Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Louis Freiman
(Leyzer Genyuk)


F. was born in 1892 in Ostropolye, Volin Gubernia, Russia. His father was a contractor. He learned in cheders, a yeshiva, and in a municipal school in Alt-Konstantin, and he also sang with a cantor.

In 1907 he was brought by a cousin to St. Louis, America, where he took his mother's family name. Here, in the evening, he delivered newspapers, and in composed short skits for the local Yiddish newspaper, "Di idishe prese." Feeling a desire for the stage, he founded a Yiddish dramatic association for which he also wrote two one-acters, which were performed, thereof "Der Roiter Shabbes," built on treyengelshrfh in New York, which arrived on Shabbes.

In 1911 he arrived in Chicago and was engaged in Philip Weisenfreund's Yiddish vaudeville, where he played three seasons and also wrote vaudeville, which was then performed there. During the same time he also wrote several plays, of which "Der blinder moler" was staged in the Folks Theatre by Joseph Kessler. The play was later staged in Europe, especially in Warsaw, and was so successful that they had published the play in 1927 without the knowledge of the author: "Der blinder moler (The Blind Painter?)," a melodrama in three acts with an epilogue by A. Freiman, Ferkauf: Shapiro Bookstore.

Also Adolf Gertner at the same time put on in his theatre F.'s play "Tsirl mirel," which Bessie Thomashefsky had later played across America under the name "Tsirl mirl fun galitsye."


In 1919 he arrived in new York with the view to dedicate himself to playwriting, but surmising the difficulties of being taken into the Yiddish Actors' Union, he decided to give himself exclusively to writing plays.

On 12 September 1919 there was staged in the Lyric Theatre his play "Oygn fun a shlang" in three acts with a prologue and epilogue.

On 8 October 1919 in the Lyric Theatre there was staged by B. Wilensky "Tsipke di almone (Tsipke the Widow?) in four acts by [S. H.] Cohen and Freiman. "The play on 19 April 1924, under the name "Tsipke," libretto by Freiman and Cohen, music by Rumshinsky, was staged by Jacob Kalich with Molly Picon in the title role in Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre, and was one of the successful plays in Yiddish operetta repertoire, and later it was performed across the world by all the Yiddish soubrettes.

The play without the name of the authors and without their knowledge, there was published in the Sh. Goldfarb Publishing House, Warsaw, 1925, 53 pp., 16, under the name "Tsipke fayer, a comedy in four acts with singing, responded by Reuben Mandelbaum (Marsalov)."

On 22 September 1920 in the Lyric Theatre there was staged F.'s play in three acts "Serke bolshevik" Iwith Betty Frank in the title role), and with her in the title role staged on 4 March 1927 in the National Theatre under the name "Serkele kozak," a musical comedy, music by Benjamin Blank.

In the 1920 season F. was engaged as an actor and assistant regisseur in Boston with Julius Nathanson, 1921 in the Lyric Theatre, and 1922 in Newark with Bernard Elving.

On 8 October 1920 in Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre, there was staged "A shvesters opfer (A Sister's Sacrifice), a lebensbild by Anshel Schorr, subject from Freiman, music by Rumshinsky, with the participation of Goldinburg and Satz."

In 1920 in Boston there was staged by Julius Nathanson F.'s musical comedy, "Velvele khvat," music by Peretz Sandler. The same play was staged in the Lenox Theatre in Harlem< New York, on 17 January 1922, for a Jacob Jacobs evening-of-honor, under the name "Velvele lets."

But beginning to draw attention to himself as a playwright, F. first on 15 October 1922, there was staged F.'s in Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre F.'s drama "Shtarker fun libe (Stronger Than Love)" (music by Rumshinsky) with Jennie Valiere in the main role. In 1929 the play was staged with Dora Weissman in the main role in Poland and also by Yetta Block in Paris.

On 9 February 1923 in the same theatre there was staged by Michalesko F.'s operetta, "Di goldene kale," music by Rumshinsky, which was later staged across the entire Yiddish theatrical world, then in 1929, under the name "Studentn libe (Student Love)," in Argentina and in 1920 by Waxman in London.

In 1923 in Philadelphia's Arch Street Theatre there was staged F.'s play, "Barukh kovel" [not oysgeshlosen it is the later operetta "Zise libe (Sweet Love)."]

On 9 November 1923 in Lillian's Lyric Theatre, there was staged by Maurice Krohner F.'s "In hoyz vu men veynt un men lakht," in four acts.

In September 1924 in the Parkway Theatre there was staged "Zi un zayn vayb (She and His Wife?)" by Israel Rosenberg and Louis Freiman, which in March 1930 was revived with Lucy and Misha German in the main roles (music by Sholom Secunda.) [editor's note: the September production was staged on the 20th of September 1934, not in 1924, as stated previously.]

On 27 September 1924 in the Liberty Theatre there was staged by Michalesko F.'s operetta in three acts, lyrics by Louis Gilrod, music by Alexander Olshanetsky, "Zise libe (Sweet Love)," which was then staged by Michalesko in others across the Yiddish theatre world. In 1928 the play was staged by Mischa Appelbaum in Paris. In 1929 the play, under the name "Motke koval," was staged in Argentina, and in the 1932-3 season the Arch Street Theatre opened with the same play under the name, "Motkes khasene (Motke's Wedding)."

On 25 December 1924 there was staged with Jacob Silbert in the Liberty Theatre F.'s lebensbild, "Shklafn fun libe (Slaves of Love?)"

In 1924 there was also staged in the Hopkinson Theatre "Fargesene kinder (Forgotten Children)," by Freiman and Kalmanowitz.

On 29 January 1925 there was staged by Michalesko in the Liberty Theatre "Studentn libe (Student Love), a musical production in three acts by L. Freiman, lyrics by Joseph Tanzman, music by Olshanetsky and Brody," which was later staged by Michalesko in many countries.

On 13 February 1925 in Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre there was staged "Der eyntsiker veg (The Only Way)," by Jacob Kalich, a lebensbild by L. Freiman and S. Wolf, music by Rumshinsky, with Jennie Valiere (as "Nettie"), and Muni Weisenfreund. On 12 September 1931 the same play was played in the Amphion Theatre under the name, "Di froy vos shveygt (The Woman Who Remained Silent?)."

On 13 November 1925 there was staged with Aaron Lebedeff in the National Theatre F.'s operetta in two acts, "Models fun libe (Models of Love)," music by Peretz Sandler.

On 21 November 1925 in the Lenox Theatre there was staged by Nathan Goldberg F.'s comedy-drama "Vilde libe (Wild Love)," music by A. Olshanetsky, with [Mathilda] St. Clair in the main role. The same play was staged earlier in Chicago in the Folks Theatre by Joseph Kessler, under the name "Dos toyrah'le ."

On 11 December 1925 Samuel Goldinburg staged F.'s operetta "Kinder libe (Childrens' Love?)" at the Amphion Theatre, music by Joseph Brody, with Goldinburg and Celia Adler in the main roles. The same play on 22 January 1926 was staged in the Lenox theatre by Samuel Rosenstein as "Yankele tsigayner" by Louis Freiman, lyrics by Joseph Tanzman, music by Joseph Brody. In the play Rosa Karp participated. The same play was staged with Bella Bellarina under the name "Sonya" on 3 January 1928 in the Hopkinson Theatre, and in a strongly adapted form, there was staged during the 1934-5 season in the Folks Theatre "Fishl der gerotener, an operetta by L Freiman, lyrics by Isidore Lillian, music by Joseph Rumshinsky" (with Menasha Skulnik in the title role, also Ola Lilith, Pesach'ke Burstein, Irving Grossman, Diana Goldberg et al.), and was later staged by Skulnik where he guest-starred.

On 19 February 1926 there was staged by Ludwig Satz in the Irving Place Theatre, with Satz in the main role, "Fremde kleyder (Strange Clothes?), a musical comedy in three acts by L Freiman, lyrics and music by Ludwig Satz and A. Lubin." Due to Satz's illness, the author [Louis Freiman] took over Satz's role for four weeks.

On 22 September 1926 in the Liberty Theatre, there was staged by Aaron Lebedeff, "Siomka vert a khosn (Simoka Becomes a Groom), libretto by L. Freiman, music by Peretz Sandler." The same play under the name "Der odesser khosn (The Bridegroom from Odessa)," with music by Sholom Secunda, on 28 November 1928 was staged by Michalesko in the Rolland Theatre.

On 4 February 1927 in Gabel's People's Theatre there was staged by Max Gabel his adaptation of F.'s melodrama in four acts, "Ir groyser sud (Her Great Secret)," with Jennie Goldstein and Max Gabel in the main roles.

In September 1927 Michalesko staged in Chicago's Palace Theatre "Zayn farshpilte velt (His Lost World), a melodrama by L. Freiman and S Wolf, music by Sholom Secunda, which was staged in the Rolland Theatre on 9 November.

On 27 September 1927 there was staged in the Public Theatre by Ludwig Satz and Samuel Rosenstein, "Dem zaydens gelibte (Grandpa's Sweetheart), libretto by L. Freiman, music by Herman Wohl."

On 25 September 1928 in the Rolland Theatre there was staged by Michalesko, "Dos lid fun libe (The Song of Love), by Louis Freiman, lyrics by H. Gudelman, music by Sholom Secunda."

On 21 December 1928 Michal Michalesko staged "Senorita" in the Rolland Theatre, a musical lustspiel [comedy] by Louis Freiman, music by Sholom Secunda. The play was later staged by Michalesko across many Yiddish theatres in the world.

In May 1929 in the Teatro Excelsior in Buenos Aires, there was staged F.'s play, "Tseshterte sonayim (Disturbed Conditions?)."

On 14 October 1929 in the Second Avenue Theatre there was staged by Jacob Kalich, F.'s operetta "Dos radio meydl (The Radio Girl, lyrics by I. Lillian, music by Joseph Rumshinsky.")

On 15 November 1929 in the Prospect Theatre there was staged by Nathan Goldberg F.'s play, "Di eybike kale (The Eternal Bride)," music by P. Laskowsky. The play under the name "A khasene in moshav zekenim (A Wedding in an Old-Age Home)" in May 1936 was staged by Irving Grossman during his guest-appearance in Argentina.

On 22 November 1929 in the Liberty Theatre there was staged F.'s play, "A meydl on a nomen (A Girl Without a Name?)"

In September 1920 [1930?] there was staged by Julius Nathanson in the Lawndale Theatre in Chicago F.'s operetta "Freylekhe teg (Happy Days)"

In [23] September 1930 through Michal Michalesko there was staged in the Prospect Theatre F.'s operetta, "Der letster tants (The Last Dance)," which was later staged by him in the Yiddish theatres across the world, and in 1960 by Benzion Witler in the land of Israel.

On 23 September 1930 in the Rolland Theatre there was staged "Zise momentn (Sweet Moments), an operetta in three acts by William Siegel and L. Freiman, music by Sh. Secunda, staged by Michal Michalesko," who later staged the play across the theatres where he guest-starred.

In April 1931 in the Teatro Nuevo of Buenos Aires there was staged F.'s operetta "Parizer libe (Parisian Love)."

On 13 September 1931 in Philadelphia's Arch Street Theatre there was staged F's play, "Shtif-shvester (Stepsister)" with Dora Weissman, and on 21 September 1931 the play was staged in the Rolland Theatre with Jennie Goldstein.

For the 1931-1932 season, the Public Theatre opened in September 1931 with F.'s operetta, "Dray farlibte (Three Loves)" (with Lucy Levin and Michal Michalesko). The subject was later used for the film, "Dem khazns zundl (The Cantor's Son)" with Moishe Oysher.

On [25] December 1931 there was William Schwartz starring in the Metropolitan Theatre in Newark in F.'s operetta, "Der vilner khazn (The Vilna Cantor), music by Sholom Secunda."

In May 1932 the Adler family (Sarah, Stella, Luther, Frances), along with Joseph Schoengold, et al, staged in Chicago F's play, "Eygene sonim."  The play then was staged by them across the American province and, in New York, in the Hopkinson Theatre. A year later the play was staged by Chaim Tauber in London, England.


Sh. E.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. II, p. 281.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 3269.

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