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Molly Picon as Lyricist

Hosted By: YIVO

The inimitable Molly Picon — actress, singer, dancer and comedienne — has been celebrated for her work not only in the Yiddish theater, but also on Broadway and London stages, to say nothing of film, radio, recordings, and television. Missing from all the acclaim, however, has been any recognition of her deep accomplishment as a lyricist. She penned the words to dozens of the songs she sang, revealing her formidable skill as a writer — not merely as a clever wordsmith, but as a poet and storyteller, too. Most of these were in Yiddish , as for example “Abi gezunt,” her theme song. But some were in English, as well. And some, in Yinglish, combined the two! Musician-scholar Ronald Robboy offers a guide through Picon’s long career, choosing selected songs to show how she marshaled her writing skills not only to show off her singing to best advantage, but to flesh out characterizations and further the dramatic action of the many musicals in which she starred. Not only a performer of the first rank, musical actress Molly Picon was a lyricist of distinction.

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