Breaking News: Yiddish Theatre Makes Money

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By Barbara Henry and Alyssa Quint Reviews of Avrom Goldfaden‘s productions in the Russian empire from 1878 until 1883 are notorious for critics’ snarky pot-shots, huffy asides, and sniffy evaluations. Goldfaden was accused of offering plays that presented Jews as “unreconstructed zealots” in “sideshow comedies” whose plots were predicated on “banality and deceit” and were […]

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Should a married woman visit a Yiddish music hall?

Illustration: Entrance to the Grand Music Hall (circa 1912) with movie posters, a billboard with the vaudeville program. No the “Admission 5c.” sign.

By Judith Thissen “What a strange question,” you might think. Why would it be a problem if someone went to a music hall simply to have some fun? In the early 1900s, the answer was complicated. In the early days of Yiddish vaudeville in New York City, Jewish immigrants would occasionally visit music halls. Few, […]

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Rare Yiddish Manuscripts from Helsinki Performed Again

Jac Weinstein (1883-1976)

by Simo Muir Leeds University In 2005, a room full of forgotten archival materials from the Jewish community of Helsinki was discovered in the cellar of a house in the center of the Finnish capital. I was then working as an archivist for the Jewish community of Helsinki at the National Archives of Finland, and […]

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Yiddish Theatre in Denmark, 1906-56

Ad in Jødisk Ugeblad (Jewish Weekly) in both Danish and Yiddish for a Herts Grosbart show 12.9.1937

by Morten Thing Research librarian emeritus at Roskilde University, Denmark the Jewish Drama Association ”Progress,” [Morten Thing, born 1945, studied Danish language and literature at Copenhagen University and worked as an instructor at Copenhagen and Roskilde Universities. He received his doctoral degree in 1993, for his study of the relation between intellectuals and the Communist […]

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Uncle Ed, Yiddish Theatre Impresario

Nattily dressed, with a center part and round glasses like Sholem Aleichem, Relkin cut a dashing figure.

By Faith Jones “My Uncle Ed was a Yiddish theatre impresario,” my friend Martha mentioned casually, as we were busy prepping for an event at our local Yiddish organization. Wait, what? Uncle Ed, it turns out, was Edwin A. Relkin, and if you look in volume four of the Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Encyclopedia of […]

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A tribute to Sonia Lizaron

Sonia Lizaron

Delivered at her funeral service, 26 August 2015. By Arnold Zable Sonia Lizaron was a gracious, unassuming, unsung hero, and a wonderful friend. My wife Dora, my son Alexander, and I loved her. As did many others who came to know her. She lived an epic life, but rarely spoke about it. This tribute is […]

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Boris Thomashefsky and Aaron Lebedeff

At center: Boris Thomashefsky (with beard) and Aaron Lebedeff (in suit and spats), in an unidentified production, circa 1920.
Photo: Museum of the City of New York.

By Zachary M. Baker Stanford University seems like an unexpected place to encounter an artifact that reveals the close connections between two great stars of the Yiddish theatre, Boris Thomashefsky (1866-1939) and Aaron Lebedeff (1873-1960). A few years ago, while roaming the open stacks of the Stanford University Libraries, I came across a copy of […]

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Interview: Indecent Playwright Paula Vogel and Director Rebecca Taichman

Sarah (Mimi Lieber, L) and Rifkele (Adina Verson, C) cowering before Yankl (Tom Nelis) in the closing moments of God of Vengeance. Photo © Carol Rosegg, 2015.

By Joel Berkowitz Paula Vogel’s drama Indecent premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, in October, and then moved to the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, where it just completed its run. Next spring, it will be staged at the Vineyard Theatre in New York City. The play revolves around the […]

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Six Degrees of Yankev Blayfer

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 11.22.08 AM

By Debra Caplan Yankev Blayfer. Sonia Alomis. Leola Vendorf. Baruch Lumet. Wolf Barzel. Who are these figures and what is their place in history? Their names don’t appear in any theatre history or reference work. They don’t even have Wikipedia entries. In fact, these figures are almost entirely absent from the historical record. Google their names […]

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