J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Gwenyth Reitz

  • Opening Night:
    June 4, 2015
    June 7, 2015

    Theater: HERE Arts Center / 145 Ave. of Americas, New York, NY, 10013


    "J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother's FBI Files" is a musical documentary theater adventure, researched and written by grandchild and bandleader Eve Sicular "Isle of Klezbos/Metropolitan Klezmer). From klezmer to Kodaly to jazz, baroque to boogie woogie to gospel, from a New York Times clipping on Hazel Scott's cancelled TV show to derelict theories of homosexuality, J. Edgar Klezmer's exploration of surveillance files lead in even more directions than the Department of Justice could have foreseen. The fabulous five-woman cast features actress Yelena Shmulenson (Coen Brother: A Serious Man; Boardwalk Empire; Orange is the New Black), lead vocalist Melissa Fogarty (New York City Opera, Seattle Baroque), under the direction of Gwenyth Reitz.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files

    ‘J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs From My Grandmother’s F.B.I. Files’ Tells All at Here Arts Center

    Laura Collins-Hughes

    June 5, 2015: The klezmer bandleader Eve Sicular is hardly a fan of J. Edgar Hoover, the F.B.I.’s first director, whose Cold War hunt for Communists put her grandmother in his sights. But he did keep meticulous records, and she can’t help being grateful for that. “In a twisted archival way, Hoover did me a favor, making a scrapbook about Grandma,” Ms. Sicular says in her clever show “J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs From My Grandmother’s F.B.I. Files” — and could we pause for a moment, please, to savor that stellar title? Featuring musicians from Ms. Sicular’s band, Isle of Klezbos, “J. Edgar Klezmer” is a kind of scrapbook, too. By turns playful and serious, it’s a musical piece of documentary theater assembled from old newspaper clippings, family photos, government documents and scavenged recollections about Adele Sicular, a New York physician who died in 1976, when her granddaughter was 14. To the midcentury F.B.I., there was a whiff of subversion to this Russian-born Jewish doctor’s involvement with the Citizens Committee of the Upper West Side, a group whose name reliably cracked up the audience at Thursday night’s performance at Here Arts Center. Investigators interviewed neighbors and colleagues about Dr. Sicular’s loyalty to the United States.



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