I’m honored to introduce Jenny Romaine at this upcoming award event! I wrote about Jenny for my MA Thesis, “Unleashing Power in Yiddishland and Faerieland: Spectacular Theatrical Strategies for Resistance and Resilience,” which can be accessed here.
Dreaming In Yiddish An evening honoring Jenny Romaine and the legacy of Adrienne Cooper
On Saturday, December 21st at 8pm we will gather together in love to remember and celebrate the amazin
g legacy left to us by singer/songwriter and star of Yiddish music, Adrienne Cooper. The event will also celebrate the newly established Adrienne Cooper Fund Award and its first honoree, the brilliant dreamer and vision-maker, Jenny Romaine.
The illustrious line up for 2013 Dreaming in Yiddish: An Evening honoring Jenny Romaine and the legacy of Adrienne Cooper includes these luminaries of the world of Yiddish and other music: Lorin Sklamberg, Ethel Raim, Joanne Borts, Susan Leviton, Psoy Korolenko, Josh Dolgin, Benjy Fox-Rosen, Eleanore Reissa, Michael Alpert, Sarah Gordon, Frank London, Michael Winograd, Joel Rubin, Avi Fox-Rosen, Marilyn Lerner, Cookie Seigelstein, Alicia Svigals, Dan Blacksberg, Mark Rubin, Aaron Alexander, Patrick Farrell, Lauren Brody, and more….
Adrienne Cooper [September 1, 1946 – December 25, 2011] was a major catalyst in the 1980s revival of Yiddish culture that flourishes to this day. She taught and inspired generations of performers who went on to revitalize and revolutionize the world of contemporary Yiddish music, and it is not hyperbole to say that her influence can be heard in the work of nearly every Yiddish singer and klezmer artist currently active. She embraced Yiddish for its “hard-to-describe delights, for the rage it brings to injustice, for its wonderful weight on the tongue, for the arc it forms between poles of Jewish identity — from otherworldly to this worldly, from grit to grace — and for the astonishing ushpizn, unexpected guest spirits, who show up and have what to say.” The New York Times called her “a pioneer in the effort to keep the embers of Yiddish smoldering for newer generations.” As writer-director Jenny Romaine put it, “Adrienne had the voice of a diva and the soul of a bundist.”
Cooper’s words reflect the essential foundation to the meaning of “Dreaming in Yiddish:” “The linguist Max Weinreich wrote that Yiddish is the language of the Jewish unconscious in which every modern Jew will eventually dream. When that Yiddish dream comes to them, they will need an interpreter. [These songs are my] interpretation of our collective Yiddish dream. …I imagine people dreaming in Yiddish on every continent – old Litvaks (my relatives), lured by colonial travel agents to Southern Africa, splendidly obscure Yiddish scholars in China, Holocaust survivors in the Australian outback, California klezmer, New York cab drivers, Hollywood moguls, farmers in the Argentine, East German street singers, Belgian chocolatiers, Soviet gangsters, Israeli physicists, and me, my parents, and my daughter, spread across North America, Dreaming in Yiddish.”
After her untimely death in 2011, the vast community that surrounded Adrienne Cooper was determined to keep her memory alive, by establishing a fund in her honor. In 2012, the first concert DREAMING IN YIDDISH took place at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College to sold-out audiences. This year will mark the first annual award ceremony which will take place during the concert at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant (140 Second Avenue, between 8th and 9th Streets), New York City.