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USD Theatre Presents Green Violin

Two performers sit back-to-back in the production The Green Violin. The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents the “Green Violin” April 19–23.

VERMILLION, SD – The University of South Dakota Department of Theatre presents the new and unique musical “Green Violin,” April 19–23, in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. One of the first productions outside of New York of the Elise Thoron musical, the show features klezmer music written by Grammy-award winning musician Frank London. There will be a talkback with the playwright, composer and artistic team on Thursday, April 20, following the performance.

Associate Professor Chaya Gordon-Bland directs this movement-based musical, which tells the story of the passionate friendship and artistic collaboration between painter Marc Chagall and Solomon Mikhoels, the extraordinary leading actor of the first Soviet Yiddish Theater. Green Violin invites audiences into the rich and complex world of Soviet Yiddish history, arts and culture as they play out on the world stage.

This production is part of an innovative and historically unprecedented initiative at USD: a campus-wide celebration of Yiddish art, culture, and history that includes programs and events across campus and throughout the community. To prepare, excite and educate audiences for this production, events have been and will continue to be taking place across campus that delve into the unique culture, history and art forms of the Soviet Yiddish world. ‘Yiddish’ is a term that refers both to the language spoken in the Jewish villages (shtetls) of Eastern Europe and the culture that existed in these communities. The Yiddish language is earthy, passionate, expressive and full of both humor and irony. Yiddish culture shares these characteristics, as well as deep roots in music (klezmer) and the arts, profound philosophical musings and a strong cultural consciousness of its own ‘otherness’. Today, Yiddish continues as a vibrant cultural identity that creates and celebrates playful and dramatic expressions of social justice and peace (shalom).

This campus-wide initiative is supported by the South Dakota Humanities Council, USD’s Center for Diversity and Community, Center for Teaching and Learning, College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, Departments of History, Music, and Theatre, and the I.D. Weeks Library.

Green Violin performs April 19–22 at 7:30 p.m. and April 23 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre on the USD campus. Tickets ($15 Adults, $12 Senior Citizen [62+], $10 K-12 & non-USD students with ID, and $5 USD students with ID) can be purchased in the afternoons (12–5 p.m.) starting April 11 at the USD Theatre Box Office or by calling (605) 677-5400; tickets can also be purchased online at


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News