June 5, 2015

The klezmer bandleader Eve Sicular is hardly a fan of J. Edgar Hoover, the F.B.I.’s first director, whose Cold War hunt for Communists put her grandmother in his sights. But he did keep meticulous records, and she can’t help being grateful for that. “In a twisted archival way, Hoover did me a favor, making a scrapbook about Grandma,” Ms. Sicular says in her clever show “J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs From My Grandmother’s F.B.I. Files” — and could we pause for a moment, please, to savor that stellar title? Featuring musicians from Ms. Sicular’s band, Isle of Klezbos, “J. Edgar Klezmer” is a kind of scrapbook, too. By turns playful and serious, it’s a musical piece of documentary theater assembled from old newspaper clippings, family photos, government documents and scavenged recollections about Adele Sicular, a New York physician who died in 1976, when her granddaughter was 14. To the midcentury F.B.I., there was a whiff of subversion to this Russian-born Jewish doctor’s involvement with the Citizens Committee of the Upper West Side, a group whose name reliably cracked up the audience at Thursday night’s performance at Here Arts Center. Investigators interviewed neighbors and colleagues about Dr. Sicular’s loyalty to the United States.