Thomashefsky (1868-1939), pictured here with actress
Bertha Gersten, was a Ukrainian-born actor who became one
of the biggest stars in Yiddish theatre; born in Tarashcha,
a shtetl near Kiev, Ukraine, he emigrated to the U.S. at
the age of 12 in 1991. A year later, barely a teenager, he
was largely responsible for the first performance of
Yiddish theatre in New York City and has been credited as
the pioneer of Borsch Belt entertainment.
It is said
that his first performance was as a female impersonator in
the Manhattan Lyceum...Eventually he became an
accomplished actor in musical comedies, farce and romantic
pieces, but his great love was for the classics.
See a group
photo of Thomashefsky with Chicago's Gartner's Theatrical
Company in 1925 by clicking