'70's Indie Film HESTER STREET to Be Adapted into Broadway Play with Music
In a new interview with Indiewire, veteran film producer Ira Deutchman reveals that he plans to adapt Joan Silver's 1975 indie hit HESTER STREET to the Broadway stage, with help from producer Michael Rabinowitz. Silver, who also helmed the film, (which earned an Oscar nomination for its star Carol Kane), will serve as a consultant on the project.
Based on Abraham Cahan's 1896 novella "Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto" and starring Doris Roberts and Steven Keats, HESTER STREET follows "a Jewish immigrant Yankel Bogovnik as he and his family settle into their new life on the Lower East Side. Having emigrated three years before his wife Gitl (Carol Kane) and son arrived, he assimilated to life in America rather quickly and has fallen in love with another woman. When his wife arrives he see that she is not "American" looking and has trouble assimilating as quickly as he would want her to. ""It was definitely Michael's brainchild. He was the one who had this idea that it would make a really good Broadway production," explains Deutchman. "He brought it initially to Joan Silver and she asked me to step in. I immediately leapt on it because I just think it's an absolutely brilliant idea and perfect material for the stage."
Asked what makes the story relevant in 2016, Deutchman offers, "It's a story about immigration and assimilation. It couldn't be more timely! That was the other thing that was on my mind, other than the fact that the piece itself is timeless. It's historically significant simply because I can't think of another example of a woman writer-director in the '70s actually making a film that had the impact that "Hester Street" did. And then on top of that, it was a hit in the completely independent realm outside of the studio system."
According to Indiewire, the stage version will be a play with music, incorporating live musical performances throughout the storyline. Deutchman and Rabinowitz are currently looking for playwrights to pen the adaptation. Their plan is to team with a New York nonprofit to develop the production and enhance its chances of reaching the Broadway stage.
Read the interview in full HERE