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Sophie Tucker, Cropped

"The Outrageous Sophie Tucker": A Film Review

Karen Davis

“I believe in tit for tat, and if that’s the case someone owes me a lot of tat.” That quote begins this fast-paced, extremely well-researched documentary about Sophie Tucker, the bawdy singer/comedian known for being “the last of the red-hot mamas.” And thanks to the producing-writing team of Lloyd and Sue Ecker, a new generation of fans will be giving Sophie lots of “tat,” just as their parents and grandparents did during her career which lasted seven decades from the 1890s thru the 1960s.

Topics: Film
Sophie Tucker Portrait

Sophie Tucker: All About That Bass

Eliza Bayroff

Sophie Tucker was a heavyweight performer—in every sense of the word. Right up to her death in 1966 at age 82, Tucker, the so-called “Last of the Red Hot Mamas,” took her act worldwide, combining her singing talents and bawdy humor into a legendary act that would manage to survive the demise of vaudeville and the dawn of the television age—all while remaining determinedly and definitively plus-sized.

Sophie Tucker

“The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas,” Sophie Tucker defied conventions about gender, age, weight, and ethnicity with her saucy comic banter and music.
Wendy Wasserstein

Making Trouble: Clips from the Cutting Room Floor

Steven Myers-Yawnick

While hard at work here at the Archive, I stumbled upon some interviews that ended up on the cutting room floor during production of our prizewinning documentary “Making Trouble”. Take a look at a few clips that feature fabulous Jewish women in entertainment talking about fabulous Jewish women in entertainment.

See Tovah Feldshuh speak about the ahead of her time Sophie TuckerAlex Borstein explore Gilda Radner's beauty,  Adrienne Cooper's take on Molly Picon gender roles, and Wendy Wasserstein's thoughts Jewish entertainers on and off the stage. 

Topics: Comedy, Film, Theater
Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker: “You’re Gonna Miss Me, Honey”

Stephen Benson

One hundred and one years ago today, Sophie Tucker sang those words from “Some of These Days” onto a four minute cylinder recording device. It became her signature song, and toward the end of her career she guessed that she had sung it over 45,000 times.

Topics: Music, Comedy, Film, Theater

Don't Settle: 5 Life Lessons From Your Red Hot Mama

Leah Berkenwald

I have always loved Sophie Tucker, but after seeing the New Rep Theatre's production of Sophie Tucker: The Last of the Red Hot Mamas with our new JWA intern, Gwen, I see her in a new light. What struck me about the show was that it condensed Sophie's wisdom into five important life lessons -- ones that I found particularly relevant to my life as a single woman today.

Topics: Comedy, Theater

Red Hot Yiddishe Mama

Gwen

On Friday July 2nd, I had the pleasure of watching the New Repertory Theater of Watertown, Ma put on Sophie Tucker: Last of the Red Hot Mamas. I'd recently discovered Sophie while watching Making Trouble, and fallen in love with her witty and larger than life personality.

Topics: Comedy, Theater

"Some of These Days"

Leah Berkenwald

Ninety-nine years ago today, Sophie Tucker, the "last of the red hot mamas," recorded "Some of These Days," which would become one of her signature songs. Sophie Tucker, the iconic Jewish American vaudeville and cinema star, is one of the women featured in Making Trouble, JWA's film about funny Jewish women. 

Topics: Music

What "Making Trouble" means to me

Leah Berkenwald

If you follow JWA on Twitter or Facebook, it should be pretty obvious that we think Making Trouble, the film about six trailblazing Jewish women entertainers, makes a great Hanukkah present for the whole family.  Normally, the idea of pushing a "product" makes me queasy.  Afterall, I chose to work for a non-profit, not an advertising firm!  So I feel that I owe the JWA audience a real and honest explanation for why I think Making Trouble is something you should own.

Topics: Comedy, Film

Sophie Tucker records signature song

March 2, 1911

Sophie Tucker, the self-proclaimed "Last of the Red Hot Mamas," was born on January 13, 1884.

Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker was an international star of vaudeville, music halls, and later film, performing in both Yiddish and English in a career that spanned over fifty years.

Theater in the United States

For over a hundred years, Jewish women have been involved in the American theater as writers, actors, directors, designers and producers. The vitality of the Yiddish theater, the splendor of Broadway, the rich tapestry of the regional theater—and everything in between—all owe a debt to the Jewish women who have given of their talents, their energy, their drive, and their dreams.

Film Industry in the United States

The history of Jewish women’s contribution to the Hollywood film industry has been one of gradual progression toward ever higher levels of participation. For most of Hollywood’s history, the dominant tendency was to achieve a universal image that revealed no traces of ethnic heritage. This trend held until the 1960s and affected all ethnic groups. Only a few dozen Jewish actors were able to make their way into stardom under these constraints. Since the 1960s, however, Hollywood films have reflected a higher degree of ethnic diversity. The result of this change is that increasing numbers of Jewish actors have been able to establish careers in Hollywood.

Vamping with Theda Bara (Who?!)

Lauren

One of the highlights of our work at the Jewish Women’s Archive is uncovering hidden histories. In our This Week in History profile this week, we are looking back at silent film star Theda Bara.

Topics: Film, Theater

From Tekhines to Tap Dance

Jordan Namerow

Ever seen women with headscarves doing Vaudeville? Last week's Forward featured an article about Atara, an association of Torah observant artists whose new mission is to bring Orthodox female artists and performers together to nurture their creative expression -- be it through theatre, music, art, spoken word, etc. -- within a halachic framework. 

Making Trouble in Boston

Judith Rosenbaum

Yesterday I finally got to see Making Trouble, the film produced by the Jewish Women's Archive, on the big screen. After sold-out shows at film festivals around the country (plus Jerusalem!), Making Trouble made its Boston premiere as part of the Boston Jewish Film Festival. Though I've seen the film several times, and in various versions, it was exciting to see it in a theater, with a big audience.

Topics: Comedy, Film
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