The lives of two celebrated icons are woven together in a masterful new documentary narrated by Alan Alda entitled Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem. The film's Chicago premiere will take place February 8, 2015 at Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, on south Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago.
Directed by John Lollos, Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem is an engaging mix of acting, storytelling, music, and biography.
Bikel, who turned 90 this year, is the film’s executive producer. The world premiere was held in July as a highlight of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,400 at the Castro Theater.
Theodore Bikel is an unstoppable performer who has appeared in more than 40 films and countless stage and television productions. He is also the foremost interpreter of the work of pioneer author Sholom Aleichem. Bikel has played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (based on a series of Sholom Aleichem’s short stories) more than 2,000 times. He further brought Aleichem's work to the stage with two celebrated musical plays about the author (Greetings...Sholom Aleichem Lives in 1997 and Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears in 2008).
Sholom Aleichem (1858-1916) was a pioneer of modern Jewish literature. He championed and luxuriated in the Yiddish language and created indelible characters in stories that provide invaluable windows into pre-war Eastern European Jewish life, both real and imagined.
Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem combines Bikel's charismatic storytelling with an exploration of Sholom Aleichem's amazing life. The program is part of Spertus Institute’s Solomon Goldman Program Series. The film is provided by The National Center for Jewish Film.
For more information or for tickets, visit spertus.edu or calll 312.322.1773.
Photo of Sholom Aleichem, 1907 (photo courtesy of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts