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Theodore Bikel
Images by Demian                         back to the Gallery Index
Theodore Bikel is an extraordinary folk singer, theater, film and television actor, and radio host.

I had the great pleasure to attend his Pavilion concert at Mohegan Lake Colony, New York on July 31, 1965. He sang and played with professional grace and passionate expression.

From my diary: “His style is polished and as persuasive as a mountain. He is a mountain of expression.”

I shot the following images during his performance.

As he first walked onto the stage to warm applause, I was immediately won over by the fact he was shaking from pre-performance nervousness. It was endearing to me to discover that even a person with his vast experience and range of talent was also human.

His connection with the audience — throughout his guitar playing and singing — was stunning, joyous.

He was accompanied, during most of the songs, by an excellent bass player. Unfortunately, I did not make a note of his name.

Six of my shots from this concert can be seen in the 2014 documentary “Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem.” Produced and directed by John Lollos, this movie has interviews and performances highlighting the importance of maintaining culture and history through literature and music. More on this movie: National Center for Jewish Film - IMDb

“I feel myself to be the link in a chain that stretches back to the past and will stretch forward into the future. I sing about what was sung yesterday. And I sing today so that, pray God, it shouldn’t get lost. And that possibly, if not my children, then, at least, somebody’s children will sing it tomorrow.” - Theodore Bikel

Theodore Bikel has been senior vice president of the American Jewish Congress, president of the Actors’ Equity Association (1973-82), vice president of the International Federation of Actors (FIA) (1981-1991), board member of Amnesty International (USA), and (by presidential appointment) member of the National Council on the Arts (1977-82). He is currently the president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America.

The images on this page were all hand-held and shot by available light on b/w Tri-X. The Pentax 35mm single lens reflex camera had a 50mm focal length lens. Because I was at a distance from the stage, all are heavily cropped. These shots were scanned from negatives, and retouched in PhotoShop.

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