and in 1903 he became
engaged as a prompter to Avraham Axelrad in
Czernowitz. Later he toured with various itinerant
troupes across the provinces of Austria, Bukovina
and Galicia, until he immigrated to America, where
he arrived via New York on 10 September 1906.
Here P. entered into a
small vaudeville house (on Cannon Street) as a
prompter, and he wrote sketches, mostly adaptations
of Steinbeck's plays, which were performed in the
"Miner's Theatre" on the Bowery, as well as cuts of
Yiddish plays, especially historic operettas, which
he had adapted as one-acters.
In 1907-1908 P. was the
prompter with David Kessler across the American
province, and he wrote sketches for Sam Shneyer,
David Baratz and Greenberg.
From 1910-1914 he was
the director and prompter in the "Plaza Garden
House", and he wrote sketches and short operettas
for Saul Brandes and Julius Wilensky. From 1910-1914
he was director and prompter in the "Plaza Garden
Theatre" (5th Avenue and 110th Street, Manhattan.
Barney Abramowitz and Skol). In 1916-1917 he was a
prompter with Aged, and he wrote sketches and
short operettas for Itsikl Goldenberg.
After more seasons with
various itinerant troupes, P. from 1922 until 1926
was the prompter in the "Irving Place Theatre".
In 1926-1927 he was with
In 1927-1928 he was in
the "Hopkinson Theatre".
In 1928-1929 he was in
the "City Theatre" with Maurice Schwartz.
In 1929-1930 he was in
the "Folks Theatre" (Managers Rovinger and Max
In 1930-1931 he was in
the "Second Avenue Theatre". Since then he has given
After being in Galicia,
P. debuted with sketches in the "Lemberg togblat"
and in the "Czernowitzer vokhenblat" which was under
the direction of Leybl Toybes, and he wrote a play "Lbn
harmi" in the style of Goldfaden's historical plays.
But first in America he had dedicated himself to his
writing desires. Beyond fiction he worked on various
periodical publications and often wrote articles about
actors, composers, dramatists and theatre -- people.
He had in New York's "Amerikaner" (21-26, 1926),
published a part of Jacob P. Adler's autobiography;
on 18 November 1928, in Philadelphia's "Idishe velt",
he began to print his large work about 38
dramatists and had until 23 December 1928 published
there the biographies of Director Shlomo Ettinger,
Avraham Goldfaden, Joseph Lateiner, Moshe Horowitz, Yosef Yehuda Lerner, Nakhum Meir Sheykevitsh
(Shomer), Moshe Zeifert, Avraham Mikhal Scharkansky,
Reuben Weissman, Jacob Terr, Zigmunt Feinman and
David Moshe Hermalin. On 5 April 1929, in the same
newspaper, he began to publish under the title "Der
anfang fun yidishn teater (The Beginning of Yiddish
Theatre)", Avraham Goldfaden's autobiography,
according to Goldfaden's "Khb-id fun fir heftn",
which is the first full Goldfaden autobiography.
However, he only delivered the last [transfer=forzetsung]
of the series (5 July 1929) after the production of
"Breyndele kazak". In "Archive for the History
of Yiddish Theatre and Drama" (Editor: Dr. Jacob
Shatzky, Vilna, 1930, Volume 1, pp. 422-430), he had
reprinted the first status of Yiddish theatre in
America, with an introduction about his composer,
the performer Moshe Finkel. In New York's almanac
"Ten Years of Artef" (March 1937, pp. 101-118), he
had published "Episodes of Yiddish Theatre", that is
a [brief=min kitsur] history of American Yiddish
theatre. On 30 September 1944 he had begun to
publish in New York's "Tog" the autobiography of
Ludwig Satz. But [subsequent to] the first chapter,
which was prepared by Satz, there were the further
chapters written by P. himself according to his own
memoirs and various other information.
P. also had written full
plays of which (the first), "Mendel Beilis", was
staged in 1913 in the "Plaza Garden Theatre", then
in the Comedy Theatre (with Louis Kremer in the
title role), and in the "Second Avenue Theatre"
(with David Kessler in the title role). In the same
year in the "Plaza Garden Theatre" the four-act
comedy "Das veybel fun sirakiuz" was staged (with
Hymie Jacobson, Berta Gerstin, V. Zigenloyb, Moshe
Ganz and the Augenblicks, as well as "Zayn letster
dolar (His Last Dollar)" (taken from the English
play "Charlie's Aunt"), which was also later staged
in the "Lyric Theatre".
In 1915-1916 under the
direction of J. Cone, P.'s play "Der kale's sud
(The Bride's Secret)"
was staged at the Liberty Theatre (with Rosa Karp,
Bina Abramowitz, Madame Schrage, Kalmen Yuvelir (Juvelier),
Moshe Simonoff, William Schwartz, Zigmunt Weintraub
Hyman Meisel). In the 1917-1918 season in
Philadelphia's "American Theatre" there was
presented P.'s play "Zol a meydl gloybn?" (with
Samuel Goldenburg, David Baratz, Annie Meltzer,
Clara Rafala, Max Bulman), and in the 1917-1918
season in New York's "Manhattan Opera House" his
dramatization of "Potash un perlmuter" (with Berl
Bernstein and Sam Manne in the title role, and P. in
the role of "Stoyrman"). In 20 October 1922 in
Brooklyn's "Lyric Theatre" there was staged by I.
Tanzman P.'s play "Di unbazingbare froy" (with
I. Tanzman and Stella Gold in the main role), which was
performed in February 1923 under the name "Der brik
fun lebn" in Detroit (with Elias Rothstein, Karl
Gutentag, Ida Dworkin et al), and from there across
other cities. About the same time P.'s "Der groyser
khub" was staged in Philadelphia's Arch Street
Theatre (with Mae Simon, Clara Rafala, Helen
Bernardi, Betty Simonoff, Moshe Simonoff and Jacob
Rechtzeit), which was later staged by Louis Kramer in
Williamsburg's "Lyric Theatre" under the title "Das farkoyfte meydl".
In 1925 in
Philadelphia's "Arch Street Theatre", P.'s play "Di
fremde mame (The Strange Mother)", was staged by Anshel Schorr under the
title "Di farshemte kale" -- announced as N. Rakov's,
later as N. Ravov's and Anshel Schorr's, and finally
as Sholem Perlmutter's. The play was later performed
under both names, through Michal Michalesko in
Brooklyn's "Rolland Theatre", and also by Joseph
Shoengold and Menachem Rubin.
In the 1927-1928 season
in Williamsburg's "Amphion Theatre", there was
staged P.'s play "Der heyliker bokher (The
Unknown Heritage)" (with Joseph
Shoengold, Frances Adler and Max Wilner), and on 21
February 1930 in the "Folks Theatre", under the
direction of Ludwig Satz, P.'s tragi-comedy (taken
from Dr. Stieglitz) "Narishe tates" (music by Ab.
P. also had the
following plays that were not staged: "Karbones fun
der tsayt", "Dos akhte gebat", and "Biznes is biznes
(Business is Business)".
P. was one of the
founders of the Actor's Union Local 18, and from
1911 until 1914 he was their manager and secretary.
He also was a founder of the "Yiddish Dramatic
League" (that had existed, with breaks, from 1914
until today), where he was secretary and also the
founder (1931) of the "Society of Jewish Composers,
Lyric Writers and Publishers", of which he was the
P. was also on the
executive (board) of the "Yiddish Theatre Museum
Society". He possesses a rich archive, with which he
served the writers of Yiddish theatre history. He
also is a member of the "Lexicon" committee, and he
was Executive Secretary for the Yiddish Actor's
Union. In 1944 he was chosen as Vice-President
for the same union.
On 29 March 1944 in New
York's Central Plaza, there was celebrated P.'s
sixtieth birthday, and under the direction of Zalmen
Zylbercweig and Jacob Mestel there was the
opportunity to publish a special supplement to the "Teater
heftn" (Number 4) with articles and apshatsungen
about the anniversaries of A. Olshanetsky,
Reuben Guskin, Dr. Meir Geyer, Samuel Goldenburg,
the Talner Rebbe, Zalmen Zylbercweig, A. Lutsky, Z.
Libin, Jacob Mestel, Sholom Secunda, a prompter,
Leon Kobrin, Jacob Kirschenbaum, Dr. Jacob Shatzky,
Jacob Kalich, Maurice Schwartz, and with biographies
of the inerung fun bel-yubl.
Sh. E. and M. E.
B. Gorin --
"History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, p. 271.
L. Blank --
Detroyter notitsen, "Tog", Province-oysgabe, 8
A teatral -- Fier
dramaturgen arbeyten oyf "Tog's" editorial fun
1917, "Tog", New York, 18 September 1925.
Jacob Mestel --
Galitsianer baym amerikaner yidishen teater, "Togblat",
Lemberg, 29 March 1926.
D. Kaplan -- "Narishe
tates" in folks-teater, "Forward", New York, 28
William Edlin --
"Tsvay naye piesen -- A tragedye un a komedye,
"Der tog", New York, 8 February 1930.
Dr. I. Kritikus
[Jacob Kirschenbaum] -- Sholem perlmutter's
piese "narishe tates" makhn a "hit" in satz's
folks-teater, "Di idishe velt", Cleveland, 9
Kirschenbaum -- Sholem perlmutter, der
teater-zamler un dramatirg, tsu zayn 50th yubl,
"Di idishe velt", Cleveland, 8 April 1934.
Motl Sherman --
Vuhin geht dos idishe teater, "Idishe velt",
Philadelphia, 21 February 1935.
-- Vos hert zikh in di nyu yorker idishe teatere?,
"Idishe velt", Philadelphia, 1 November 1935.
-- Di umbrenger fun idishen teater, "Noyorker
Vokhnblat", 21, 1935.
-- Mentshn hobn faynt dem emes, "Noyorker
vokhnblat", 33, 1935.
-- Vos hert zikh in di noy yorker idishe teather?,
"Idishe velt", Philadelphia, 22 November 1935.
Zylbercweig -- "Teater-figurn", Buenos Aires,
1936, pp. 43-47.
Botoshansky -- Kafe royal -- Di idishe
actyorish-literarishe kibitsarnye in nyu york,
"Di prese", Buenos Aires, 5 May 1940.
-- Maurice Schwartz dertsehlt, "Forward", New
York, 16, 20, 23, 27 August 1941.
-- Kleyne meshllekh fun idishen teater, "Der
amerikaner", New York, 21 July 1943.
Jacob Mestel -- "Undzer
teater", New York, 1943, pp. 10, 42.
A prompter --
Vekhentlikhe grusen fun noy yorker idishen
teater, "Jewish Courier", Chicago, 7 April 1944.
-- "Klangen fun mayn lebn", New York, 1944 pp.
775-781. "Teater-heftn", New York, 4, 1944.
M. Yardeini -- Di
fayerung fun sholem perlmutters yubiley, "Keneder
odler", Montreal, 11 April 1944.