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Symphony Space / Film

Art and Heart, the World of Isaiah Sheffer


Q&A after the screening with members of the production team!

ART AND HEART: THE WORLD OF ISAIAH SHEFFER, a documentary by Catherine Tambini, had its world premiere at Lincoln Center as part of the prestigious New York Jewish Film Festival, to great acclaim. The film is a celebration of Isaiah Sheffer, a beloved cultural figure in New York City. Sheffer’s life and work are shared lovingly via intercuts of archival material, interviews with friends and colleagues, and stage performances. “His voice was like having warm butterscotch poured over your head,” recalls Stephen Colbert. Leonard Nimoy remembers Isaiah as “endlessly creative.” Jane Curtin thought “he was so much fun.” Isaiah Sheffer had a unique wit and humor that suffused everything he did. “His ebullient personality shines through,” said the Hollywood Reporter’s review of the film.

The documentary delves into the life of the man whom many knew only as the host of Selected Shorts on public radio, or the driving force and artistic director of Symphony Space, or the originator of Bloomsday on Broadway, or the comic genius behind the Thalia Follies. In addition to all of those successes, Sheffer was an Emmy-nominated writer and producer. He was an actor, director, musical librettist and lyricist, and a cultural entrepreneur. He was a husband and father, and a mentor to many. The film explores his life, his impact on the arts scene, and the tremendous effect he had on those around him.

Hollywood Reporter Review

Creative Team

  • Director – Producer: Catherine Tambini
  • Executive Producers: Ethel Sheffer and Gina Leonetti Boonshoft
  • Editor: Lenny Friedman
  • Director of Photography: Matt Porwoll
  • Sound Recordist: Peter Miller


  • Isaiah Sheffer
  • Steven Alden
  • Ivy Austin
  • The Chalks (Mary Brienza, Kathryn Markey, and Leenya Rideout)
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Jane Curtin
  • Fionnula Flanagan
  • Morgan Freeman
  • Stephen Lang
  • Malachy McCourt
  • Lanny Meyers
  • Allan Miller
  • Katherine Minton
  • James Naughton
  • Leonard Nimoy
  • Sam Norich
  • Rochelle Oliver
  • Bobby Paul
  • Eric Poindexter
  • Martin Sage
  • Ethel Sheffer
  • Susannah Sheffer
  • Fritz Weaver


Leonard Nimoy Thalia

Expected Run Time is 90 minutes

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