Don’t be fooled by the title of this piece; this is no Dos Equis commercial. We had the opportunity and pleasure to meet and interview Eva Bornstein, Executive Director of Lehman Center for the Performing Arts.
While we did our best to prepare for this interview, it was near impossible given Ms. Bornstein’s eclectic and charismatic personality – not to mention, very attractive.
We sat down to speak with Eva, opened our notebook ready to start but unbeknownst to us, the interview had already begun. Eva started to play a Honda commercial that she wrote and starred in for the Woodstock Opera House. If you don’t know about the Woodstock Opera House, it’s a haunted opera house in Illinois; Ms. Bornstein was the Director of the opera house at the time and managed to have the commercial run during the 1991 Superbowl. Impressive? We think so. Now, how does a woman from Communist Poland pull this off? We tried to spend the next 15 minutes figuring that out.
Why only 15 minutes? We visited Lehman Center to cover Forever Freestyle 9 and Eva had to get on stage to kick the night off. As she noted, she will ‘always be an actress’ no matter what role she is in. Eva started her career as an actress in Communist Poland and explained how she was a part of pieces where the government tried to influence the people using entertainment. She realized that for her career to thrive, she had to leave Poland and found herself in Paris where she had a part in a film. She did not know the language and learned phrases phonetically and picked up a role. Eva is a chameleon and a damn good one too. From actress to administrator, she has excelled in all ways in her journey.
What we found most impressive was her ability to identify programming that catered to the neighborhood and community that she serves, the Bronx. Entertaining the diverse borough that is a melting pot of everything and anyone seems like a significant challenge and we wanted to know how she did it. We even told Eva how we struggle to select events to serve our audience here and she chuckled. Eva broke it down for us. She started by telling us the programs she produces; international and cultural programs, Latino and African American. Again, we had to interrupt and ask how the woman from Communist Poland understands these communities.
Ms. Bornstein told us that she is like all New Yorkers and ‘adapts’; for starters she lives in El Barrio. Eva helped us understand what many would overlook; she walked the streets of her community, stopped in bodegas, talked to the locals and listened to the music playing from the cars passing by. She recognized her audience and stayed ahead of the curve when selecting performances to serve the community.
While her passion is ballet, she is a master of her craft and that is providing what her audience wants. Take it from us if you were not at Forever Freestyle 9, the community responds to Eva!
She is an amazing woman and will definitely have us back at Lehman Center. Eva talked about two major headliners that are coming towards the end of May but couldn’t divulge any information yet. However, she did mention some highlights to look forward to this season. Listed below are four events that you won’t want to miss! For more information, check out the Lehman Center website at lehmancenter.org.
Meeting Eva was beyond a treat and we look forward to following her next move at Lehman Center; we suggest you do the same!
Upcoming Season at Lehman Center:
Old School Hip Hop Night
Russian National Ballet Theatre’s stunning rendition of Swan Lake.
The Moscow Festival Ballet returns to Lehman Center to bring to life the beautiful tale of William Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.
A Night of Broadway Hits in Concert! This show will feature Ross Lekites who will be joining the National Tour of “Kinky Boots,” Lewis Cleale who will be taking a night off from “The Book of Mormon,” Kathryn Guthrie from New York City Opera, and Kirsten Wyatt from Broadways “Annie,” “Elf.”