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Producers Looking to Adapt “Hester Street” For Broadway

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Carol Kane in a still from the 1975 movie, Hester Street.
Carol Kane in a still from the 1975 movie, Hester Street.

Hester Street, the 1975 film set on the Lower East Side, is being adapted for Broadway. Film producer Ira Deutchman told Indiewire he’s developing the project in consultation with Joan Micklin Silver, who wrote and directed the indie movie.

Hester Street was based on an 1896 story by  Abraham Cahan (editor of The Jewish Daily Forward). It traces the comic and poignant story of Jake (Steven Keats) and Gitl (Carol Kane), Russian immigrants with very different ideas about what it meant to become Americans. Deutchman said he believes the story has great relevance today:

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.

Deutchman and co-producer Michael Rabinowitz said they hope to partner with a not-for-profit theater company with the goal of bringing the production to Broadway. They’re currently looking for a playwright.

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