Yiddish Theater

From Yiddish Melodrama To American Comedy

Yiddish melodrama popped up last week, just yards from the elevated tracks of the 7 train in Queens, at a theater so discreet its name is Secret. Target Margin Theater there presented Allen Lewis Rickman’s enormously enjoyable translation of Isadore Zolotarevsky’s “Gelt, Libe, un Shande” – “Money, Love, and Shame.” Once, perhaps, a play with both pain and laughter, the passage of time has rendered it pure comedy.

Samantha Maurice as Cecilia and Yelena Shmulenson as Sonia in "Money, Love, and Shame!" Erik Carter

Second Avenue Redux

Michael Tilson Thomas remembers his grandparents, the Thomashevskys, the first family of Yiddish theater.

05/15/2012
Special to the Jewish Week

The story of Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky is a classic American success narrative. Although they were born only a few miles apart in “the middle of a Ukrainian nowhere,” as their grandson Michael Tilson Thomas puts it, they met in Baltimore when he was performing with a traveling Yiddish theater troupe and she was a star-struck girl working in a tobacco factory. They went on to fame and acclaim, stars of the Yiddish theater from the late-19th Century until the Depression.

Judy Blazer as Bessie and Shuler Hensley as Boris Thomashevsky in new DVD, top. Right, Blazer and Eugene Brancoveanu.

‘Have A Good Laugh, Refresh Your Memory’

10/12/2010

His work spans the history of entertainment in modern America. Fyvush Finkel, one of the last performers from the heyday of the Yiddish theater, opens this weekend at the Folksbiene in “Fyvush Finkel Live!,” a nostalgic recap of his illustrious career on both stage and screen. Finkel, who turned 88 last weekend, will be joined by his two sons, pianist Elliot and xylophonist virtuoso Ian, along with veteran performers Merwyn Goldsmith and June Gable, in a revue that showcases the talents of one of the country’s most versatile and durable Jewish performers.

Fyvush Finkel, 88, stars in a revue about his life in Jewish theater.
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