Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

NEW YORK CITY |  After a season of public programs that scoured world theater, the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY will complete its fall 2012 season with presentations on Yiddish theatre and the Rosenberg trials.

Both events take place on Mondays in December. Both start at 6:30 PM.  And both are free to the public.

Living History: Rudi Rosenfeld + Moshe Yassur (Romania) on Yiddish Theatre
Living History: Rudi Rosenfeld + Moshe Yassur (Romania) on Yiddish Theatre

Living History: Rudi Rosenfeld and Moshe Yassur (Romania) on Yiddish Theatre.
On Monday, December 10, 2012 at 6:30pm, the Segal Center welcomes living legend Rudi Rosenfeld, the last of his generation of Yiddish-speaking actors in the storied Romanian Yiddish theatre, in conversation with noted Romanian Yiddish theatre director Moshe Yassur. Rosenfeld and Yassur will reflect on the past, present and future of Yiddish theatre in Romania and around the world with a panel of artists and theatre historians.

Vibrant from the late nineteenth century onwards but banned during World War II (save for a single Jewish theatre that performed Yiddish plays translated into Romanian, by special decree from the Antonescu regime), Yiddish-language theatre in Romania was consecrated when the new Communist government established the world’s first state-operated Yiddish theatre in Bucharest in 1948. This theatre has been in continuous operation ever since, and now features primarily non-Jewish Romanian actors performing in Yiddish.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Revisiting the Rosenberg Trial in The Brother (with Sam Roberts, NY Times).
On Monday, December 17, 2012 at 6:30pm, the Segal Center welcomes New York Times investigative reporter Sam Roberts and his collaborating playwrights, John Hancock and Dorothy Tristan (Weeds, Bang the Drum Slowly) for a reading of the new stage adaptation of Roberts’ riveting nonfiction book The Brother, a return to the 1950s Cold War treason trial and execution of suspected Soviet spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.

The affair caused a global uproar at the time, with the international left defended the couple (Pablo Picasso called the execution a “crime against humanity” and Jean-Paul Sartre called it a “legal lynching”) but the anti-Communist right (including Senator Joe McCarthy and prosecutor Roy Cohn) hounded them. The polarizing case still reverberates in American culture and politics, and details continue to emerge: in 1996, Ethel Rosenberg’s brother David Greenglass—a former machinist at Los Alamos who became a Soviet spy himself and testified against his sister—admitted to Roberts that he had lied under oath to protect his own family. This Segal evening, co-presented with the CUNY Graduate Center’s Science & the Arts series, will feature a reading from Hancock and Tristan’s new play, directed by Ian Strasfogel, followed by a discussion of its endlessly fascinating subject matter with Roberts, both playwrights, and Brian Schwartz (Graduate Center CUNY).

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a non-profit center for theatre, dance, and film affiliated with CUNY’s Ph.D. Program in Theatre. The Center’s mission is to bridge the gap between academia and the professional performing arts communities both within the United States and internationally.

The Graduate Center, CUNY is located at 365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street) NYC. Visit

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