Museum of Family History 

          Visit Us           Site Map           Exhibitions           Education & Research           Multimedia           About the Museum           Contact Us           Links 



The Rolland Theatre
(later the Parkway Theatre)
1768 St. Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY
This production opened on December 21, 1928.



by Louis Freiman, music by Sholom Secunda


The following review, written by Ab. Cahan for the Yiddish Forward newspaper, was first published on January 4, 1929. Here it is:

Once before in Brownsville [Michal] Michalesko produced an operetta in which he alone has partly played the role of a young man who presents himself as a girl. With this he had a great success.

Michal Michalesko Michal Michalesko, dressed as a woman.

He is now performing in a similar play -- but with an entirely other subject -- in the Rolland Theatre. The play is called, "Senorita," which is what a Spanish girl is called. The Spanish girl -- this is Michalesko. He speaks with a girlish voice. He moves with the movements of a girl. He displays the girlish graces, he dances in a girlish manner, and the father of the girl with whom he is in love and who is against this match, doesn't recognize him. Even the girl herself, who is in love with him, also doesn't recognize him.

It goes from scene to scene after scene, and everything is put together so cunningly that one stays and laughs. He is not recognized at all. I do not mean the public. Oh, no! He, the words the public recognizes him, yes. Otherwise, people would not laugh. The play is positively a piece of "nonsense", but the "nonsense" is so explained that the cheerfulness in the large theatre stretches like a chain with chains. People laugh non-stop.

Going to the tailor scene in the first act.
Lucy Levine, Jacob Rechtzeit, Annie Lubin and the chorus.

The greatest fun is at the end, when one "learns" that the "Senorita" is none other than the beautiful Volodia, the hero of the novel, with which the bridesmaid is so much in love. And then they find out first at the canopy, under which she places a forced poor man with an unwanted groom, whom her evil father wants to impose on her.

The ceremony at the canopy is performed by a ... cantor, who sings in a highly ornamented style, with a hair in the truly highly ornamental cantorial manner. Suddenly the cantor grabs it and, instead of giving the ring to the groom to put it on the bride's finger, he puts on the ring himself and shouts, "You are holy!" At that very moment, he tears off his beard, and it turns out that this is the beautiful, heroic Volodia, in other words --- Michal Michalesko. It means, consequently, that in defeating the evil father, she even marries the heroine with the hero.

It produces a real commotion of laughter and of contentment. I laughed no less than everyone. But But I laughed even more a minute earlier, when the cantor began to sang the way he did. Michalesko does it with a lot of fun.

Lucy Levine and Michal Michalesko.   Michal Michalesko kisses his bride, Lucy Levine.
Annie Lubin and Jacob Rechtzeit in a comic duet.   Chana Levin, Jacob Wexler and Pauline Hoffman in a comic scene.

The first act comes naturally in the old country, and the second act (also natural, but whether it is natural or not -- Who asks the question on such things? -- My father laughs.) The second act takes place in America. The only thing I have to say about the play is that Michalesko plays in the first act the role of a boot shiner. He, the hero, the handsome young one, he who enchants hearts, makes a living from when he walks around with a box, with a pair of brushes, and polishes shoes!

Something not a heroic deed, nor an operatic deed ... he would at least have booted up in a city like New York, Paris or Brownsville. One would imagine that one could make a living from such a livelihood. The story, however, takes place in a small starving town in the old country. Reluctantly, she turns around: "With whom is he putting on his shoes? Since when has this been done in those calculated positions by professionals boot shiners?"

Never mind: Once you have undertaken not to ask any questions, I will keep my word. You will not find any other errors. If one laughs, and one dances a lot, and one sings a lot, and there is a lot of merriment.


Lucy Levine, the heroine of the novel, has a couple of scenes, and she moves the audience strongly. In one scene, she comes to dance with the bridegroom, and she is noticed strongly by the audience. In one scene she dances with the groom, with whom her father wants to force her to marry. The dance represents her dissatisfaction, her protest, and it comes out quite effective.

Through the play a woman plays the role of Volodia's mother. As such it is Anna Levin (Mrs. Michalesko).

As the young man, for whom they want the heroine to marry, against her wishes, it is played by Louis Birnbaum. He has little to do, but he appears as a handsome young man, and with a little, pleasing humor.

Annie Lubin has a role ostensibly as a sister of the heroine. As usual, she plays with a lot of temperament. She doesn't rest for a minute. And the not resting is not a griltsender. She makes a good impression.

Very active on the stage is Jacob Wexler in a comical role as a sheftel, an American. His role is a burlesque piece. He gives it a lot of fire and merriment.

Jacob Rechtzeit is also "all right."

Isidore Friedman, Harry Hochstein, Ray Schneier, David Baratz, Sam Gerstenzang, and Pauline Hoffman all have roles.

Overall, the play is played with "pep," and it is a lively world.




Copyright Museum of Family History. All rights reserved. Image Use Policy