Ciarid O'Brien: Neilly Series Lecture


Ciarid O'Brien: Neilly Series Lecture





The Influence of the Yiddish Theater on American Pop Culture: In its heyday in the 20's, the Yiddish theater had over 11 Broadway style houses in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, the oldest artists Union in America and a roster of unforgettable talent including Molly Picon, Ludwig Satz and skat singing pioneer Aaron Lebedev. This lecture will investigate the myriad of ways the Yiddish theater influenced mainstream American Culture. The first musical version of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion starred Menashe Skulnick at the Lyric Theater in Brooklyn in 1932. Rex Harrison learned his style of talk singing from Yiddish actor Joseph Buloff's unforgettable turn as Ali Hakim in Oklahoma. The Yiddish theater was influenced by German expressionism, symbolism and the avant garde from the early 1920's which was reflected in their large scale commercial productions. Ground breaking designers who began their work on the Yiddish stage include - Lighting Designer Abe Feder, Set Designers Boris Aaronson and Sam Leve and many others. The lecture will include projected images from the Yiddish stage as well as several musical selections. Question and Answers to follow with Caraid and the founder of the New York Fringe Festival and the Obie award winning director of several Yiddish plays in translation, Aaron Beall.

Introduction by Rabbi Shamai Kanter.



Event Type






O'Brien, Ciarid and Beall, Aaron, “Ciarid O'Brien: Neilly Series Lecture,” RBSCP Exhibits, accessed May 20, 2024,

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  2. Neilly-Series-2005-2006.pdf