FILM FESTIVAL PREMIERE
Theodore Bikel, in the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem
Special Guest: Motl Didner, Associate Artistic Director, The National Yiddish Theatre
The stories of two beloved Jewish icons are woven together in the enchanting documentary, which combines Bikel's charismatic storytelling and masterful performances with a broader exploration of Aleichem's remarkable life and work.
A pioneer of modern Jewish literature who championed and luxuriated in the Yiddish language, Aleichem (1859-1916) coveys like no one else the soul of the tragicomic Jewish shtetl life. Fiddler on the roof, the Broadway and Hollywood musical adaptation of Aleichem's Tevye the Milkman short stories, immortalized him.
Vienna born Theodore Bikel and his family escaped from Austria after the Nazi occupation and migrated to Palestine before settling in the United States. An unstoppable performer, Bikel, who passed away in 2015, was the foremost interpreter of Sholom Aleichem's work, portraying Tevye on the American Stage more than 2,000 times. His career spanned more than 150 screen roles (including an Oscar-nominated role in The Defiant Ones) and countless stage and musical productions.
The film's highlights include interviews with Alan Alda, Fyvush Finkel, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, and Shalom Aleichem's granddaughter Bel Kaufman, who died in 1914.
Sholem Aleichem, the great Jewish storyteller, and Theodore Bikel, troubadour, actor and one of the most popular stage interpreters of Aleichem's work - two sides of the same Yiddish coin - sharing wit, wisdom and talent - and a healthy does of Yiddishkeit.