[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]
Berlin. Warsaw. Paris. Tel Aviv.
During the 1920’s and 30’s, these cities had thriving Jewish communities with vibrant arts and a nightlife that sparkled with cabarets. Even as the ominous rumbles of the Nazis in Berlin darkened the horizon through the latter decade, there was an energy that reflected a resilient community surging under the surface.
When Rebecca Joy Fletcher took the stage at Keneseth Israel for three performances of Cities of Light earlier this month, she brought those communities back to life, with dramatic flare and a voice that ranged from sultry and sexy to playful and teasing.
Fletcher wove tidbits of history into the show, and as she moved from city to city, she moved easily back and forth from Yiddish to German to Polish to French to Hebrew, always mixing in enough English so her audience could understand. She even encouraged the audience to sing along with her on the final number, Nathan Alterman’s “Laila, Laila,” and several did.
KI rounded out the night perfectly by setting up the auditorium with cabaret seating – tables with cloth tablecloths, snacks and beverages and surrounded by comfortable chairs – for the patrons, and rows of seats for general admission guests.
Kudos to Yael Melzer and Myra Goldman, who led KI to make the commitment to bring additional Jewish cultural events to Louisville and to ShPIel Productions and David Chack, who produced this show. Support for this program was provided by a Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services Louisville Jewish Community Excellence Grant.