A Tale of Two Museums
Ester Rachel Kaminska Theater Museum Collection

Yiddish Theater Takes Root in America, 1883

photo general Box92174.jpg

Description

Thomashefsky (center) in Justice (Di gerekhtikayt)
A "Magic Lantern" image of a young Boris Thomashefsky

Title

A "Magic Lantern" image of a young Boris Thomashefsky

Title

Yiddish Theater Takes Root in America, 1883

Description

Although the America Yiddish theater would not gather institutional momentum unitl the late 1880s, Boris Thomashefsky (1866-1939) is rightly credited with spearheading the first Yiddish theatrical productions in the United States. Thomashefsky had not participated in the Yiddish theater before he left Russia in 1881. He had, however, trained as a synagogue choristser in the famous Berdichev choir of Cantor Nisn Belzer. Once in New York, on hearing about the Yiddish theater through word of mouth and letters, Thomashefsky, together with some friends, put on a rendition of Avrom Godfaden's The Sorceress in 1883. By the turn of the century, Thomashefsky, a poor Jewish immigrant to New York City off the boat in 1881, had become a legendary American-Yiddish matinee idol.

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Citation

“Yiddish Theater Takes Root in America, 1883,” YIVO Online Exhibitions, accessed June 22, 2021, https://ataleoftwomuseums.yivo.org/items/show/2942.
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