Friday, April 20, 2007

His Roots are in Yiddish Theater...

Sidney Lumet has a colorful past...that started in the Yiddish theater.

He's been married several times: one wife was Gloria Vanderbilt. Another wife made him Lena Horne's son-in-law.

One of his personal quotes is a brilliant one: "There's no such thing as a small part. There are just small actors."

Just a brief look at Sidney Lumet.

Shabbat Shalom...with the stress on shalom/peace.


joared said...

I always wondered from whence this line came. As an amateur ham in my youth, I always liked that sentiment since my favorite rolls were of the character type rather than the lead.

Al Grand said...

I thought you might be moderately interested to learn that for the past three decades I’ve been pursuing a project which has been playing a modest role in the cause of keeping Yiddish alive. I have been translating the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan into Yiddish. In doing these translations I make a concentrated effort to adhere faithfully to Gilbert’s dazzling rhymes while striving to preserve unblemished Yiddish. I am never satisfied until I am absolutely certain that I've achieved a perfect match of verbal to musical cadence so that the lyric conforms to the accentuation and rhythm of each musical phrase.

These works have been successful in bringing a renewed sense of the charm of Yiddish to U.S., Canadian and English audiences via fully staged productions.

There just ended a return 2-week engagement of the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre's off-Broadway production in April of my Yiddish version of The Pirates of Penzance (with English & Russian supertitles). The April performances as well as the original run last October-November played to sold-out audiences. I attribute this to the 20 rave reviews in English, Yiddish, Hebrew & Russian newspapers & websites, including one by Lawrence Van Gelder in The NY Times. The web reviews brought young people of various ethnic groups to the performances.

Zalmen Mlotek, the executive and artistic director of Folksbiene wishes to take the Yiddish Pirates production on tour. Zalmen can be reached at And I am always available at to continue this discussion with any interested party.

Zayt mir dervayl gezunt!

Al Grand

Reviews of DI YAM GAZLONIM (Yiddish “Pirates of Penzance”)

Oct. 29 through Nov. 12, 2006 and March 18 through April 1, 2007

Lawrence Van Gelder - NY Times:

Liesl Schillinger – “Dress British, Sing Yiddish” – NY Times:

Ward Morehouse III - "Breathtaking Yiddish Opera" - Broadway After Dark:

Lisa Ferber - review - March 25, 2007:

Miriam Rinn – “Yiddish Pirates Roam the Off-B’way Stage” – Jewish Standard -

William Wolf - Wolf Entertainment Guide - New York Calling:

The Blueprint Review (Staff):

Michael Dale - Broadway World:

Irene Backalenick - Jewish Theater:
Masha Leon - English Forward:
Masha Leon – English Forward:
Miriam Rinn - New Jersey Jewish Standard:
Alexander Gelfand - English Forward:

Arthur S. Leonard, N.Y. Law School Professor – March 21, 2007 “more effective than that at NY City Opera”

Here is Itzik Gottesman's review of DI YAM GAZLONIM in the Nov. 10, 2006 issue of Der Forverts:

Plot Description - NY Times:

Gwen Orel -

Irene Backalenick - New York/Connecticut Theater Scene:

NYC Official City Guide:

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Dear Pearl...Thanks for your visit and your lovely words to me...I too, would love to meet you one day...

I LOVE Sidney Lumet! A Brilliant filmaker...a genius in many respects...He has always brought such a concience to his 'art'...And I LOVE that he hired hos former Mother-In-Law for "The Wiz" and she got the BEST Song! (lol)..(But it is true! She DID get the best song, to my way of thinking...).
His book on his films is a "primer" for anyone interested in or aspiring to be a filmaker! And such a rich fascinating "read" for anyone who cares at all about the art of business of filmaking. And a peice of history, too!
Thanks for this look into his early life in the Yiddish Theatre, Pearl!

I will email you about the illness that came back 'to haunt me', if you email me with your address at:
myrtillo1984 AT yahoo DOT com....
It was not Polio, by the way.

And I realized I past my 300 post and didn't even see that I had...Another hundred things?? LOL!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but as a chosid i don't know much about Jewish Theater and it's actors.

and I hope it wont upset you that I would say I don't care,

As far as i know, If I am correct, most of the Jewish Theater personal were yidden who left observing Torah and mitzvahs, and at many times made fun of Torah and Orthodox Yidden.

And to those who are working to keep Yiddish alive, it is alive and kicking, maybe not among those who's only Yiddish identity is the speaking Yiddish..... Just visit any Chasidish neighborhood and you will find yididsh more alive then ever.

marallyn ben moshe said...

ahhhhh the good ol' days...i love that generation...thanks for sharing pearl and for your kind words this week to me and mine...i'm back and hope to talk to you again real soon...zei gezunt...stay, marallyn

torontopearl said...

Joared: thanks for stopping by. I'd also heard the line before and didn't know who'd said it.

Al: thanks for the visit, and thank you for drawing my and my readers' attention to your project. Continued success with it!

Old: I found the Yiddish theater roots fascinating, knowing what kind of work Lumet went on to do. Glad you enjoyed the piece. I sent you an email.

Noch: I sent you an email. You're probably right, and your last sentence says it best.

Marallyn: Always seems to be "the good ol' days", huh?
May you only from simchas...

Anonymous said...

thanks Pearl ;-)