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Yiddish Theatre

Antonio Jose da Silva (1705-1739)
His mother, Lourenca Coutinho, was less compromising and it was as a result of her deportation to Portugal, when she was imprisoned on a Judaizing charge in 1713 (217 years after Portugal called in the Inquistion!), that Da Silva and his father moved to Lisbon.
Sholem Asch's 130 birthday
Deeply attached to the legacy of the Jewish past, which he enshrined in novels and dramas of aesthetic beauty and moral grandeur, Asch connected the Yiddish world to the mainstream of European and American culture, becoming the first Yiddish writer to enjoy a truly international vogue
Revisiting the Past: A Play by 19th Century Author M. M. Noah
The son of Portuguese Jewish descent, Mordecai Manuel Noah was a Sheriff, a member of the the bar of New York and a member of the Supreme Court of the United States. His dream was to establish the City of Ararat, a haven of Judaism in The United States. But he was also a talented writer, the author of many articles and theatre pieces, including She Would Be a Soldier
Revisiting the Past: The Yiddish Theatre in Melbourne
From its very beginnings at the start of the twentieth century, Yiddish theatre in Melbourne recreated the Jewish world that migrants had left behind in Europe. It had a restorative and remedial effect on the immigrants who trod a line between the old world and the new
London: The End of Yiddish Theatre
Yiddish theatres all around the East End would pack in thousands a century ago, with several shows a night, and visiting actors from as far afield as Eastern Europe and the US came to perform. The recent demise of actor Bernard Mendelovitch wrote one of the last chapters in the story of these theatres
May You Be Like Jerry and Like Joseph - Eulogy to Two of Fiddler on the Roof's Creators
By Daniel F. Levin
Jerry Bock, the beloved composer of “Fiddler on the Roof,” leaves us just 10 days after his collaborator, Joseph Stein, did, who wrote the book for “Fiddler,” - the work that somehow crossed over into the canon, succeeding not just as Jewish theater
Stage Left: The struggles of Clifford Odets
By John Lahr
On April 17th, to mark the centennial of the birth of the playwright Clifford Odets, Lincoln Center Theatre opened a new production of “Awake and Sing!,” Odets’s first full-length play and the one that made him a literary superstar in 1935, at the age of twenty-eight. In the years that followed, this magazine dubbed Odets “Revolution’s No. 1 Boy”; Time put his face on its cover; Cole Porter rhymed his name in song (twice); and Walter Winchell coined the word “Bravodets!” “Of all people, you C
The Jewish Home Beautiful
"The dramatic version of The Jewish Home Beautiful was originally presented ...in 1932, with Table Exhibits that appeared in the Women's League
Outlook in 1933. The narrative version of The Jewish Home Beautiful ... was presented at the National Convention of the Women's League at the
Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Atlantic City in May 1940.
Molly Picon:The Darling of the Yiddish Theatre
By Masha Leon
Alzheimer’s — an equal opportunity disease — also felled the beloved “darling of the Yiddish theater” Molly Picon. The American Jewish Historical Society’s exhibit “Pages from a Performing Life: The Scrapbooks of Molly Picon” currently at the Center for Jewish History, helps keep the memory alive of a theatrical force that thrilled generations of Jewish and non-Jewish fans around the world. I still find it hard to believe that the 5-foot tall, 100-pound Picon, who walked three miles a day, did 2
In the footsteps of Moishe Silberkasten
By Daniel Wagner
I still had some time that afternoon before my 11 pm flight back to Israel. I decided to visit the YIVO Institute on the West side, where I might possibly find some information regarding the Yiddish theater and its actors. There I asked about Moishe Silberkasten and after a while, the lady in charge brought a few files back. I could not believe my eyes: Moishe had played in the troupe of Maurice Schwartz; there were journal clips, articles, pictures of the troupe with Charlie Chaplin and Albert
Fighting for Zion - on Broadway
By Rafael Medoff
Fans of "Law & Order" and "Mission Impossible" know Steven Hill for his memorable performances of lead characters in those hit television shows.
And many of Hill's fans have read about his admirable success in maintaining Shabbat and halachic observance despite the pressures of life in Hollywood.
West Side Story: 50 years of glory
By Martin Samuel
The tale of the Jets and the Sharks, of star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony, has not only stayed as fresh and innovative a musical as when it was first staged 50 years ago, but its tale of gangs and lost youth still has a place for us today
Think you know 'The Jazz Singer'? You ain't heard nothin' yet!
By Pat Sierchio
On Oct. 6, 1927, audiences attending the premiere of "The Jazz Singer" at New York's Warner Theatre witnessed a revolution that gave voice to a medium that had lived in silence since its birth, more than 30 years before. With his double-barrel delivery of the improvised line, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You ain't heard nothin' yet. Wait a minute, I tell ya. You ain't heard nothin'!" Al Jolson fired the ad-lib heard around the world, signifying the death of the silent era and the birth of the
The Andrews Sisters' "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," Hit Parade in 1938
By William Ruhlmann
The Andrews Sisters were the most successful female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century in the U.S. One source lists 113 singles chart entries by the trio between 1938-1951, an average of more than eight per year. They boasted an exuberant, close-harmony style well-suited to cheery novelty songs, and their intricate vocal arrangements and rhythmic ability mirrored the sound of the swing bands that constituted their chief competition in their heyday. But, in a sense, they had no com
Jerome Robbins's genius defied artistic boundaries at Australian Ballet celebration
By Jo Roberts
His genius defied artistic boundaries and his award-winning choreography broke new ground. Jerome Robbins's troubled life ended 10 years ago, but his legacy continues to move, writes Jo Roberts.
Herman’s musical Milk and Honey opens a window on the cheery Zionism of the 1960s
By Alisa Solomon
In 2008, the modern state of Israel turns 60 years old. This essay kicks off Israel at 60, a year of stories related to that birthday.
Emma Goldman (1869-1940 ) : A Woman to Remember
By Linda Pehrson
I caught the last of six performances in the greater New York area. E.G. is the finest collaboration of the husband and wife team, Helene Williams and Leonard Lehrman I’ve ever experienced. Leonard told the audience in his introduction that this piece brought the two of them together. Helene auditioned for Emma Goldman and ended up with the part and the composer. It’s obviously a labor of love with the best music and the best acting I’ve seen and heard from both of them. Helene is Emma and Leona
When "The Jazz Singer" was released in 1927, it was thought of as a risky venture
Jolson, the outrageously popular entertainer from the early 20th century, is about as fresh and clean as Dracula's summer-rental coffin. All that mugging. The eye-rolling. The bad acting. Singing in black face (yikes!). The cheeseball melodramatics. This is what people lined up to see 80 years ago?
Lenny Bruce died for our sins
By Gary Kamiya
On Oct. 4, 1961, stand-up comic Lenny Bruce appeared at San Francisco's Jazz Workshop. Recalling the first gig he had played in the city four years earlier, at another North Beach joint called Ann's 440, he acted out an imaginary conversation between himself and his agent
Jewish Theatre in Poland : How it all started ?
The beginnings of Jewish theater are connected with folk and European traditions. During the Purim holiday, Jews would act out Biblical scenes in costume, known as the purimshpil. According to rabbinical tradition, Orthodox Jews were not allowed to participate in any other form of theater. Rabbis condemned taking part in the theater even as early as Talmudic times, when Judaism was resisting Hellenic culture.
NYPL to Honor Molly Picon with Summer Exhibition
From June 26, 2007 through September 22, 2007, the New York Library of Performing Arts (40 Lincoln Center Plaza) will present an exhibition honoring Yiddish theatre legend - and Milk and Honey star - Molly Picon. The exhibition will be held in the Library's Vincent Astor Gallery.
S. Ansky breathed new life into a shtetl folktale
By Eric Molinsky
In the early 1900's, Russian ethnographer S. Ansky ventured into shtetl territory, armed with a wax cylinder recording device and camera, to document a fading, if still vibrant, world. There he discovered the tale of the dybbuk, a wandering soul who can possess the body of a living being.
The Development of Israeli Theatre– a brief overview
By Shimon Levy
In comparison with West European theatre, Hebrew theatre is young: only three-quarters of a century separate the Moscow première of the first professional Hebrew production, on October 8, 1918, and any of over 50 current theater events that can be attended nightly in Tel Aviv,
Pavilion theatre and music hall around 100 years ago
The Pavilion stood at 193 Whitechapel Road from 1894, replacing two previous Pavilions on the same site that both succumbed to fire. Its heyday was in the early 20th Century, when it was so popular for music hall and pantomime it was known as the Drury Lane of the east. It also became home to Yiddish theatre and a cultural centre for Jewish immigrants.
The Jewish Expulsion from Spain and the Rise of National Socialism on the Hebrew Stage
By Na'ama Sheffi
The Jewish Expulsion from Spain and the Rise of National Socialism on the Hebrew Stage At the end of December 1938, a new play opened at Habimah Theater in Tel Aviv--a Hebrew translation from the German Die Marranen (The Marranos) that gave author Max Zweig, a Central European Jew who had recently immigrated to Palestine, his first introduction to local audiences. The production was a phenomenal success. Critics extolled the play, the directing, and the acting in what turned out to be one of t
Sophie Tucker (1884 - 1966)
Sophie Tucker, was born Sophia Abuza on 13 1884, in a farmhouse along the road her mother traveled as she emigrated from Russia. They landed at their U.S. destination and joined Sophie's father during an era when millions of Eastern Europeans, many of them Jewish families like the Abuzas, opted for immigration to America.
The turbulent career of the torch singer and political activist Libby Holman (1904 - 1971)
By Sam Boardman-Jacobs
We now rightly honour the American Jewish Women who fought and struggled side by side with black people for Civil Rights during the 1960s. But there was an earlier generation of American Jewish women, mostly now forgotten, or remembered for other achievements, who pitched into this battle at an earlier time. In the mid-1940s, young New York lawyer Bella Abzug opposed the death sentence against Willie McGee, wrongly accused of raping a white woman with whom he was having a consensual relationship
Family Fortune on Broadway Stage
By Alisa Solomon
After Fiddler and The Apple Tree, Harnick and Bock took on a different challenge—a musical about the Rothschilds
Six years after sweeping the Tonys with Fiddler on the Roof, the songwriting duo Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick brought to Broadway a family very different from Tevye's: the Rothschilds. The lavish show, which premiered at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in 1970 with a cast of 40 and a then-extravagant budget of $800,000, follows Mayer Rothschild and his five sons from 1772 to 1818 as they
2007 time of Theatre anniversary
By Robert Hurwitt
Something's coming, something good. Monday may be just any night, but it's the beginning of a year of significant milestones for many people, including the guy who wrote those lyrics about "tonight there will be no morning star." The year 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of "West Side Story." If the occasion was a career highlight for some leading Broadway luminaries -- composer Leonard Bernstein, director-conceiver Jerome Robbins, author Arthur Laurents -- it was a star-is-born ev
Four Pioneers with Yiddish accents
By Thomas Hischak
Of the many gifted and dazzling artists seen and heard in the documentary FROM SHTETL TO SWING, few were as beloved in their day as four pioneering Jewish performers who became mainstream stars: Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, Sophie Tucker, and Eddie Cantor. Although they might be classified as "ethnic" performers, they all found a wide audience in vaudeville, on Broadway, in nightclubs, on records, in the movies, and on radio. And, most remarkably, they did this without denying or hiding their ethnici
Grandfather’s stardom was glimpse into another world
By Dennis Wilson
While other mothers were putting their little ones to sleep with stories of princes and dragons, my mother would entertain me with stories of the Yiddish theater. At a very young age I learned about Second Avenue, The Cafי Royal, and the great names of the Yiddish theater: the Thomashefskys, the Adlers, the Bernardis, Maurice Schwartz, Molly Picon, Ida Kaminska, Moishe Oysher, and of course my grandfather Menasha Skulnik.
Love ‘Springtime for Hitler’? Then Here’s the CD for You
By Alex Williams
Jokes that compare Jews to cockroaches have left some viewers of Mr. Cohen’s farcical new film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” shifting uncomfortably in their seats. But probably few of those shocked by the movie realize that long before Mr. Cohen shed his Ali G persona for Borat’s ill-fitting suit — in fact, long before the 1929 stock market crash — Berlin, the songwriter behind “White Christmas” and “God Bless America,” was reeling off sa
Henry’s Court Jews : Concert highlights the key role Jewish musicians played in the Tudor court.
By George Robinson
The mystery began with a question about the Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s sonnets. It ends — well, not really — on the stage of the Miller Theatre at Columbia University on Nov. 4. In between is a tale of intrigue and scholarship worthy of a Dan Brown novel without the violence. And if the concert that results, “Jewish Musicians at the Tudor Court,” isn’t exactly a solution to the mystery, it will make for a very exciting musical evening all the same.
George M. Cohan : Yonkle Doodle Dandy
Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 biographical film about George M. Cohan, starring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf, Irene Manning, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp and Jeanne Cagney.
My Grandfather Sholem Aleichem
By Bel Kaufman
I leap over 85 years to my early childhood. My father had studied medicine in Berlin, where I was born in 1911, and on our return to Odessa practiced it in our two-story house on Rishelyevskaya Street, no. 57. I remember our large black iron gate, too heavy for me to push. I remember it well because Vasska, the janitor's boy, once crushed my fingers in it. Behind the gate was a courtyard, and upstairs a balcony with the scent of acacias from the tree above it.
The ABC Book for Studying Hebrew by August Strindberg
By Freddie Rokem
When Strindberg planned the writing of "The Father", he asked to
meet with the Chief Rabbi of Stockholm at the time. The Jewish
community in Stockholm wasn't large, numbering only in the thousands.
Strindberg wanted to know how the Jews manage with the halachic
rule that the child receives their identity by matriarchal lineage,
and not via the father, who has no role in this matter.
Shlomo Teshuva :The Man behind the Libyan-Jewish theatre in Israel
By Uri Egozi
The following article is a tribute to Mr. Shlomo Teshuva, of blessed memory (1917-2005). His theatre “career” began as an actor in the amateur Libyan-Jewish theater of Tripoli in the 1940’s, and continued as amateur actor and director of the Libyan-Jewish theater he set up in his free time, in Israel, from 1954 to 1998.
Americans rediscover a stage pioneer
By Ted Merwin
Odets, born to an immigrant Jewish family in Philadelphia in 1906, knew this from personal experience. He shot to fame in the 1930s on the basis of two fiery leftist scripts, "Waiting for Lefty" and "Awake and Sing!" The plays summed up the nation's restless, distraught mood during the Great Depression. Critics hailed him as the country's "most promising playwright" and the "proletarian Jesus." In 1938, he was even featured on the cover of Time magazine.
Waiting for Bessie
By Karen Hartman
Seven decades after Stella Adler originated the role, will Clifford Odets' Bronx matriarch be harder to digest, or easier to dismiss?
Clifford Odets is generally considered to be a great talent of his time, rather than for all times, and his works are not revived nearly so often as those of Tennessee Williams, Eugene O'Neill, or Arthur Miller. But this month, Lincoln Center Theater is restaging Odets' Awake And Sing!, at the Belasco, the Broadway house where it was originally produced in 1935.
Zangwill coined America's most enduring metaphor
By Chloe Veltman
British playwright Israel Zangwill coined America's most enduring metaphor as his reputation dissolved in controversy
On October 5, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt, the First Lady, and an entourage of dignitaries gathered at Washington. D.C.'s Columbia Theatre to catch The Melting Pot. Set in New York in the early 20th century, the play chronicled a tumultuous love affair between two Russian expats: Jewish composer David Quixano and Vera Revendal, an aristocratic ex-revolutionary. In a countr
Ansky, Pushkin's Nanny and the Revival Of Jewish Life in St. Petersburg
By David G. Roskies
The roomful of stunning photographs currently on display in Russia at the European University at St. Petersburg is dedicated to the theme of "Jewish Children." It is triply wondrous: first, on account of the European University itself, one of several funded by George Soros in the former Soviet empire; second, on account of the artistic quality of the photos taken by 20-year-old Samuel Yudovin, who was hired in 1911 by his uncle, Shloyme-Zanvl Rapoport — alias S. Ansky — as staff photographer of
A hard-nosed Utopian :Max Reinhardt
By Esther Slevogt
Berlin is suddenly remembering Max Reinhardt again. Although there is scarcely a theatre in the city which is not connected in some way with Reinhardt, his name has long been out of circulation. At most a ghostly image remains of this great man of theatre, who was forced to flee Germany in 1933. He is generally remembered as the director of the Deutsches Theater, which he became in 1905 and which brought him world fame. A hundred years later he has been rediscovered as a seminal figure but a lot
The Last Days of Mankind by Karl Kraus (1874-1936)
Written between 1915 and 1922, The Last Days of Mankind chronicles the development of the war through the daily and faithful quotation of “voices and rumors,” of street conversations, newspaper headlines, official speeches, and military reports. It is constructed as an assemblage of vignettes from the front, the city, the political headquarters, private homes, clinics, playgrounds, stores, and cafés. The repeated appearances of commentator, “the grumbler”, and that of a newsboy shouting the late
The Story of The Wolf Brothers
By Jens Huckeriede
The story of the once very popular "Gebrüder Wolf"started at the end of the 19th century in Hamburg. Hamburg´s secret anthem "An de Eck steiht´n Jung mit´n Tüdelband" also leads back to these entertainers. Today´s well known version of this song actually has it´s origin in the couplet "Een echt Hamborger Jung" written by Ludwig Wolf in May 1911, as Helmut Glagla points out in his book "Das plattdeutsche Liederbuch".
Letters 'caused rewrite of Fagin'
Charles Dickens' portrayal of one of his most famous villains may have been altered after he received letters accusing him of anti-Semitism. Eliza Davies, the wife of a Jewish banker, wrote to Dickens in 1863 complaining of the "vile prejudice against the despised Hebrew". It is thought the last chapter of Oliver Twist may have been revised in 1867 to show Fagin in a better light. The letters are held at University College London's (UCL) library. 'General prejudice'
Oliver Twist was serialised
S.Ansky (1863-1920) The great builder of modern Jewish culture.
Best known for his play The Dybbuk, the famous Yiddish writer and dramatist S. Ansky (Shloyme-Zanvl Rappoport; 1863-1920) wore many other hats; he was a poet, socialist activist, emergency aid worker, and ethnographer. Through the combination of these many and varied capacities he earned his reputation as a great builder of modern Jewish culture.
Ansky was born during the late stages of the Jewish enlightenment (Haskalah), and at the beginning of the wave of virulent anti-semitism and pogroms t
The Greek-Jewish Theater in Judeo-Spanish (1880-1940 )
By Yitzchak Kerem
The Greek-Jewish theater in Judeo-Spanish was the product of a combined expression of traditional Sephardic culture and of European education and modernization. It began in Thessaloniki in the 1880s and had become a popular form of entertainment in that city by the beginning of the twentieth century. In later decades the members of Zionist and socialist movements in Thessaloniki produced plays that reflected their political platforms. The history of the Greek-Jewish theater shows the transformat
Fanny Brice (1891–1951) Brilliant Clown, Consummate Professional, Popular Entertainer
By Barbara W. Grossman
One of America's great clowns, Fanny Brice built her career on a Yiddish accent and a flair for zany parody. In an era when ethnic comedy was the norm, she delighted audiences for more than forty years and won a following in almost every branch of American show business. During the fourth decade of her professional life, she became precocious radio brat "Baby Snooks," and that is the role for which she is most often remembered. Yet "Snooks" was only one of Brice's many inimitable characters in
Jewish musical influence explored :"From Shtetl to Swing,"
By Robert Lloyd
"From Shtetl to Swing," which airs tonight as part of the PBS series "Great Performances," is a short film about the Jewish influence on American popular music and its early and continuing conversation with jazz and African-American culture. It is a modest work but quite moving in its portrayal of a lost time, world and culture. By 1924, there were 2.5 million Jews in New York City, where a younger, secularized generation looked to popular culture for inspiration and to show business as an escap
The Magnificent Menasha Skulnick (1892 - 1970)
Born in Warsaw, Menasha ran away to join a circus when he was ten. In Philadelphia in 1913, he joined a Yiddish stock company and began getting comic parts. It happened by accident. In one play he was supposed to stand up to his girlfriend's father -- but the man was so tall and he so short (5'4"), audiences laughed. Audiences laughed at his name too, but he said, "Menasha is my right name. Long before I ever heard of Menasha, Wisconsin, I was Menasha Skulnik. My name comes out of the Bible. The
Dorothy Fields On the Sunny Side of the Street
By Will Friedwald
One reason there's been so much celebrating is that there's so much of her to go around. There were really three Dorothy Fieldses: Hollywood, Broadway, and jazz. Although she wrote for films as early as 1929, the mid-1930s are most conveniently described as her Hollywood period. She worked frequently with Jerome Kern (the Kern songs heard most often today are the ones with her lyrics: "I Won't Dance," "The Way You Look Tonight," "A Fine Romance"). Even her major Broadway show of the era, the 193
Forging a hero for a Jewish stage: Goldfadn's Bar Kokhba
By Seth L. Wolitz
When Abraham Goldfadn's "musical melodrama," Bar Kokhba, reached the boards on May 5, 1883 in Odessa, the Jewish world in Russia faced the consequences of the assassination of Alexander II in 188l, the May Laws of 1882, and the series of pogroms which had coursed throughout Southern Russia for the previous two years. (1) The mood of the Regime had changed from cautious progress to atavistic reaction. Tensions in the Empire were real. By the Ukase of September 14, 1883 barring Yiddish theater in
Late Mr. George Elias member of Jewish drama in Iraq
By Shmuel Moreh
The Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq in Israel. and the Academic Committee of the Babylonian Heritage Center in Or-Yehuda, announce with sorrow the untimely passing away of the philanthropist, the Late Mr. George Elias, the eminent community leader and supporter of educational, cultural, religious and medical centers in Israel and abroad. Mr. Elias passed away on 4th March 2005 in Hale, Cheshire near Manchester after being for a long time a resident of Hertzilia Pituah in Israel. Mr. El
Ethel (Agnes Zimmerman )Merman (1908 -1984 ) ,First Lady of the musical comedy stage sings again
By Steve Parks
Written for a 1992 Off-Broadway run by McKenzie and director Christopher Powich, this is more than a revue. There's enough life story to support the conceit that Ethel is pitching a biopic to a movie producer in the house.
Hollywood never appreciated her, which she demonstrates by singing a wild-animal song that wound up on the forgotten film's cutting-room floor.
My Glorious Brothers: Community Theatre and the Shaping of Collective Identity
By Shula Keshet
The production of “My Glorious Brothers” took place at Kibbutz Givat Brenner as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations. The drama was an adapted version of a novel, written by Jewish-American writer Howard Fast, whose plot is based on the tale of the Maccabbees, the story of the Jewish revolt against the Greek Empire in the year 166 BC.
The performance was directed and produced by Shulamit Bat-Dori, a pupil and follower of Reinhardt and Piscator. An “ancient” village was actually constructed
The soul breath of Kol Nidre
By Corinna Da Fonseca-Wollehiem
When Reb Leizer of Czenstochow walked out of the gates of Buchenwald, he set out to find his youngest son. In the last moments of deportation he had thrust the child into the arms of gentiles - perhaps he was still alive. In his old town, he was told to try the monasteries. Not surprisingly, none of them admitted to sheltering any Jewish children Reb Leizer bought an organ and added one melody to the stock of marketplace ditties: Kol Nidre
Wandering Into a World Of Vagabonds and Kings :Jacob Adler Recalls His Early Days in the Theater
By Jacob Adler
Jacob Adler, one of the leading lights of the Yiddish stage, first published his memoirs as a series in the newspaper Die Varheit between 1916 and 1925. They have been translated into English and will be published by Knopf next month. The following is an excerpt from "Jacob Adler:A Life on the Stage," translated and edited by his granddaughter Lulla Rosenfeld.
Young, unknown actor named Marlon Brando in Ben Hecht's "A Flag is Born" on 1946 new Broadway production
On September 4, 1946, renowned actors Paul Muni and Celia Adler and a young, unknown actor named Marlon Brando premiered a new Broadway production, "A Flag is Born." Written by Hollywood’s most successful screenwriter, Ben Hecht, directed by Luther Adler and with music by Kurt Weill, the blatantly propagandistic play helped mobilize American opinion for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. "A Flag is Born" played in six North American cities and raised more than $400,000 for the ALFP, the largest blo
How Houdini's escape trick worked? ( "Harry Houdini " Ehrich Weiss 1874-1926 )
Appleton, Wisconsin - The secret of Harry Houdini's signature "Metamorphosis" escape trick is out of the bag.
A new exhibit, "AKA Houdini", opened on Wednesday at the Outagamie Museum, revealing how the Hungarian magician, handcuffed inside a sack and locked in a trunk, somehow managed to switch places with an assistant on the outside. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW HOUDINI DID IT, DON'T READ THE THIS ARTICLE.....
Rachel (Élisabeth Rachel Félix ) 1821– 1858 a life in the theatre
After entering the Comédie-Française at 17, Rachel played a major part in the renaissance of French classical tragedy during the Romantic era. With her voice and stagecraft she breathed new life into the heroines of Corneille and Racine. The passions she expressed on stage deeply moved theatregoers from all walks of life and won her international renown and the adulation of monarchs, high society and the general public alike. Numerous artists and authors of the Romantic period left us testaments
Salamone de Rossi (1570-1630 )leading Jewish composer and pioneer
By Joshua Jacobson
Salamone de Rossi (Heb. Shlomo Min-ha-Adummim) became the leading Jewish composer of the early Baroque period, and a court musician of the Gonzaga rulers of Mantua. He is considered the pioneer of new baroque forms which include the trio sonata and suite. As a Jewish musician, his lasting contribution is his Ha-Shirim Asher li-Shlomo (1622), 33 settings for three to eight voices of Hebrew texts, comprising psalms, hymns, and other religious poems for festive synagogue services. The following are
Passion's predecessor
By Edna Nahshon
"The Passion" opened on March 4, 1879, at San Francisco's Grand Opera House, the city's largest. It was staged by the young David Belasco, a Sephardic Jew who some years later would become a legendary figure on Broadway, famous as the master of elaborate scenic displays. "The Passion" was visually spectacular by all accounts. Starring matinee idol James O'Neill (father of playwright Eugene) in the role of Christ, it had an enormous cast with hundreds of extras, including a hundred mothers with t
Tales Of The Warner Brothers
By Stephen Schochet
Well after The Jazz Singer's success, Jack remained sensitive to religious matters. When he hired a stage actor named Jules Garfield, he told him, "Ok, we have to change your name. How about James Garfield?" "Mr. Warner, I don't want to change my name. Anyhow James Garfield was a President. Why don't you change my name to Abraham Lincoln?" "Forget it Garfield, Abraham's too Jewish. We're not going to give the wrong impression." After much arguing they compromised with John Garfield.
A sanctuary out of the Exodus
By Marshall Weiss
Among the 2,500 extras DeMille brought with him for three weeks of filming were 250 Orthodox Jews from Los Angeles. Most of them, immigrants from Eastern Europe, didn't speak English. Yet for them, the silent "Ten Commandments" was more than a movie. Playing the roles of their ancestors in the Exodus was emotional for them and the others on the set; during those moments, the American dream and their heritage converged....
In 1983 filmmaker Peter Brosnan rediscovered "DeMille's Lost City."...
The Jewess - a Jewish opera
By Philip Kennicott
Even though it was written by a Jewish composer, on a Jewish subject, it's a stretch to call "La Juive," or "The Jewess," a Jewish opera. The story, by the industrious and overexposed librettist Eugene Scribe, indulges anti-Semitic stereotypes even as it tells a story ultimately sympathetic to its Jewish characters. Unknown to Rachel, the Jewess, she is actually the daughter of a powerful Catholic cleric, Cardinal Brogni. Eleazar, who has been persecuted by Brogni, is raising Rachel as .......
Sholem Asch's Yiddish drama God of Vengeance( 1907 )
By June D. Bell
Since 1907, when European audiences attended the first performances of Sholem Asch's Yiddish drama "God of Vengeance." The play proved so potent when it was translated into English and performed on Broadway in 1923 that the entire cast was arrested on obscenity charges. Mira Hirsch, the 33-year-old founder and artistic director of the Atlanta-based Jewish Theatre of the South, says what appealed to her about the play was Asch's frankness in tackling societal taboos as well as his mixing of Jewis
Jewish Theatre in Iraq
By Prof. S. Moreh
With a war in Iraq currently impending (or not?), it’s nice to remember other times — the years when professional, semi-professional, and amateur Jewish theatre companies flourished in Iraq and in the rest of the Arab world. Israel Prize laureate Prof. Shmuel Moreh, a member of our editorial board, has written a fascinating study on this subject.

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