The stars illuminating Symphony Space’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater at the December 2 “Miracle of Miracles” Hanukkah Gala were “Sunshine Boys” (almost 90) Theodore Bikel, (91 year young) Fyvush Finkel and (102 year sharp-as-a-tac stunner) Bel Kaufman. Honoree Bikel — who has portrayed Tevye more than 2500 times worldwide — witnessed the arrival of Hitler in Vienna and escaped to Palestine. It was noted, “When the Jews of Russia needed advocates, Bikel was the prominent vociferous voice performing their songs of defiance.”
‘The Rise of David Levinsky’ was once trumpeted as the next ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ Now, the collaboration between the late Isaiah Sheffer and Bobby Paul is getting a second shot.
Along with his deep lullaby of a voice that graced the radio airwaves, Isaiah Sheffer will be remembered for his lasting legacy at Manhattan’s Symphony Space.
Radio personality Isaiah Sheffer died today in New York at age 76. Sheffer was co-founder and artistic director of the performing art center Symphony Space on the upper west side of Manhattan, and was known nationally as the long time host of the public radio series “Selected Shorts,” which began in 1985. Sheffer started Symphony Space in 1978 with the conductor Alan Miller, and turned a run down theater into one of the most active cultural centers in New York. Sheffer stepped down from the post in 2009.
“There isn’t an after party because I know pretty much everyone here,” composer David Amram announced at the end of his 80th birthday celebration at Symphony Space on November 11. “I figured that with 500 of you, plus your dates, plus the 60-piece orchestra, the rest of the performers and our families, we’d need Madison Square Garden. And it was booked.” He was exaggerating, but not much: The hall was packed with fans and well-wishers, and the concert program listed more musicians than could comfortably fit backstage at any one time — they were told to arrive in shifts.