Jewish Performer of the Week – Sari Greenberg
What did you do Jewish growing up?
What did I not do Jewish growing up? I grew up in Buffalo Grove and I went to Stevenson High School. I was one of those rare kids who actually loved going to Hebrew school. I felt connected to Jewish prayers and music and also loved learning about Israel. I even went to Hebrew High School after my Bat Mitzvah. I did NSCY and USY and dipped my toe in BBYO. I grew up listening to all kinds of Jewish and My family also loved Yiddish and Jewish music
There is something really special about keeping the sounds of our ancestors and how they listened to music and how music sounded to them alive. I don’t have children so this is my way of passing down Jewish tradition and keeping Judaism thriving.
What languages do you sing in?
For the Moishe Oysher show, we sing all in Yiddish. Although I sing in both Hebrew and Yiddish, I don’t speak either but would love to become fluent in both.
Where did you go to school?
I went to school at The Chicago College of Performing Arts Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Two weeks after I graduated, I moved to New York where I lived for 6 years.
What do you do for work?
I am a performer by trade. That means a lot of different things. The long version is I am an actor, singer, songwriter, dancer, commercial and voice over artist. In New York, I worked at a piano bar, performed in various cabaret shows and in national tours. When I came back to Chicago, I got an agent and landed my first commercial for Dove body wash.
Tell us more about the Lady Gaga Tour!
That was my craziest performing experience! I played Lady Gaga for two years as part of the “Bad Romance” production. The show was a musical based on her life with music from her Monster Ball album. No, I never met her. This was a time when Lady Gaga was on hiatus because she had hip surgery and was not touring for a couple years. The show was great. I sang 18 songs. We had back up dancers, pyrotechnics, lasers, and the costumes were outrageous. So you can say I have gone from Gaga to Yiddish.
Tell us about Moishe Oysher and “SheBrew”
This show is is a 90 minute concert tribute to the life of renowned Cantor, Moishe Oysher (yes that is his birth name) who became a Yiddish stage, screen, and radio superstar. Shebrew shares stories from my life as a performer through Jewish music. There is a need in the Jewish world for a one woman show. This show is is a 90 minute concert tribute to the life of little known cantor and Yiddish stage, screen, and radio superstar. Learn more
What do you do Jewish now?
Besides performing in my Jewish A Cappella group Listen Up! and my Moishe Oysher show, I used to be on the davening team at Mishkan and I go to Anshe Emet for high holidays. I have a very close family who loves to celebrate Shabbat and the holidays together.
What is the best part of touring with Listen Up!
I love those guys. They’re unbelievably talented and we have the best time together. I get to see Jewish America. I have had the privilege of performing for some incredible Jewish communities in this country and am always welcomed wherever I go. I absolutely love that it combines a lot of what I am passionate about, storytelling, Judaism, and music.
What do you do for fun
I find my career really fun. My work requires me to travel constantly and I absolutely love it. I’ve performed in all but 4 states (Hawaii, Alaska, Delaware, Rhode Island) and love meeting new people and seeing this beautiful country.
What is your favorite Chicago gem?
I love the Green Mill. It is super Chicago. It is an amazing Chicago landmark and an intimate music venue. Historically, it was a favorite hangout of gangster Al Capone and still has secret passages in the basement. It has a real feel of walking back in time to the 30’s.
Who do you want to shout out?
My parents for instilling their love of Judaism and their traditions in me and always encouraging and supporting anything I have ever wanted to do.
My hebrew teacher Mr. Marshall Myers because he was always very positive and unlike my secular school where teachers were very consequence focused, he always treated people with kindness and his love of Judaism inspired me to learn more.
When the tribe gathers…There is connection and the feeling of community.