Isle of Klezbos; J Edgar Klezmer: songs from my grandmother's FBI files

J. EDGAR KLEZMER: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files is a musical documentary theater adventure, researched and written by grandchild and bandleader Eve Sicular. From klezmer to Kodaly to jazz, baroque to boogie woogie to gospel, and a New York Times clipping on Hazel Scott’s cancelled TV show to derelict theories of homosexuality, J. EDGAR KLEZMER’s exploration of surveillance files leads in even more directions than the Department of Justice could have foreseen. Read review in the New York Times NY Times Photo from Emelin show

J. EDGAR KLEZMER premiered in workshop at Dixon Place in November 2008 and immediately became a Time Out NY Critics Pick. It has gone on to major acclaim from The New York Times for an Off-Off Broadway sold-out run at HERE Arts Center in NYC in June 2015. The show's full production debut was at Centenary Stage Company in Hackettstown NJ, with a December 2015 full house at The Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck NY. J. Edgar Klezmer highlights were also performed by Isle of Klezbos in the sextet's debut at legendary Broadway nightclub 54 Below.

The show is based on the true story of the late Dr. Adele Sicular, grandmother of Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos drummer & bandleader Eve Sicular. Using documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act filing, plus myriad other archival findings, and combined with family gossip, this piece investigates the dealings of the FBI and Eve’s pianist / psychiatrist / activist grandma through live theater, multi-media projections, and live music.

Melissa with boa and Shoko on piano

Other workshop performances were presented in June, 2009 by The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan under the direction of Isabel Milenski and in February the same year at the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Thanks to Third Street Music School Settlement, Caravan of Dreams, A Repeat Performance Antiques, and The Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation for support of our 2015 productions. Development and previous performances of J. EDGAR KLEZMER: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files also received support from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund (NYC Department of Cultural Affairs), Third Street Music School Settlement, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Sparkplug Foundation. We are also grateful to numerous generous private donors, and to our 157 crowd-funding contributors — from seven countries around the world — who helped us meet and surpass our Indiegogo campaign goals.


Voyage from Lesbos - Eve on Drums and Yelena

“J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs From My Grandmother’s F.B.I. Files Tells All at Here Arts Center”Theater review in The New York Times

“Turning Grandma’s FBI File Into Theater”Ted Merwin’s preview of J. EDGAR KLEZMER in The Jewish Week

“Klezmer Meets Politics in Unique Theater Piece”NJ Jersey Arts Maven’s Sheila Abrams reviews the show

Vox Tablet logo In June, 2009 Eve Sicular spoke to Vox Tablet's Sara Ivry about her grandmother Adele Sicular and J. EDGAR KLEZMER.. LISTEN to “Prying Eyes: A klezmer musician turns her grandmother’s FBI files into musical theater.” Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin.

Dr Adele Sicular

The stellar lineup features bandmates from Isle of Klezbos and Metropolitan Klezmer in both musician and speaking roles plus actress Yelena Shmulenson (A Serious Man; Boardwalk Empire), and veteran director Gwenyth Reitz.


“The concept is brilliant, the material, superb, the execution, flawless and poetic, athletic and thoughtful in every move. Please congratulate your fellow performers, one more talented than the next. Everyone I spoke to agreed it was absolutely wonderful. Thank you for the really hard work and reminding us of those harrowing McCarthy era years. That was some grandma you had.”
– Mary Silk (Emelin Theatre, 12/5/2015)


Melissa Fogarty lead vocals
Yelena Shmulenson
Eve Sicular drums, grandchild
Debra Kreisberg clarinet, saxophone
Reut Regev trombone, slide trumpet
Shoko Nagai piano, accordion
Gwenyth Reitz


email Sicular at
phone 212 475 4544
mobile 347 804 4439

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Isle of Klezbos
Eve Sicular
bandleader and producer
151 First Ave #145
NYC 10003 USA

Video excerpts are now available for presenters requesting previews of J. EDGAR KLEZMER: Songs from My Grandmother's FBI Files.

PHOTO CREDITS top to bottom: Banner images: book jacket, VOYAGE FROM LESBOS, by Richard C. Robertiello, M.D.; NY Times, December 23, 2007, photo by Neal Boenzi; J. EDGAR KLEZMER promotional postcard designed by [Christie Grotheim]; young Adele Sicular, photographer unknown; Hazel Scott, solos from Boogie Woogie to the Classics, folio cover; Adele and her brother Henry Sicular, photographer unknown; Adele Sicular, ca. 1955, Alfred Sachs. Hazel Scott at piano, photographer unknown; J. EDGAR KLEZMER poster Courtesy JCC Manhattan.