WSTHZ Kosher Cabaret



Tzivi’s Report: Chicago YIVO Summer Festival favorites Stewart Figa & Ilya Levinson brought the crowd to its feet Saturday at the “Kosher Cabaret” sponsored by West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest.

Their 6 partners in the New Budapest Orpheum Society (Julia Bentley, Philip V. Bohlman, Dan Davis, Iordanka Kissiova, Mark Sonksen, & Don Stille) joined Figa & Levinson for a celebration of Figa’s 13th year as WSTHZ’s cantor extraordinaire.

Figa sang in German, Hebrew, & Yiddish, including my all-time favorite number “Ich bin ein unverbesserlicher Optimist” (“I’m an Irrepressible Optimist”) by Hermann Leopoldi & Robert Katscher. He also added a great rendition of Irving Berlin’s raucus “Cohen Owes Me Ninety-Seven Dollars” (in English).


Mezzo-soprano Bentley provided the female touch with German torch songs, including the wonderful “Black Market” solo Marlene Dietrich sang (in English) in Billy Wilder’s 1948 film A Foreign Affair.

The New Budapest Orpheum Society has two CD collections (Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano & Jewish Cabaret in Exile) and they are BOTH highly recommended.

To Stewart: Mazel tov on your Bar Mitzvah year at WSTHZ!


Photo Credits: Jan Lisa Huttner (12/3/11)

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