Around 1895 G.
wrote his drama in four acts [according to B.
Gorin -- taken from English] "Der zee-kenig"
(staged in Turin Hall, New York, on 4th Street).
A year later G. composed his drama "Tate, mames
tsores" [based on a fact in the family of Itshe
Sokolor in Galicia], and he then joined, already
as a professional actor, the troupe of
Philadelphia's Third End Green Street Theatre,
where the play (music by Zalmen Yarikhovski) was
staged with the following personnel:
"Itshe Sokolor" -- Aba Shoengold, "His Wife" --
Susie Kestin, "Avraham" -- Sam Kestin, "Mendele"
-- Sigmund Feiman, "Thomas" -- Joseph Kessler, "Tefelik"
-- Max Gabel, "Breindele" -- Liza Einhorn, "Henele"
-- Dina Feinman, "Moshe Flink" -- Karl Shramek,
"Devorah" -- Jennie Atlas, "A Diner" -- Simon.
This play in its time was one of the popular
plays in the repertoire of Yiddish theatre in
the entire world. After a second staging by the
author in Cleveland with completely new
personnel, the play was staged in New York in
the People's Theatre through Boris Thomashefsky
under the title "Tate mames tsores, oder, Der
yidisher soldat", with music by Yudel Belzer and
Zygmunt Mogulesko, who performed in the role of
In Europe, the play
was staged for the first time in Gimpel's
Lemberg Yiddish theatre through Moshe Richter,
who had brought the play to America.
The same play also
was published in print without the knowledge and
control of the author [Tate mames tsores, a
lebensbild in four acts from Gabel, music from
Mogulesko, Padgurzhe srs'z , published by
Amkroyt and Friend, bookstore in Przemyśl. 39
After acting for a
year in Philadelphia, G. acted for a year in
Cleveland's Perry Theatre [manager Harry
Bernstein), where he wrote the folks-shtik in
four acts "Kossut Lajos", which was staged there
with the following personnel:
"Kossut" -- Sam
Shneyer, "General Gergei" -- Max Gabel, "Peterfi"
--Isaac Ashkenazy, "Louisa" -- Fannie Reinhardt,
"Mishka" -- Jacob Frank, "Count Tafi" --
Greenberg, "Leibush Burke" -- Zanvil Shenkman, "Freide"
-- Chana Frank, "Prantz" -- Betty Frank,
"Theodore" -- Avraham Frank.
Due to the fact that
Kossut was the national hero of Hungary, on whom
the life history was built into the play, he
passed away in Cleveland. Because of this in
Cleveland there was a great colony of Hungarian
Jews, and the play had a great success and then
played across all the Yiddish theatres in
America. At the same time there also was staged
in Cleveland G.'s free adaptation of Ferdinand
Bonn's comedy "Sherlock Holmes".
In the span of his
playing in Cleveland, G. had published in the
local newspaper "Di idishe velt" articles about
theatre, images of New York life, and a series
of articles about Kossut.
From Cleveland G.
went over to Philadelphia, where he acted for
two years under the direction of Yarikhovski and
Rosenberg, and there he they staged his plays,
"Dos falshe vayb", a drama in four acts, and
"Dos yidishe harts", or, "Di tener fun kol nidre",
a drama in four acts, both with music by
Now G. turned to
Cleveland in the Duke Theatre, where he used a
local strike as a theme for his play, "The
Prince and Biderman Strike", including in the
staging of the mass scenes the real strikers of
that firm. Here he also composed and directed:
"Abraham's Lincoln", a drama in four acts, and
translated "Der tayvl" by Franz Molnar, "Di
heymat" (Magda) by Hermann Sudermann, and
"Trilby" by Gregory Gee.
After touring for a
season with a troupe in the province, where
there was staged G.'s time-piece "The
Destruction of Russia" and "The Destruction of
the Federal Bank", G. joined the New York's
People's Music Hall (managers Lipshitz and
Shmukler), where he acted for four years' time
in one-act sketches, together with Sam Kastin,
Clara Young, Sigmund and Rivka WEintraub, Oskar
Solomonesko, Joseph Groper and Minnie Berlin.
Here N. began to write one-act sketches, which
were almost all built in day events or in
newspaper notices. The popular one-acters were:
"Rayzele", "Der tate fun der geto", "Di
aristokratishe mkhh", "Khasene prezenter", "Der
bel-tuvhnik", "Der griner plimenik", "Verdzhinus
in a tenement-hoyz".
Then G. left to
rebuilt the church at 8 Forsythe Street as a
theatre and opened there together with Yoshe
Louis' (?) "Gabel's Star Theatre", where he
acted for a year's time and staged a range of
his new one-acters and his play "Hillel hzkn", a
drama in four acts, "Dos goldene kalb", and the
tsayt-bild "The Destruction of San Francisco".
The theatre, however, was closed because the
city managers took the building in order to
build the Williamsburg Bank. G. then went over
to Boys' (?) Vaudeville House, where he wrote
and staged his new one-acters (all together 92).
From the last were especially popular: "Dray
minut toyt", published as a comedy in one act,
adapted by the artist Kestin, publisher S.
Yakubson and M. Goldberg, Warsaw 1926, 16 pp.,
16° [without the knowledge of Kustin, who also
denied that he had the comedy adapted], "Ven
froyen veinen", "The Union Man", "A tuvah fun a
bel-habit", "Der roplgenger".
A year later G.
acted for a season in Winnipeg, where he staged
his comedy, "Sheine froyen", music by
Rumshinsky, and then joined one season with Aged
in vaudeville (New York), where he staged his
tsayt-bild, "The Destruction of Italy". Then G.
joined the Third Street Theatre (manager David
Batelston), where he staged the following plays:
"A nakht in tsarnland", a drama in three acts, "Kol
shofar", a melodrama that was played for
forty-four weeks ("Avraham" -- Gabel, "Tootsie"
-- Jennie Goldstein), "Amerike ganev", a
comedy-drama in four acts, "Grigory Gershuny", a
tsayt-bild, "Dem prezidents tokhter", a comedy,
"Farkoyfte neshamus", a drama [Gorin remarks
that it is an adaptation of Potapenko's "Dva
pokolienya", which Gabel denied Arnstein. This
play then was staged in the People's Theatre
through Schildkraut, who performed in the main
role], "Di yidishe tokhter", a drama in thre
acts, "Moyer, heyvud un petebon", a tsayt-bild,
"Di revolutsion in portugal", a tsayt-bild, "Der
mentsh fun himl", a melodrama in four acts,
"When the East Side Sleeps", a comedy-drama, "Meydlekh",
a comedy in four acts, "Foter napon", a
tsayt-bild, "Di froy fun di hoykhe fenster" (a
comedy taken from Moliere's "George Danden"),
and "The Cripple", (adaptation of the English
play 'Di tsvey yetoymim"). In the third and
fourth seasons, G. became a partner of the
tehatre, until he took over the Comedy Theatre
on Suffolk Street, which he called "Gabel's
Comedy Theatre". Here G. staged his plays: "Di
modal prediker", a melodrama in four acts, and
"Di shtot-ganevim", a melodrama, and the
translation of James O'Neill's "Monto Cristo".
Almost at the end of the season, the theatre was
closed by the fire department.
Now G. devoted
himself almost exclusively to the melodrama,
joining the Brooklyn Gold Theatre, where G.
staged there his melodrama, "Nokh 16 yor", the
melodrama "A meydls kholem", "Der ytsr-hre", a
drama in four acts, and "Der nar un di hkhmim"
(adopted from Ludwig Fuldo's comedy "Der
dumfkopf"). Then G. joined Brooklyn's "Lyric"
Theatre (managers Simkowitz and Nathan
Goldberg), and staged there his plays: "Der dank
fun kinder", "Kinder-yorn", a drama (idea taken
from Ibsen's "Vilde katshke"), "Hershl
Ostropoler", "Columbus" (only performed one
time), and "Der shtiler mord", a melodrama. From
then G. went over for a short time to the Grand
Music Hall (managers Emanuel and L. Gilrod), and
staged there his Lebensbild in four acts, "Blinde
mener", or, ""Dos lebn oyf sekond avenyu". Later
N. toured across the province for a season's
time, and in the summer he was director of the
People's Theatre, where he staged "Dos
gasn-meydl" (subject taken from Yushkevich's
drama "In shtot"). In this same play, Sara Adler
participated, along with Jennie Goldstein, Anna
Appel, Misha German, Boris Rosenthal, Jacob
Wexler, Yetta Schorr and Avraham Fishkind. In
all the plays, G. acted in the main male roles
and was especially popular as the "Yid mit di
mshvekes" in "Dos gasn-meydl", which was also at
times named for the main male role.
After acting for a
season in Baltimore in the Princess Theatre
(manager Sam Rose), where G. staged is historic
drama, "Kenig un rabbi", with music by Rose, G.
returned to New York and took over the Lipzin
Theatre, which he then called "Gabel's Folks
Theatre", and made it home for Yiddish melodrama
Here he staged his melodrama, "Dos reyne gevisn",
which was performed for an entire season ("Yoshe
tsadik" -- Max Gabel, "Ettie" -- Jennie
Goldstein), "A mames gebet", a lebensbild of the
East Side, "A mans shpiltsayg", "Goldele", or,
"Alts far libe", a comedy in four acts, "Public
Opinion", a melodrama [published in print at the
same time as the novel, novelized through Esther
Baltik in "Di varhayt"], "Farloyrene yungt", "Anshtendike
mentshn" (adaptation of the English play, "Kaman
klay"), "Eydele gefiln", "Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde" (translation from the English), "Khatskel
shuster", a melodrama by Gabel and Kalmonowitz,
"Di beybe-vayf", a comedy in four acts, "Heylike
libe", a drama in four acts, "A meydl on a
harts" by Zolotarevski, adapted by Gabel.
In 1917 G. staged
Gorin's adaptation of Wolfson's "Leykhtzin un
fremeley", under the name "Der tsbuek".
For six years G.
acted in the Lipzin Theatre and opened
afterwards the Mount Morris Theatre in Harlem.
Here he staged his plays: "Tsufil gelt", an
operetta, music by Friedsell, "Tsores fun libe",
a drama with music by Friedsell, "Shprintze on
Riverside Drive", an operetta, music by
Friedsell, "Ladies Garment", a comedy with music
by Friedsell, and "Bekende hertser", an operetta
by Gabel and Steinberg, music by Friedsell. Two
years later N. turned to the People's Theatre,
where he was director, together with Max R.
Wilner and staged the following plays: "Der
groyser moment", a melodrama in four acts (was
performed for an entire season), "Shtol un eyzn",
a melodrama in four acts, "A froy fun der velt",
a melodrama by Gabel and Steinberg, and "Vos
veln mentsn zogn?"
In the summer of
1926 G. acted for two weeks in London, and in
the winter season of the same year he staged at
the People's Theatre in New York: "Dos antlofene
meydl" by Gabel and Kalmanowitz, "Teyerer fun
lebn", a drama in three acts, music by Wohl, "Der
leyter fun lebn" by Gabel and Israel Rosenberg,
"Ir groyser sud" by Gabel and Freiman, and "Ir
mames khupe-kleyd" by Gabel and Steinberg.
After touring for
several months across the province, G., for the
1929-1930 season, took over the Public Theatre
under the name "Gabel's Public Theatre", and
opened with is melodrama "Libe un politik".
In Lemberg's "Togenblat"
(""Der morgen"), as well as in other periodical
editions in America, G. published from time to
time articles or memoirs about Yiddish theatre.
In Warsaw in 1928,
G., without G.'s knowledge, there was published
a play "Der groyser moment fun maks gabel",
which really was Moshe Schorr's play "Toyt-shtrof",
which didn't have any relationship with G.'s "Der
Although G. wrote
his plays exclusively for his own troupes, the
plays were illegally brought to Europe and there
were performed from defective copies, often
entirely under other names, not listing G. as
-- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. I,
B. Gorin --
"History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, pp.
-- Bilder galerye fun unzere idishe
shoyshpiler, "Der tog", N. Y., 16 March
-- Der sud fun erfolg fun "roybe gevisen", "Der
tog", N. Y., 21 February 1917.
Dr. I. Z.
Shubin -- "Poblik opinion" in gebil's teater,
"Der tog", N. Y, 5 September 1917.
-- Idisher folks-geshmak, "Di varhayt", N.
Y., 10 March 1917.
-- Di dray elementen in maks gebil's piesen,
"Di varhayt", N. Y., 8 December 1917.
Eynikel -- Brodvay oyf der boyery un sekond
evenyu, "Di varhayt", N. Y., 5 September
-- Gebil's an eygene melodrame in gebils
teater, "Forward", 28 March 1919.
Ab. Cahan --
Gebil's naye piese, "Forward", N. Y., 24
-- "Shtol un eyzen", "Yidtagblat", N. Y., 10
"Shtol un eyzen", "Morning Journal", N. Y.,
17 October 1924.
K. Marmor --
"Shtol un eyzen" in gebils teater, "Frayhayt",
N. Y., 10 October 1924.
Morisson -- Shtol un eyzen, maks gebil un k.
marmor's kritik, "Frayhayt", N. Y., 24
Mukdoni -- Literarishe abergloykhens,
"Morning Journal", N. Y., 14 November 1924.
Ab. Cahan --
Vos iz a melodrama?, "Forward", N. Y., 7
Kirschenbaum -- Maks gebil vegen dem emes in
der melodrame, "Amerikaner", N. Y., 25
Kirschenbaum -- Gebil un di idishe melodrame,
"Teater un kunst", 2 pp., 28.
Ehrenreich -- Der 50 yohriger yubileum fun
maks gebil, "Forward", 17 December 1926.
H. Lang -- In
teater vu dos folk geht, "Gerekhtigkeyt", 18
A. Frumkin --
Idish teater in a kranken tsushtand -- zogt
maks gebil, "Morning Journal", 25 November
L. Kesner --
Vu ligt der sud fun gebil's erfolg?, "Idishe
tog", 13 January 1928.
Max Gabel --
Ikh un dos publikum, "Der tog", N. Y., 24
-- "Di dramtishe kunst", pp. 182-87.
Goldstein -- Oyf der teater-evenyu, "Fraye
arbayer shtime", 22 February 1929.
A. Frumkin --
Maks gebil's naye melodrame, "Brooklyn
Yiddish Voice", 1 November 1929.