Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Nathan Dranov


Born circa 1884 in Fundakleevka, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine, to pious parents. He learned in a cheder, a yeshiva, and sang with Nissan Belzer.

At the age of eighteen, he left home with a Castilian-Italian itinerant troupe, where D. at first was a prompter, then a soloist in a chorus, attracting attention to his beautiful baritone voice.

After traveling for several years with the troupe, the director set forth a requirement to convert to Christianity. D. rejected the requirement, performed for the troupe and went over to Sabsey's Yiddish troupe, where he performed in lover roles.

Since then D. has acted in the prominent Yiddish troupes of Russia and Poland, going from cheap operetta and melodramatic to pure dramatic and operetta repertoire. Thus D. became very popular as "Uriel Mazik" in Gordin's "God, Man and Devil", "Apolon" in Gordin's "Sappho", "Eliezer" in Skrib's "Zhidovka', "Yankel Shapovitsh" in Asch's "God of Vengeance", "De Silva" in Gutzkov's "Uriel Akosta", "Mnukh" in "Shulamis", "Eliezer" in "Bar Kochba", "Avraham" in "The Sacrifice of Isaac", and "Dr. Yozelman".

In the period when the Yiddish stage in Poland began to act in the new, original and translated repertoire, and D. was one of the avant-garde writers and created excellent types for "Meir Shalant" 


in Sholem Aleichem's "Tsezayt un tseshprayt", "Bendet" in Asch's "Der landsman", "Lord Melville" in "Kin", et al.

D. was in Russia-Poland for one of the talented and varied Yiddish performer and had formed a special capacity to draw up the type and character that he had put together on the stage, even with his imposing position. Outside of this, he was gifted with a pure diction and a practical, hele baritone voice.

Due to an umheylbarer illness. D. became deaf in one ear and had to perform only in already studied repertoire, especially in his popular dramatic etudes: "Der meshugener in shpitol, a dramatic etude in one act, adapted [after Gogol], and performed by N. Dranov, Warsaw, Tr"st" [13 pp., 32], also published by Max N. Meisel, New York, [7 pp., 16], "Di nakht fun zelbstmord oder vos iz der tsyel fun Leben?, a dramatic etude in one act, adapted for the Yiddish stage for the known artist N. Dranov, Warsaw, Tr"ed" [14 pp., 32].

These one-acters were in his time the foundation of the repertoire for the various amateur circles, also many actors had very feyerprub in these one-acters.

With the outbreak of the World War, D. was found in Minsk, where he was director of a troupe and acted in Dumas' "Kin", [editor Zalmen Zylbercweig]. Then D. wandered across various cities in Russia until he arrived in 1917 in Charbin. On the way, he was robbed, suffered a concussion and lay for three years in a hospital for gervn-kranke, he died in Charbin on 20 September 1920.

M. EW. from his wife Nadya and Sh. E. from Hersh Kushtshinsky.

  • N. Y. -- In teater "elizeum", "Theatre World", Warsaw, 3, 1908.

  • Noakh Prilutski -- "Yidish teater", II, p. 93.

  • Boris Thomashefsky -- Interesante idishe shoyshpiler in odes, "Forward", 7 December 1913.

  • M. B--n -- Idisher aktyor dranov geshtorbn in kharbin, "Forward", 19 November 1920.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 569.

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