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From “The Melting Pot” to Angels in America: Romance, Jewish History, and Americanization

This presentation will trace the development of conceptions of Jewish identity in the United States from Israel Zangwill’s hugely influential 1908 play “The Melting-Pot” to Tony Kushner’s 1991 “Angels in America.” In particular, we will explore the role of romantic love in the process of Americanization, from the immigrant love story in Zangwill’s play to the queer relationships of Reagan-era responses to the HIV epidemic.

Sarah Rose Leonard, Berkeley Rep’s Literary Manager and dramaturg for Angels in America, will join us to discuss the production at Berkeley Rep, April 17-July 22.

This program is co-presented by The Berkeley Rep.


# Sessions
Date & time

Tuesday, May 15
7:00 - 8:30 pm

Session Time Days Location Instructors
May 15 7:00 PM–8:30 PM Tue JCCEB Naomi Seidman Sarah Rose Leonard


JCC East Bay

1414 Walnut Street

Berkeley, CA 94709



Sarah Rose Leonard

Sarah Rose LeonardSarah Rose Leonard is the Literary Manager at Berkeley Rep. Before returning to the Bay Area, where she grew up, she was the Literary Associate at Signature Theatre in New York City. In New York she held positions as the Associate Agent at AO International, Next Generation Fellow at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, Literary Resident at Playwrights Horizons, and Literary Associate at Page 73. She has dramaturged productions of Angels in America (Berkeley Rep), Ain’t Too Proud (Berkeley Rep), Iron Shoes (Shotgun Players), A Tale of Autumn (Crowded Fire), You For Me For You (Crowded Fire), A Particle of Dread (Signature Theatre), Kung Fu (Signature Theatre), Big Love (Signature Theatre), The Wayside Motor Inn (Signature Theatre), and The Hotel Colors (The Bushwick Starr), and workshopped new plays with Martyna Majok, Kate E. Ryan, and Mia Chung at The Ground Floor.

Naomi Seidman

Naomi Seidman Prof. Naomi Seidman is Koret Professor of Jewish Culture and Director of the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Her first book, A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish, appeared in 1997. Her second, Faithful Renderings: Jewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation, was published in 2006.