Immigration to America on Stage & Screen
Sponsored by the Robert Fordham Chair in Liberal Arts
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said to a gathering of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution): “Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” The immigrant story is the spine of the American narrative and has been played out through all of American history in the nation’s theatres and cinemas. From dramas like Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” (Italian) and Amiri Baraka’s “Slave Ship” (African American) to musicals like “Fiddler on the Roof” (Eastern European Jewish) and “Flower Drum Song” (Chinese), the American stage has told the many tales of coming to America. And in films as old as Charlie Chaplin’s “The Immigrant” or as recent as “Gangs of New York,” “The Namesake,” “Maria Full of Grace,” and “The Visitor,” the screen has done the same. This course will consider and celebrate the quintessential American story of immigration through its stage and screen representations, with ample video clips as illustrations.
Larry Eilenberg has had a distinguished theatrical career as artistic director, educational leader, and pioneering dramaturg. Dr. Eilenberg earned his B.A. at Cornell University and his Ph.D. at Yale University. Professor Emeritus of Theatre Arts at San Francisco State University, he also taught at Yale, Cornell, the University of Michigan, and the University of Denver. Artistic Director of the renowned Magic Theatre during the period 1992-2003, Dr. Eilenberg has served as a commentator for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” as a U.S. theatrical representative to Moscow, and as a popular lecturer on film and on comedy.