Lives in the Yiddish
SHORT BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE INVOLVED IN
THE Yiddish THEATRE
aS DESCRIBED IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"
Mike (Mordechai) Thomashefsky
T. was born on 21 March 1873
in Asidniosky, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine. He was the
brother of Boris. He learned in a cheder, and at the age
of eight he came with his family to America. Here he
completed public school. At age twelve he became an
engraver and several years later became a stage
carpenter and a stage manager. Since 1890 he was manager
of Yiddish troupes in the Century Theatre in New York,
New Columbia, and the Arch Street Theatre in
Philadelphia, Standard, Franklin, and the Polly Theatre
in Baltimore and later he built the Metropolitan Theatre
In 1927-8 he was manager in
Philadelphia together with his brother Boris, and then
he was manager in the English vaudeville houses.
T. had put on at the
Hollywood Bowl, California, the spectacle "Joseph and
His Brothers" with the participation of several hundred
On 24 July 1932 T. passed
away in New York and he came to his eternal rest in
T.'s wife Fannie acts on the
William Siegel writes about
T. in the Philadelphia "Idishe velt (Yiddish World")":
"Max, or Mike, as we used to
call him, did not possess the abilities of his brother
or sister to be an actor. However it was the Yiddish
theatre, perhaps because [as] one of the Thomashefsky
family had created the [leydn] of the pioneers of the
Yiddish theatre in America. ...By his nature he was a
theatre adventurist. He had a anxious spirit. As he
himself at times had said: "Better to be a good manager
than a bad actor". At times he also acted in the
theatre, but he had given it up. He hadn't wanted to
research the Thomashefsky family. ...He loved
discipline, was a fantasizer, and he had wanted to
introduce the Broadway discipline. ..He loved to bring
out talent for the Yiddish stage".
M. E. and M. E. from Jacob Mestel.
William Siegel --
Meyk tomashevsky -- der avanturist fun idishen
teater, "Di idishe velt", Philadelphia, 26 July
Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the "Lexicon
of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig,
Volume 2, page 846.
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