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Breaking Barriers - Jewish Women on the Air and Screen: Gertrude Berg and Barbra Streisand

Fifty and Better Winter Session

Breaking Barriers - Jewish Women on the Air and Screen: Gertrude Berg and Barbra Streisand

Any account of the history of the American entertainment industry will showcase the pivotal contributions of Jewish Americans. In these accounts, most of the discussion will focus on Jewish men. Yet Jewish women also played groundbreaking roles in the development of American entertainment, from stage to radio to film. This course will focus on two Jewish women whose contributions have significantly shaped the American entertainment industry: Gertrude Berg and Barbra Streisand. First, we will explore the pathbreaking work of Gertrude Berg in both radio and television through her signature role as Molly Goldberg in the show The Goldbergs, which she created, wrote, acted in and produced. We will devote the second part of the course to the transformative mark Barbra Streisand made on the American film industry through three pivotal films: Funny Girl, The Way We Were and Yentl. As actress, singer, writer, director and producer, Streisand demonstrated the power of her art to entertain, instruct and change the "old boys club" culture of the movie industry.

Cliff Wilcox, PhD, is a historian of American intellectual and cultural history. His courses concentrate on culture, ideas, education, and religion in American society. He holds a doctorate in American intellectual history from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Fifty and Better was designed to offer university-level courses and lectures (no tests, no homework) taught by experts in the field, and to host social engagement activities for people age 50 and older.


Register by 3 p.m., Jan. 19

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Christina Tierney