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Interview with Avi Hoffman

July 8th, 2010 · No Comments

Avi Hoffman is proud to be Jewish, and he wants you to know about it. He has produced and written two award-wining musical theater productions that are comedic celebrations of Jewish identity in America, and he’ll be performing them both at the Aventura Arts and Cultural center July 9 through July 19.

Hoffman stars in the shows Too Jewish and Too Jewish, Too!, which have been aired on PBS and won multiple awards. He has received favorable reviews far and wide in the 2,500 plus times he has performed the shows, including an article in the Broward New Times which in 2007, calledToo Jewish, Too!wonderful“. Hoffman recently talked to about his up-coming performances, what audience members can expect, and how it all relates to Aventura.

Aventura Blog: The Jewish immigrant experience is a common theme in American art and theater – how is your show different from others?

Avi Hoffman: It’s just an absolute celebration of Jewish culture and identity in America and it’s not only for Jews – I’m always amazed about how many non Jewish people share that immigrant experience in this country, whether their families come from Italy, Ireland, or Puerto Rico, or Cuba, wherever it is, all of us who come from an immigrant experience, share that same kind of milieu of songs, family life, comedy and story telling.

As opposed to so many of the Jewish performers who look at the more negative, dysfunctional aspects of Judaism to generate their comedy, I like to approach it from a very prideful place. People walk out of my shows feeling ten-feet tall about being Jewish, and those that are not Jewish walk out going ‘wow, I had no idea, I learned so much, and I had such a great time learning so much about Jewish culture and identity in America.

That’s what people see when they see my shows. They see how these immigrants came to America, brought their culture to America, and then influenced their children, who then went on to influence the entire American cultural scene.

Aventura Blog: In Aventura, there is a growing population of Jewish people who have recently immigrated to the United States, often from South America. How will your show speak to them?

Avi Hoffman: I think what’s especially fascinating about the South American Jewish community is that so many of the South America Jews actually immigrated from Europe to South America. So what ended up happening in South America was a parallel to what was happening in the United States in terms of the Jewish immigrant experience. The only difference was that their children ended up learning Spanish, Portuguese, their children ended up assimilating into their South American culture, but we share that same Eastern European experience.

I’m actually amazed at the fact that there are so many Yiddish speaking communities in South America, where as in the U.S., a lot of those communities have dwindled, but in South America they still thrive, children still learn Yiddish in Yiddish schools.  My show talks about that immigrant experience from Europe and how it evolved through Yiddish into what I call Yienglish, and I’m sure that the South American immigrant community that has now immigrated to the United States and to Aventura will have an especially great time because they can relate to it from a different perspective.

Aventura Blog: How did it feel to be the first artist selected to perform at the Aventura Arts and cultural Center?

Avi Hoffman: I’m very proud that when the Broward Center was looking for an act to basically open this venue, they considered me. That is a great complement and a true honor. So I’m very excited, and it looks like it’s going to be a magnificent venue.

Dates: Friday, 7/9/10 – Sunday, 7/18/10

Show times:

Too Jewish:
Friday, July 09, 2010: 8:00 PM
Saturday, July 10, 2010: 2:00 PM
Friday, July 16, 2010: 8:00 PM
Saturday, July 17, 2010: 2:00 PM

Too Jewish Too!
Saturday, July 10, 2010 – 8:00 PM
Sunday, July 11, 2010: 2:00 PM
Saturday, July 17, 2010: 8:00 PM
Sunday, July 18, 2010: 2:00 PM

Tickets: $30 **Special 10% discount by calling 954.462.0222 & mentioning promo code: BAGEL

cross posted on miami herald aventura channel
by: Jared Goyette

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Tags: Community Events