Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Misha Budkin


B. was born on 18 April 1885 in Novy Bueg, Kherson Gubernia, Ukraine. His father was a former colonist, later a grain merchant. Until age nine he learned in a cheder, then with an uncle, a Talmud Torah, in the Jewish colony of Novopoltavka. He returned to Novy Bug, where B. became a choir boy with a cantor.

In 1904 itinerant Yiddish actors arrived from their travels, and under their influence he organized a group of young people in the village, among also was B., and he directed in the span of two nights "The Sale of Joseph" by Elikum Tsunzer on 17 October 1906.

After his father's death, he represented him in business. B. traveled once to Zhitomir, where he found Mishurat's troupe, with whom he was introduced to in the village, and he subsequently entered into the troupe and acted with them for several months.

In 1907 B. acted with Sabsey, and in 1908 he and Guzik together directed the troupe, but due to persecution by those in power, the troupe soon disbanded, and B. then acted in various troupes until 1912, when he entered into Fishzon's troupe. In order to avoid military service in 1917, he was forced with several actors to immigrate to Harbin, where he, Lebedeff, Kushtshinsky and Iris became mobilized by the Kerensky government as an "army theatre circle", acting in Russia for the soldiers.

Due to the political environment, the Yiddish actors had to flee from there, and as such they went to Shanghai, where part of the Fishzon troupe had been acting in Yiddish for a short time, and then B. immigrated to Canada. Here B. acted for two seasons in Winnipeg, and he then came in May 1923 to the United States, where he acted for two years in vaudeville, and from time to time in legitimate theatre.

From 1925-7, B. participated  together with his wife (Celia) in concert tours of  the "Arbeter ring (Workmen's Circle)".

In 1927 B. was taken into the union, and soon thereafter was engaged by Glickman in Chicago.

In 1928-9 B. acted in Montreal, and in 1929-30 he was in Detroit with Littman.

Sh. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 145.

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