Admission and Parking: Admission to "I Want to Be a Boarder" is free. On-street parking is readily available on weekends. Public parking is also available in Lot 20, accessed from Lake Merced Blvd. Between Winston Dr. and Font Blvd. Parking in the lot is $1 per hour with a $5 daily maximum. For more information:

With graduates such as Tony Award-winning Director Daniel Sullivan ("Proof") and Academy Award-nominee Annette Bening ("American Beauty"), the Theatre Arts Department offers a comprehensive program of both practical and theoretical courses for undergraduate and graduate students whose interests center in various aspects of educational and professional theatre. The curricula provide students with background for advanced study in the dramatic arts, for teaching or for a career in professional theatre. As a center for the training of future theatre artists, the department is committed to introducing a plethora of theatrical traditions and cultures to students. To this end, the department employs its four theatre spaces as learning laboratories in which students collaborate with faculty and guest professionals. Studio workshops and advanced stage productions in those theatres are the culmination of the educational experience.

Theatre Arts is a department of the College of Creative Arts, which has the only academic program primarily devoted to the creative arts in northern California. Under the direction of Dean Keith Morrison, an internationally acclaimed faculty directs over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students in seven disciplines: art, cinema, broadcast and electronic communications, music, dance, theatre, and design and industry. The College of Creative Arts is part of San Francisco State University, one of the 23 member universities comprising the California State University, the largest system of higher education in the nation. SFSU is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public and urban university. For more information about the College of Creative Arts, please visit For an application, please call Admissions at 415/338-1113.

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Last modified November 11, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs