Thursday, March 5, 2020

Jewish Heritage Museum Presents “Molly Picon: A Yiddish Gem”

The Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County presents Molly Picon: A Yiddish Gem presented by Dr. Diane Cypkin, Professor of Media and  Communication Arts, Pace University. Join us for an afternoon of singing and storytelling! This program is a one-woman concert/lecture on the Yiddish actress Molly Picon, star of Yiddish and Broadway theater, screen, and television.

ADMISSION: $12 members, $15 non-members.

Molly Picon (1898-1992) was the First Lady of the Yiddish Stage during its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. In this hour-long presentation, part cabaret, part classroom, Diane Cypkin will trace the highlights of Molly’s lengthy career from the Yiddish stage to English-language films through songs popularized by Ms. Picon.  As a native Yiddish speaker who has performed in many Yiddish stage productions and who knew Molly Picon, Professor Cypkin is uniquely able to combine her performance and professorial skills to tell Molly’s story in a way that is both entertaining and educational.

Between singing some of the tangos, waltzes, and fox trots popularized and often co-written by Ms. Picon, Dr. Cypkin weaves in highlights of Molly’s life. These include Molly’s love of the stage that grew from her mother’s work as a seamstress for Yiddish theater actresses and Molly’s serendipitous meeting with Jacob Kalich, the man who would make her a star. Professor Cypkin also discusses the making of Yankele, Molly’s first Yiddish musical and its successful European tour, culminating in her conquering the New York Yiddish stage in 1923. She then traces Molly’s career to Yidl mitn Fidl, the most successful Yiddish film ever made, to her appearances on Yiddish radio. Dr. Cypkin also tracks Molly’s English language successes from her breakthrough in 1961’s Milk and Honey to her role as Yente the Matchmaker in the 1971 film version of Fiddler on the Roof.

Diane Cypkin is a Professor in the Media, Communications and Visual Arts Department of Dyson College of Arts & Sciences at Pace University. An expert on Molly Picon and the Yiddish stage, Dr. Cypkin curated a well-received exhibition at Lincoln Center on Molly Picon. For several years she was Yiddish Theatre Consultant at the Museum of the City of New York and curated the highly successful exhibition, A Celebration: 100 years of Yiddish Theatre in New York. She has appeared in Yiddish language musicals for more than two decades. In addition, Dr. Cypkin has worked in the English-speaking theatre as both singer and actor in shows at the Soho Repertory Theatre, the New York Theatre Workshop, the Jan Hus Playhouse, and the Three  Muses Theatre. She has also directed productions of The World of Sholom Aleichem, The Theatre of Peretz, and Green Fields. She has presented her Molly Picon and Songs of World War II shows throughout the tri-state area. Dr. Cypkin earned her B.A. and M.F.A. degrees in Theater from Brooklyn College and her PhD in Performance Studies from New York University. She is a member of Actors Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA.

Lena Panfilova is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory. She has performed as a collaborative pianist with many musicians and has given numerous solo and chamber concerts   in Russia, across Europe, and in America.  A dedicated teacher for many years, Ms. Panfilova    is exceptionally proud of her numerous talented students.

Funding has been made possible in part by a general operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a Division of the Department of State, through grant funds administered by the Monmouth County Historical Commission.

For more information or to make a paid reservation (non-refundable), call the Museum at 732-252-6990, or visit www.jhmomc.org. Maximum capacity is 100, so paid reservations are recommended. The Jewish Heritage Museum is located in the Mounts Corner Shopping Center, at 310 Mounts Corner Drive, Freehold, NJ, at the corner of Route 537 and Wemrock Road (between the CentraState Medical Center and Freehold Raceway Mall).  It is on the second floor of the historic Levi Solomon Barn. The JHMOMC is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Museum is handicapped and assisted-listening accessible.