Discover the colorful history of Manhattan’s Second Avenue with theatre historian Cezar Del Valle. Once an epicenter of Yiddish American culture, it was home to the legitimate stage, burlesque, vaudeville and early movie houses. The avenue became a gathering place for writers, poets, artists and anarchists of every persuasion. In cafes conversations bubbled till dawn with talk of theatre, poetry and politics.
As the Yiddish stage began to fade, Off-Off Broadway made its appearance in store fronts and old union halls. Second Avenue giving its last gasp of non-conformity with the counter culture of the 1960s.
In this walk, you will discover places associated not only with Molly Picon and Maurice Schwartz but also George Gershwin, Janis Joplin and Andy Warhol (not to mention two of the Three Stooges).
Strolling along the avenue, we will pause for a Lower East Side nosh.
Who will enjoy this event? Those passionate about theatre (Yiddish or otherwise), Students of early cinema, Lovers of pop music, including show tunes, jazz, folk, and rock and people who want to know more about New York’s history, especially the Lower East Side.
*And… anyone curious to know the link between the first Yiddish production in America and Clint Eastwood.
“Your amount of historic knowledge was nothing short of ‘incredible.’”—–Dana Schulz, Program and Administrative Associate, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
“The tour, led by theatre historian Cezar Del Valle, was phenomenal! Cezar shared his encyclopedic knowledge of theatre lore, history, and gossip.”– Richard Moses, President, Lower East Side Preservation Initiative
Meet in front of the Sunshine Theatre, 143 E. Houston Street. Take the F to the Second Avenue station.
There are restrooms at Whole Foods, Houston Street, on the way to the Sunshine. Also at Yonah Schimmel’s Knish Bakery, next to the theatre (stop at this “frozen-in-time LES relic” for a cup of coffee and a cherry cheese knish or bit of kugel to set the mood).
Other rest stops will be discussed on the day of the tour.
The walk ends at the Village East Cinema, 181-189 2nd Avenue (East 12th Street).
L train stop at 3rd Avenue and 14th Street
Theater Historian and Artist
An artist with over 100 exhibitions at galleries, museums and art centers, Cezar Del Valle is also a theatre historian offering series of popular theatre talks and walking tours. He has been described as “legendary” by Lower East Side Preservation Initiative. For Dick Zigun, at Coney Island USA, Del Valle is “one hell of an entertaining speaker.” While Hillsman Wright, executive director of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, calls Cezar Del Valle “a distinguished scholar and great friend of historic theatres.” Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two volumes chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society of America. Final volume published in September 2014. He is currently working on a major update of the first two volumes of the Index for what will be the third and final editions. These will be available in early 2017.