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
 

Israel Rosenberg (II)

 

R. was born in 1895 in Lublin, Poland, into an Orthodox family. His father was Yehuda, a rav in various cities in Poland then in Toronto, Canada, finally the head rabbi in Montreal. Author of many books, among them the Hebrew translation of the "Zohar," a writer of various folk tales in Yiddish [see details in Reizen's "Lexicon."] His brothers and nephews are rabbis. He learned at home, at cheders, religious schools and also on his own.

Being a member in his early youth of the S"S, and through his rabbi Shmai Goldblatt, he was introduced to an amateur group, and he began to perform with them. Then, in the beginning in small roles, becoming an actor in Warsaw's "Elyzeum" Theatre. In 1912 he joined the itinerant troupe of Sharavner who produced in Velish (sp) his play, "Froyn hendler (Women Traders?)," with Mark Meyerson in the main role. There he married Sharavner's sister-in-law Fira (the later writer and actress, under the name, "Vera Rozanka," or the "Jewish Shikse.") In 1917, together with his wife, he arrived in Canada where, due to family reasons, he avoided acting in the theatre and became a prompter. Here in 1918 at the Lyric Theatre in Toronto, there was staged by Jacob and Liza Silbert R.'s melodrama, "Return to Russia." In the same year in Toronto, there was staged R.'s melodrama, "Der prayz fun lekhtzin," which on 24 December 1920 was staged in Gabel's Theatre in New York under the name, "The Circle of Life[?]', a

 

drama in four acts by Max Gabel, subject by Israel Rosenberg," and in 1926 there was staged by Max Gabel, "On the Ladder of Life," by Gabel and Rosenberg. The original play was produced later under the name, "Wild Youth" in Harlem's Lenox Theatre on 1 October 1923 in the Lyric Theatre; in Philadelphia under the name, "Arop fun veg," and on 6 December 1923 with Michalesko in the "Second Avenue" Theatre.

Around 1920 in Winnipeg in Quinn's Theatre, there was staged (with Manny Weissman, Moshe Morris, Bendel, Silverbush and Vera Rosenberg) R.'s drama, "The Woman Who Dared[?]," and at the same time his dramatization of Dr. Herzl's novel, "The Old New Land.")

In 1921 he arrived in New York, where he was a prompter for four years.

On 4 November 1921 there was staged in Brownsville's Liberty Theatre, through Bernard Young, R.'s adaptation and re-dramatization of Wolf Mercur's Yiddish translation of the German operetta, "Hollandweibchen," under the name, "A Bride Without a Bridegroom[?], an operetta in three acts by Israel Rosenberg (subject antnumen), music by Sholom Secunda" (with Clara Young in the title role).

On 18 November 1921 there was staged in the Liberty Theatre through Bernard Young with Clara Young in a main role, "Hearts of Stone, a melodrama by Israel Rosenberg, lyrics by Tanzman, music by Sholom Secunda," later put on through Clara Young across the province, under the name, "Natur libe," adapted (without the knowledge of the author) by Sh. Steinberg.

At the Liberty Theatre In January 1922 there was staged R.'s comedy, "Berele tremp (Berele bosiak)," lyrics by Wolf Mercur, music by Sholom Secunda," which in the same year [17 Feb 1922-- ed.] was put on through Bessie Thomashefsky and Muni Weisenfreund in the Second Avenue Theatre, and then across the greater part of the Yiddish theatre world.

The play was anonymously published in Warsaw in 1926 without the knowledge of the author: "Berele bosiak, a comic operetta in three acts, published by the publishing house of Kh. Jakobson and M. Goldberg."

On 10 March 1922 through Max Gabel in his 116th Street Theatre there was staged, "When a Mother Sins, a comedy-drama in four acts by Israel Rosenberg, music by Louis Friedsell and Sholom Secunda" (with Max Gabel and Jennie Goldstein in the main roles).

On 13 April 1922 at Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre (with Bessie Thomashefsky, Sam Rosenstein and Muni Weisenfreund), there was staged through Sam Rosenstein R.'s comedy, "Dos bintl briv," music by Rumshinsky.

On 26 January 1923, through S. Rosenstein and Aaron Lebedeff, there was staged in Thomashefsky's National Theatre, "Yankele litwack, in three acts by Israel Rosenberg, music by Herman Wohl, lyrics by Louis Gilrod."

On 25 December 1923 at Lillian's Lyric Theatre there was staged, "Jacob's Children," a musical folk-shtik in four acts by Lillian and Rosenberg."

On 25 March 1924 in Thomashefsky's National Theatre there was staged with Lebedeff in the title role, "Mendel in Japan, an operetta by Rakow and Rosenberg, lyrics by Gilrod, music by Peretz Sandler."

On 3 October 1924 in the National Theatre there was staged through Lebedeff and Rosenstein, with them in the main roles, "Caucasian Love, an operetta in three acts by Israel Rosenberg, lyrics by Gilrod, music by Peretz Sandler."

The play, without the knowledge of the author, under false authorship, was published in 1926 in Warsaw: "Caucasian Love, an operetta in three acts by I.[?] Freiman, published by the publishing house, 'Sh. Goldfarb.'"

On 3 April 1925 there was staged in the National Theatre through Lebedeff and Rosenstein, "A Wedding in Palestine, a comedy in three acts by Israel Rosenberg, music by Peretz Sandler."

On 19 September 1925, through Joseph Schoengold, there was staged in Lillian's Lyric Theatre, R.'s "A Night of Love, a musical production in three acts and a prologue, music by Sholom Secunda." Then it was staged through Dora Weissman in Philadelphia's Arch Street Theatre, which was Pinchas Lawanda's first performance in America in the National Theatre.

During the 1924-5 season there was staged (with Aaron Lebedeff and Leon Blank) in the Parkway Theatre, "The Rabbi's Temptation, by Rosenberg and Steinberg, lyrics by Rosenberg, music by Sholom Secunda."

In the same season at the Hopkinson Theatre there was staged "Hearts for Sale, a play by Simon Wolf, adapted by Israel Rosenberg (staged through Misha and Lucy German, Jechiel Goldsmith, Yudl Dubinsky et al".)

R. again began to perform as an actor, and on 19 January 1926 in Oscar Green's Hopkinson Theatre, there was staged R.'s musical comedy, "Mashka, lyrics by the author, music by Sholom Secunda" (played by Misha and Lucy German, Yudl Dubinsky, Jechiel Goldsmith et al). The play then was staged across many Yiddish theatres across the world and later it was staged by Karalova under the name, ""Meydl fun volga" and "Mashka Becomes a Bride," then also by Vera Rosanka in the Clinton Theatre in New York.

On 24 December 1926 with Misha and Lucy German, Yudl Dubinsky et al, there was staged in the Hopkinson Theatre R.'s operetta, "Margerita, lyrics by the author, music by Sholom Secunda."

"Shmerl rokefeler," a comedy, was staged in Philadelphia in 1926 by Rudolph Zaslavsky, lyrics and stage direction by the author and Anshel Schorr, music by Sholom Secunda, later staged at the Hopkinson Theatre with Zaslavsky and Kasten in the main roles.

"Papirosn-makherin (Cigarette Maker[?])," also under the name "Sheindele," and "Reizele from Slobodka," was staged in 1927 in the Hopkinson Theatre, then in Philadelphia with Clara Young, Lucy German and Vera Rosanka.

On 8 February 1927, through Misha German, there was staged in the Hopkinson Theatre R.'s comedy-drama, "Across the Ocean, lyrics by the author, music by Sholom Secunda."

On 22 February 1929 there was staged by the author in the Hopkinson Theatre R.'s operetta, "Dark Eyes, music by S. Gerechtman (played by Moishe Oysher, Florence Weiss, Louis Weiss et al), and on 26 April 1929 it was staged under the name, "Natasha," by Nathan Goldberg in the Bronx's Prospect Theatre.

On 27 March 1929 at the National Theatre there was staged through Aaron Lebedeff, "In a Small Town, a folk comedy of home life, by Israel Rosenberg, lyrics by Jacob Jacobs, music by A. Olshanetsky," which soon was called, "Hulie kabtsen."

On 25 April 1929 there was staged in the Hopkinson Theatre R.'s operetta, "Tate-mames khasene," lyrics by the author, music by S. Gerechtman" (with Moishe Oysher, Florence and Louis Weiss et al.)

On 27 November 1929, under the direction of Max Gabel, there was staged in the Public Theatre, with Jennie Goldstein in the title role, R.'s operetta, "Di galitsianer rebetsin, lyrics by the author, music by Herman Wohl."

On 28 February 1930, through Max Gabel, there was staged in the Public Theatre with Jennie Goldstein in the title role, "Sonitchka, a comedy-drama by I. Rosenberg, lyrics by the author, music by Herman Wohl." The same play was later staged by Jennie Goldstein in the Hopkinson Theatre, under the name, "Straw Widow," and then by her under the name, "Dos freylekhe vaybl."

In March 1930 in the Parkway Theatre there was staged (with Misha and Lucy German, Anatol Winogradof et al), "Zi yun zayn vayb" by Israel Rosenberg, music by Sholom Secunda.

In November 1930 there was staged in the Prospect Theatre "I Want a Child" by Abraham Blum, adapted by Israel Rosenberg, lyrics by I. Rosenberg and I. Lillian, music by Olshanetsky (with Michal Michalesko and Bella Mysell in the main roles.)

On 1 February 1931 in the Prospect Theatre there was staged under the direction of the author, R.'s melodrama, "The Damaged Man" ["Der man iz krank"], music by A. Olshanetsky.

On 21 February 1931 in the Rolland Theatre there was staged "Love on Credit, a musical comedy by Rosenberg and Friedman, lyrics by Rosenberg, music by Sholom Secunda." (with Misha and Lucy German in the main roles.)

In October 1931 in the Prospect Theatre there was staged Abraham Blum's "The First Kiss, adapted by R., lyrics by I. Rosenberg, music by A. Olshanetsky" (with Michalesko, Bella Mysell, Vera Rosanka et al.)

On 26 February 1932 in the Rolland Theatre there was staged by Nathan Goldberg R.'s dramatization of Jacob Botoshanksy's novel, "Buenos Aires," (published in the "Tog").

On 1 October 1932, with Menasha Skulnk in the title role, there was staged in the Hopkinson Theatre R.'s comedy, "Mister Shlemiel," lyrics by the author, music by S. Gerectman.

In 1932 there was staged with Menasha Skulnik in the title role in the Hopkinson Theatre by Itzhak Friedman and Israel Rosenberg's comedy, "Getzl Becomes a Bridegroom," lyrics and music by Israel Rosenberg.

In September 1933 there was staged at the Hopkinson Theatre William Siegel's comedy, "Menakhem Mendl (Der amerikaner menakhem mendl)," adapted by Israel Rosenberg, with Menasha Skulnik in the title role.

In October 1935 in the National Theatre there was staged by the author, with Jennie Goldstein and Joseph Schoengold in the main roles, R.'s melodrama, "Saints and Sinners."

In February 1939 through R., there was staged in the McKinley Square Theatre with the troupe of Roland's Public Theatre and Vera Rosanka, "Shall a Woman Forgive?" by Israel Rosenberg and Isidore Friedman. The play was later staged in Buenos Aires by Jennie Goldstein under the name, "Legal Wives."

In February 1940 in the Hopkinson Theatre there was staged R.'s melodrama, "Men Without Eyes," which he dramatized from his own novel, published in "Tog" (with Vera Rosanka, Betty Perlow, Israel Rosenberg et al.) Later the play was also staged at the Clinton Theatre.

In October 1942 in the Parkway Theatre there was staged R.'s melodrama, "The Bridegroom Regrets," built from a series that was previously staged across the radio.

Since the 1942-43 season R., together with his wife Vera Rosanka ("The Jewish Shikse"), performs with the Clinton Theatre, where he has in the span of six years directed his own plays, one-acters and condensed plays by other writers, with the participation of the important Yiddish actors. Then for two years he has directed with the National Vaudeville Theatre, the Parkway Theatre, and for half-a-year with the Elsemere Theatre.

For the 1951 season the Parkway Theatre opened under the stage direction of the author, with his melodrama, "Lost Men" (Vera Rosanka, Israel Rosenberg, Michal Gibson, Leon Liebgold, Bracha Skulnik, I. Lipinsky, Moshe Feder et al), music by P. Laskowsky.

In the same season in the same theatre, there was staged with the same troupe R.'s operetta, "You're Deep in My Heart, lyrics by the author, music by P. Laskowsky, as well as R.'s "Behind the Curtain of Life[?]," and his translation, with an additional act, from "The Respectful Prostitute" by Jean Sartre.

In September 1955 in the Elsmere Theatre there was staged by the author R.'s musica comedy-drama, "A Wedding in Israel, lyrics by the author (with Vera Rosanka and Jacob Rechtzeit in the main roles), and then in the same theatre with the same troupe, his play, "Dos lebn heybt zikh on mit libe" (a paraphrase of "God, Man and Devil"). In the same season there was staged there, "Joseph with his Brothers," a new mchirs Joseph play by Israel Rosenberg, music by Philip Laskowsky, later also staged at the Clinton Theatre (with Michal Gibson, Bracha Skulnik, Pinchas Lawanda, Aaron Lebedeff, Seymour Rechtzeit, Miriam Kressyn, Vera Rosanka, Israel Rosenberg et al), as well as the comedy, "A Wife on the Sabbath" (with Vera Rosanka, Jacob Rechtzeit, Max Wilner et al) at the Elsmere Theatre.

Also in the Clinton Theatre, with Vera Rosanka in the main roles, there was staged in her and R.'s translation, the Ukrainian plays, "The Jewish Gypsy Aza," "Zhidovka vikristy," "Natalka Poltavka," "Solstu nig gayn mit andere meydlekh."

Besides these the following plays were also staged:

In 1942 Pesach'ke Burstein stage R.'s play, "Gypsy Love."

"Golden Dreams" ("The Heart of a Man") was staged in Toronto by Jacob Mestel.

In 1944 in the Clinton Theatre there was staged, "Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto," a revue in two parts by Israel Rosenberg, lyrics and stage direction by the author, music by P. Laskowsky.

"Der goylem" a dramatic operetta by I. Rosenberg, staged by the author in the Clinton Theatre.

In December 1949 there was staged in the National Theatre his revue, "Shalom Tel Aviv," in two acts and eight scenes, with the aropgebrakhte actors Matityahu Rosen and Mina Bern, and the writer I.Sh. Goldstein, built on skits by I.Sh. Goldstein, Yosef Heyblum and Israel Rosenberg, music by P. Laskowsky and Israel melodies

In 1958 in the Anderson Theatre there was staged with Leo Fuchs in the main role, R.'s musical play, "Family Mish Mash" (paraphrase of Gordin's "Shloimke sharlatan"), which was then performed in Philadelphia and Chicago.

Besides this, R. wrote the following non-staged plays: "Emma Goldman," dramatized by M. Osherowitz's translation from Goldman's book"; "Living My Life," "A Day in Regensburg," dramatized from an Opatoshu novel, with the consent of the author.

For fourteen years R., together with his wife, produced a Yiddish radio program twice a week on the station I.V.D., was a news commentator and directed many other programs. From 1938-39 he directed with a continuous radio program for the Yiddish [Hebrew Actors' Union], which he alone wrote for and arranged (music by Sholom Secunda). Also he staged on the radio a great number of radio dramatizations, which was built on the narratives and songs of Yiddish writers, a great dramatization of Peretz's "Bontshe shveyg" and "The Novels of Yiddish Theatre," and Zylbercweig's "Lexicon," and dramatized "Bar kokhba," banutsndik zikh with Goldfaden's play, the eikr with his song.

Besides his novel, "Men Without Eyes," published in the "Tog," R. also published in the "Tog" (January 13 to February 10, 1917), a short series, "Gospodin misharat" (stories of Yiddish theatre in old Russia), many articles about Yiddish theatre problems in various periodical editions, "Di anarkhistishe melukhe rbunu shl eulm" in Dantsis "Yom-tov bleter," as well as feuilletons under the pseudonym "Israelke shemash."

R.'s daughter, Betty Perlow, for a certain time has played on the Yiddish stage.

R.'s published plays are:

[1] Caucasian Love
     operetta in 3 acts
     by I. Freiman.
     Issued by the Sh. Goldfarb Publishing House, Warsaw, 1926.

[2] Berele bosak
     comical operetta in three acts
     [anonymous].
     Issued by the S. Yakobson and M. Goldberg Publishing House, Warsaw, 1926.

 

M. and Sh. E.

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

  • Israel Rosenberg-- "Gospodin misharat," "Der tog," N.Y., 13, 20, 27 Janauary; 3, 10 February 1917.

  • Ts.H. Rubinstein-- "Oyfn leyter fun lebn" in gebil's teater, "Der tog," N.Y., 29 Dec. 1920.

  • A. Frumkin-- In di nyu yorker yidishe teaterer, "Yidisher zhurnal," Toronto, 12 January 1921.

  • B.Y. Goldstein-- "Kale on a khosn" in liberty teater, "Der tog," N.Y., 9 November 1921.

  • B.Y. Goldstein-- "Shteynerne hertser," "Der tog," N.Y., 23 November 1921.

 


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2533.
 

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