A Professor’s Musical Salute

For Dyson Professor Diane Cypkin, PhD, performance, culture, and history intersect—both personally and academically. Join her on March 27 as she brings to life the story of Molly Picon, the First Lady of the Yiddish Stage.

On Tuesday, March 27 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., experience one of the most entertaining—and lyrical—lectures in town as Media and Communication Arts Professor Diane Cypkin, PhD presents a  concert/lecture on the life and legacy of Molly Picon in the Multipurpose Room at One Pace Plaza. The New York City-born Picon became an icon in the Yiddish entertainment world, performing on the stage of the Second Avenue Theater on New York City’s Lower East Side and in radio, television, and film productions. One of Picon’s more famous English-speaking roles was as Yente the Matchmaker in the 1971 film version of Fiddler on the Roof.

In addition, Cypkin, who has been teaching for more than 20 years on the Westchester Campus, has appeared in many Yiddish language musical productions and served almost ten years as the Yiddish Theater Consultant at the Museum of the City of New York where she curated the exhibition “A Celebration: 100 Years of Yiddish Theater in New York.”

“The Yiddish theater itself started in 1882 on Second Avenue and the one who started it was Boris Thomashefsky,” explains Cypkin “So in 1982 I did ‘100 Years of Yiddish Theater’ at the Museum of the City of New York. Because of this, the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts knew that I was familiar with Yiddish theater both academically and professionally, which is why they asked me to do the Molly Picon exhibit.”

In Cypkin’s event, she tells the story of Molly Picon and the history of Yiddish theater through both a narrative lecture and the songs Picon became known for. The first performance of Cypkin’s musical tribute to Picon occurred a few years ago at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts where it was very well received by audiences. In the years since, Cypkin has taken her show on the road to a variety of venues in the tri-state area and as far as Missoula, Montana.

“The show is more than just music—it becomes a community event because I talk about how my parents came to America and how my mother gave me singing lessons and how I eventually came to discover Molly Picon,” says Cypkin.

If you’d like to attend the show, you must RSVP to Selena Chan at schan3@pace.edu or (212) 346-1244 by March 21 at 5:00 p.m..