Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Sam Fogelnest


Born on 14 March 1888 in Warsaw, Poland. His father was a cantor in Praga, near Warsaw, where his family resided. He learned in a cheder, in a Praga Beit HaMedrash and in a Kaminka yeshiva. He sung as a choir boy with his father, and in 1914 when his father became a cantor in Warsaw, F. learned there in Bendet's shul.

Seized by a production of Lateiner's "Blimele" in the Muranovw Theatre, F. worked with the director Kompaneyets, who took him into the chorus. Eight months later, F. entered as a chorister and episodic performer in the itinerant troupe, which Misha German put together. Here he debuted as "Pristav" in Shomer's "Treyfniak." After the German's travels to America, the troupe bergenumen through Julius Adler, and F. remained here as a young comic in Gordin and other dramatic repertoire. Later he went over to Kompaneyets in Warsaw in lover roles and debuted in "Yeshiva bukher" by Solotorefsky, then he acted for two seasons with Kaminski, two months with Schwartzbard (1912), and he toured with a member troupe ( of Adler, Berman, Zhelazo, Morris Trilling, Sara Kutner, Gottfried et al.)

1913 -- acted in Vilna's "Folks Theatre" (Director N. Lipovski) in European operetta repertoire. In 1914, after the outbreak of the First World War, he migrated with Lipovski's troupe to Harbin. Here he acted for several seasons with the Harbin troupe


(that included Lebedeff and wife, Arco and wife, Abraham Fiszon and China Braginska, Nathan and Nadia Dranoff, Nadya Neroslavska, and Peretz Sandler, Misha and Celia Boodkin, and later A. Olshanetsky), until they performed the entire repertoire, and F. by himself took to writing plays: the melodrama "A sud farn toyt" and the operetta "Arontshik un solomontshik" (music by A. Olshanetsky, with Aron Lebedeff in the main role), which later also was staged in Los Angeles (through Sam Auerbach), under the name "Dos lebn in odes."

In 1919, when the first members left the troupe in Harbin, F. arranged concerts across the city of Shanghai with his wife and child, also Tinzin [Tianjin?] and Peking, until they traveled to America, where they arrived on 13 September 1923.

Here F. acted a season in the member troupe under the pseudonym of Wolf Shumsky, in the state of Oregon, 1924-1925 -- with Yakubovitsh across the American province, and 1926 in Winnipeg. 1927-1929 -- with Sam Auerbach in Los Angeles, then there with Thomashefsky, later in Detroit (director A. Littman and Misha Fiszon), where  there also was staged his melodrama in three acts with a prologue "Amol in der yungt," and in Cleveland (manager Benny Hoyrshberg), where there was staged his melodrama "Der letster briv" (27 November 1931, in the Manhattan Theatre), and the operetta "Der shumr fun shtetl" (music by Sam Solomon).

After that he acted again in Detroit, participating in various Yiddish productions across America, until the end went over to the theatre profession (?).

In Brooklyn's "Lyric Theatre" there was staged F.'s play "Di kluge khasinim", and Michalesko staged staged in Europe F.'s play "Mayn fargesene yungt."

F. also wrote the melodrama "Dem badkhan's trern" for Leon Blank, which had no proven track (could not prove that it was staged).

F.'s song texts ("lyrics") were sung by various Yiddish actors on the radio, in concerts and in the Yiddish vaudeville houses.

F.'s brother, Bernardi Bernardini (passed away in 1926 in Zurich, Switzerland), was a member in an Italian opera [company] in Italy.

Sh. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2199.

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