S. traveled around with a
troupe, also across Bulgaria and Bukovina until 1888-89,
when he arrived in Constantinople, where they staged the
operetta, "Der giber hakhayel," where there was
also visiting from damoltikn dortikn guest Dr.
Theodor Herzl, who only sat for the first act.
In 1890, during the guest
appearance of Jacob P. Adler in Lemberg, Adler took to
America several actors, as well as the prompter
Wilensky. S. then became the prompter for the Lemberg
theatre, and soon he began to play in roles there. But
having a great deal of respect [?] for his parents, he
left the theatre and went back to working in a leather
business, but he didn't last there for long, and left
home and joined an itinerant troupe, with whom he
performed across Galicia and Romania, where he performed
for the first time in the prominent role of "the saint"
in "Uriel Acosta," a role that he would later play with
Adler in America.
Playing in Focsani, S. wrote
in 1894 the play, "Captain Dreyfus," which at that time
allowed the troupe to survive its difficult material
The play was never published
and also there is no manuscript of this.
In 1900 S. was brought to
America for the Windsor Theatre by "Professor" Hurwitz.
Here S. at the beginning was the assistant stage
director and composed the lyrics (songs) for the
operettas, "Ben hador," "Tsvey shnayim (Two Snows?),"
"Jacob and Esau," "Exodus from Egypt," "Black and White
Sholem Perlmutter writes:
"The Yiddish Theatre in America, which had always been
in need of fit and able men, had Anshel Schorr, who
showed his excellent abilities as a leader and
organizer. In America Anshel Schorr received the
opportunity to utilize his adventurous temperament,
which he had possessed, and he began to search for his
shikzal in various ways, and he himself did not
opgeshtelt even there, where gravity and politics
were mixed together, and in a short time he had an idea
of how to get started in the Yiddish Theatre in America.
His first ability was as a
stage director that he soon demonstrated to Jacob P.
Adler in October 1906, taking over the stage directing
for the operetta, "Queen Sheba," in the Grand Theatre.
His first offering made a big impression. Adler let him
out to the the audience for the first production,
praising his abilities as a stage director and Schorr's
successful career had begun."
Also Maurice Schwartz had
the same opinion about S.:
"Anshel Schorr was a
That period in S.'s
theatrical activity also was discussed by Joseph
Rumshinsky in his memoirs:
"The theatre had...."
"In the span of one year,"
writes Sholem Perlmutter, "there was given to us in the
Windsor Theatre Anshel Schorr, who directed 'The Widow'
(adapted from Moshe Richter's 'Moshe Chayim') [the play
Zalmen Reyzen writes that it
"was the first operetta in America in which Yiddish was
spoken without any 'Deytshtmerish.' The operetta soon
became a hit across the entire world."
About the production in
Warsaw, Dr. A. Mukdoni writes:
"...There arrived an operetta from Anshel Schorr, 'A
mentsh zol men zayn (Be a Man!)." The "United Troupe,'
D.H. Kaminski's 'literary' troupe, without Madam
Kaminski, was the first....
Without the knowledge of the
authors, the play was published in Warsaw in 1911. A
manuscript can be found in the archive of YIVO.
On 29 September 1909,
through David Kessler, the play was produced in the
Thalia Theatre. S. and Moshe Schorr's operetta, "Ir
ershte libe (Her First Love)," (music by Mogulesco and
Brody.") The play did not last long. It was never
published. A manuscript can be found in the YIVO
In 1910 S. adapted the play,
"Dos lebn fun a froy (The Life of a Woman?)," (music by
Yudele Belzer), which soon was staged. The play, which
was translated from the English play, "The Strength of
the Weak"), was not published. A manuscript can be found
in the YIVO archives.
During the 1910 season, S.
composed the operetta, "Dos meydl fun der vest (The Girl
From the West)":
"...Because he had love for
the theatre, he..."
The play was published in
1913 in Warsaw without the knowledge of the author. A
manuscript can be found within the YIVO Archives.
Since then S. wrote plays
for his main profession, leaving acting, but from time
to time he returned to acting, and even fartretn
angezeene, famous actors in their great roles.
As Joseph Rumshinsky
recalls, once in Baltimore Jacob P. Adler bchiun,
velndik oysprubn di benkshaft fun publikum tsu aim....
On 6 October 1911 in the
Thalia Theatre, there was staged by Morris Moskowitz
S.'s operetta, "Shir hashirim (Song of Songs)," [at
first it was advertised as "by N. Rakow and Anshel
Schorr"] (stage directed by the author, music by Joseph
Rumsinsky.) The subject of the play was taken from Max
Dreyer's "Di zibetsnyorkike."
About the antshteyn of the
operetta, Joseph Rumshinsky recalls:
And about the antshteyaung
of the faous song, "Fun vigl biz tsum kbr" in the
operetta, Joseph Rumshinsky recalls that he then was
very troyerik geshtimt due to a novel and had maintained
that it was not (ch)dai tsu lebn oyf der velt:
Joel Entin writes about the
" 'Shir hashirim' is ...."
The play however was
presented throughout the entire Yiddish theatre world,
where it was maintained throughout the year in
In October 1935 in the Acma
Theatre in New York, S.'s "Shir hashirim" was made into
a Yiddish film, text and directing by Henry Lynn, music
by Joseph Rumshinsky, with the following in the roles:
Leon Oppenheim--Samuel Goldinburg; Anna--Dora Weissman;
Moshele--Reuben Wendorf; Arele--Yudl Dubinsky; Lili--Mirele
Gruber; Roza--Anna Toback; Hymie--Seymour Rechtzeit, and
The film since then often
was seen across the Yiddish world.
The play in 1913 was
published in Warsaw, without the knowledge of the
On 29 December 1911 there
was staged with Morris Moskowitz S.'s play, "Vaybl"
(music by Joseph Rumshinsky). the play, which was staged
by George Anets (sp), "Gevehrmeyster." It was also
staged under the name, "Vos a froy ken," and "Dos yunge
vaybl." It was not published. A manuscript can be
found in the archives of YIVO.
As Sholem Perlmutter writes,
S. in 1912 became the manager of the Comedy Theatre,
which Sam Agid, the former manager of a Yiddish
vaudeville house on Clinton Street, had built on Suffolk
Street, between Broome and Grand Streets. There S.
directed on 29 March 1912, his new comedy, "Borg mir
dayn vayb (Lend Me Your Wife)," music by Joseph
Rumshinsky recalls that "the
combination of Schorr and Rumshinsky was a huge success.
However "Dos meydl fun der vest (The Girl from the
West)," and "Shir hashirim," gave birth to the
farce-comedy "Borg mir dayn vayb," which was...."
The farce also later was
played in European Yiddish theatres, and in other
countries. The play was published in 1926 in Warsaw,
without the knowledge of the author. A manuscript can be
found in the YIVO Archives.
"However," writes Sholem
Perlmutter, "in several weeks the troupe disbanded, and
Anshel Schorr went over to the Metropolitan Theatre in
Newark, together with the former manager Sam Rose. There
he also existed for only three months, and he became
engaged by Mike Thomashefsky to play in Philadelphia at
the Columbia Theatre, which could be found on Green
Street. Later he went over with Mike Thomashefsky to the
Franklin Theatre, and then the Arch Street Theatre,
where he remained for an entire twelve years.
In the Arch Street theatre
Anshel Schorr staged many plays under his name, but with
many of them er zikh zayer veynik angehert. He knew very
much, but he could not be a great actor, so he turned to
becoming a dramaturge. If he..."
As ambitious as S. was,
recalls Celia Adler in her memoirs, when Mike
Thomashefsky decided to compete against the Arch Street
Theatre, which then had been run by three partners, i.e.
Yehoshua (Jack) Gruber, Moshele Luber and S., and leased
the large "American Theatre," and made preparations to
bring Jacob P. Adler and Sara Adler in as stars. S. put
it this way:
"Anshel Schorr and his
partners decided that..."
In 1913 in the Novelty
Theatre there was staged S.'s comedy, "Dos zise meydl
(My Sweet Girl)" (music by Joseph Rumshinsky.)
The play, without the
knowledge, and without the name of the author, was
published in 1926 in Warsaw under the name, "Dos zise
meydl, oder, Dos pension meydl, a comedy in three acts,
adapted by R. M." A manuscript can be found in the
archives of YIVO.
At the same time there was
played S.'s "Di grine deytske," which was never
published, and thereof there is no manuscript. "Der
distrikt atoyrny (The District Attorney)" (adapted by
Paul Lindoy's [sp] drama, "Der anderer (The Other?),
which also was never published, and there is no
manuscript either. "Dos farlorene glik (Lost Happiness)"
(a lebensbild in four acts), adapted from Jacoby's play,
"Ehe," also was never published. A manuscript can be
found in the archives of YIVO.
In October 1913 there was
staged S.'s tsayt-bild, "Mendel Beiles,' which played
for a long time with Jacob P. Adler, and at the same
time by Max Rosenthal, which was never published. A
manuscript as "an operetta in four acts" can be found in
the archives of YIVO.
In 1914 there was also
staged S.'s play, "Libe un laydenshaft (Love and
Passion)." The play was never published and no
manuscript of it can be found.
In 1915 S.'s play, "Der sof
fun a gembler (The End of a Gambler?)," a melodrama in
four acts, was staged. The play was never published. A
manuscript can be found in the archives of YIVO.
On 8 October 1915, in
Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre, there was staged by
Kessler S.'s comedy-drama in five acts, "Hit oykh,
meydelekh (Beware, Girls!)."
In 1916 there was also
staged S.'s comedy, "Oy, vos meydlekh zaynen." The play
was never published, and it no manuscript of it exists
in the archives of YIVO.
In 1917 there was staged
S.'s tsayt-piese "Dos naye rusland (The New Russia?)."
The play was never
published, and there is no manuscript of it that can be
On 1 November 1918, through
Thomashefsky, there was staged at the National Theatre,
S.'s tsayt-bild, "Nokh der milkhome (After the War),"
music by Rumshinsky The play also at the same time was
staged in Philadelphia (music by Friedsell.)
The play was never
published, and no manuscript of it can be found.
On 5 October 1920 in New
York's Second Avenue Theatre, there was staged S.'s
play, "A shvester's opfer (A Sister's Sacrifice),"
subject by Freiman, which was never published and no
manuscript of it is known to exist.
Around the same time there
was also staged in Philadelphia S.'s play, "A moyd mit
sekhel (A Sensible Girl)," music by Yudele Belzer. The
comedy was never published. A manuscript of it can be
found in the YIVO Archives. (The comedy in a new
adaptation by Jacob Kalich was staged on 23 October 1925
in New York, at the Second Avenue Theatre, with Molly
Picon in the title role, under the name "Molly Dolly"
(music by Joseph Rumshinsky), and later was played
across many Yiddish theatres in America.)
Sh. E. from
Anshel Schorr and Jonas Turkow.