Lives in the Yiddish Theatre
SHORT BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE INVOLVED IN THE Yiddish THEATRE
aS DESCRIBED IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"

1931-1969
 

Moishe Oysher
(more to translate....)
 

 

Born 8 March 1906 in Lipkany, Bessarabia. He is descended from a long line of cantors. He is the seventh cantor in the family. On his mother's side -- craftsmen, as he recalls to Chaver-Paver (nÚ Gershon Einbinder -- ed.): "From my grandfather the carpenter Mekhl Negrenits [from the shtetl of Negrenits], in his youth his grandfather sung folk songs and also workers' songs to his students, and these heartfelt tunes were in my blood, and that it was from his other grandfather "Yosl der poylisher" and his father "Zelik der poylisher" that he inherited his gift as a cantor."

Due to the fact that his father, Zelig, had earlier immigrated to America, O. became educated by his grandfather, and they called him "Moshe Mekhl Negrinits, grandson".

He learned with religious teachers who had charmed him from his "mebir kriah" zeyn, he sang with a cantor, later in the shul "Habimah" (where the meshulim-writer Eliezer Steinbarg was a teacher), who held out in order to become one of the many unresolved(?), who had a desire to act in Yiddish theatre, and he therefore had a small stage in the school where O. performed as a child, in several roles in Steinbarg's "Der berditshever rb beym bis din shl melh", and he was deeply determined to perform for the author.

About the drikt zikh, O. continued to speak with Khaver-Paver:

"But then I will not tell about Eliezer Steinbarg, the famous poet and meshulim writer, who had.....

Oysfirlekh about it, O. wrote in his artidle "Meyn lerer eliezer steinbarg and his acting of R' Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev" in "Yidishe kultur" (New York 1944), where he also cited the larger set of the play.

In 1921 O. arrived in Canada to his father. On the way, he lost his child's voice. Because his father was unemployed, O. soon had to go to work: at first as a dishwasher [gefes] in a restaurant, then in a laundry in Brighton. Finally his voice returned and again he began to sing in a range of literary dramatic clubs. He made the acquaintance of the actor Wolf Shumsky and traveled with him to Winnipeg, Canada, where he acted with him in the Yiddish theatre for two seasons. Debuting in Zolotarefsky's "Di mshumds".

In 1924-25 there came the privilege of the Yiddish Actors Union, and he acted in Montreal's Yiddish Theatre (Director -- Isidor Hollander) and at the same time was regisseur of a dramatic circle with a local Yiddish cultural center, where he directed and did the scenery for Halpern, Leivick, Nadir et al. In the summer of 1928 he performed on the Yiddish radio in Philadelphia, where his parents had settled, and he was recommended through HIllel Vikhnin to the Yiddish theatre director in New York, in 1928-29 he acted in Brooklyn's Hopkinson Theatre (Manager Louie Weiss), and in 1929-30, with Florence Weiss, in Newark (Manager Bernard Elving), 1930-31 he acted with Florence Weiss in the Lyric Theatre, and on 7 November 1931 he became a member in the Yiddish Actors Union. In 1931-32 he acted with Anshel Schorr in Philadelphia, where he broke over the acting in with the season and toured, guest-starring across the American province, 1932-33 -- a short time in Thomashefsky's "Gaiety Theatre". According to Chaim Ehrenreich, Thomashefsky had a great love for him and called him "Ben ikir li" (my dear son) and held him out for his successor in his crowning role as "The Yeshiva Boy", "Bar kokhba" et al.

O. guest-starred again across the American province, came back to New York and finished the season in the Amphion Theatre. In 1933-34 he was manager for a half season and an actor in the Amphion Theatre, then acted again across the province and traveled around, and together with Florence Weiss, acted in the Ambo Theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he staged in [in an earlier time in America performed the play] "A Night in Paris" by Lesh and Olshanetsky, "Di groyse simcha" by Moishe Oysher [under the pseudonym "Ben Zelik"] and Wolf Shumsky and "Der veg tsu libe" and "Di kleyne gnbte" by Isdior Lilien.

O. guest-starred afterwards in Uruguay, Brazil and again returned to act in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

Zalmen Zylbercweig, who in 1936 visited Argentina, and according to him, O.'s guest-starring appearance was still the conversation of the day by the Yiddish theatre visitors, and his songs, which he had sung in the operettas, which were only sung in the Yiddish houses, especially the songs "Chasidic in America" and "A zemerl", which A. sang as a duet with Florence Weiss, and was later recorded.

He returned to America, and O. became a frequent guest on the Yiddish radio, which now he strongly developed. He performed in the Lyric Theatre in Kalmanowitz-Rumshinsky's operetta "Dod heyst gelibt", and in 1935 he was the cantor in the Romanian synagogue in New York. Being one of the first actors from the stage to cross over to the bimah, he had encountered a very great hardship. There came many conflicts and noise among the religious worshippers of the synagogue and the synagogue management, but the sweetness of his davening, the genuine, traditional character of his chazzanut (art of cantorial singing) still made his opponents, who were transformed to his supporters.

O. often began to change the cantorial board to the stage boards.... So he acted again in the Second Avenue Theatre and then in other Yiddish theatres.

In June 1942 in Chicago's "Civic Opera House", he was given an oysgeveynlekhe "star" production of "Bar kokhba" with the following personnel: Moishe Oysher as "Bar kokhba", Michal Michalesko as "Eliezer", Menachem Rubin -- "Papoose", Betty Simonoff -- "Dinah". However Adler -- "Tsezarin", Ludwig Satz -- "Tsezar".

O. name as cantor and concertist reached/obtained that sometimes more across the Yiddish world and he was very often engaged in both capacities across America, Canada, Europe, South America, South Africa and the land of Israel, and found such success everywhere.

With is voice, he also is connected with the film world, Yiddish and English, and thus he acted in main roles in the sound film "The Cantor's Son" ("My Shtele Belz"), David Pinski's "Yankel the Blacksmith (The Singing Blacksmith)" (staged on 1 November 1938 in New York's "Continental Theatre" in a special adaptation by the author, in the production of "The Collective Film Producers", under the direction of Edgar G. Ulmer, with the assistance of Osip Dymov and Ben-Tsion Baratov, music by Jacob Weinberg), and in February 1940 in N. Y. "Cameo Theatre" a sound film "The Vilnius City Cantor" ["The Vilnius bel-hbitl"] by Osip Dymov [banutsndik the content of Mark Arnstein's play "The Vilnius bel-hbitl", dialogue from Jacob Glatstein, direction by Max Nosseck, music -- Alexander Olshanetsky.

about his acting in "Yankel the Blacksmith", Ab. Cahan writes:

"...Moishe Oysher is known as a cantor, and as a cantor he sings......

"...Therefore [he characterized himself] out the film with performing and especially one song title that...."

About his acting in films in general, Dr. N. Swerdlin writes:

"A special chapter is M. O.'s pioneering....."

Under the name of Walter Lawrence he also sang a song "Russia is her Name", music by Jerome Kern, in the English talkie with Robert Taylor, and in 1943 he had, together with Joey Adams, made an English talkie "Singing in the Dark", where he acted in English and sings several songs in English and in Hebrew.

Around 1943 O. had -- as Ehrenreich recalls -- signed a contract with Fortune Gallo to perform in the Chicago Opera [factually a traveling opera troupe] as "Eliezer" in HalÚvy's "La Juive", and in Leoncavallo's "I, Pagliacci". He took to studying the roles with Zelouf Peshia (?), who had predicted a great career for him as an opera singer. However he received his first heart attack, and the plan had to wait.

O. for several years performed with a huge success on the radio programs of WMGM.

Since 1954 O. was cantor in the Pines shul in South Fallsburg.

O. sang the following songs that were recorded:

  • "A zemerl",

  • "Chasidic in America" (together with Florence Weiss),

  • "Yankel der shmid" (music by Jacob Weinberg),

  • "Dem pastuchs kholom (music by Jacob Weinberg),

  • ""Ma tov"

  • "Gott iz einer"

  • "Dus keshenever shtikele"

  • "Grine bleter"

  • In mayn shtetl",

  • "Hinter boymer"

  • "A din-torah mit gott",

  • "Amar, amar" (music by Moishe Oysher),

  • "Halel" (in Yiddish and English, with the Barry Sisters, music by Moishe Oysher),
     

and the liturgical numbers:

  • "Midas horachamim"

  • "Al horoishoinim"

  • "Hium hrt oylem"

  • "Av horachamim"

  • "Kiddush far yom-tov" (with a chorus)
     

and the albums:

  • "Moishe Oysher Seder Album" (narrated in English by Barry Grey) that contained:

  • "Kiddush",

  • "Ho Lachmo Anyo",

  • "The Four Questions",

  • "Blessing of the Moror",

  •  "Khi lu noh",

  • "Chad Gadya" (with Abraham Nadel's chorus, under the direction of Abraham Ellstein),

  • "Eliyahu hanovi",

  • "Hallel".
     

  • Moishe Oysher's Kol Nidre album (narrated in English by Barry Grey), which contains:

  • "Ur zrue ltsdik",


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2407.
 

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