Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Rosa Karp


Born on 10 January 1882 in Focsani, Romania, to the actors Issachar Goldstein and his wife, Sophie, who later married Max Karp, who adopted her as his daughter.

As a four-year-old child, she arrived with her mother in America, where she learned in a public school, then completed high school. At the age of eight she performed in a children's role with her mother. From time to time she used to sing songs on the stage with Mogulesko, but this was interrupted, and at the age of twelve she performed in a prima donna role under the direction of Leon Blank. She stood out, but again she interrupted her acting until she was age sixteen, and she traveled with her parents to California, where she acted for several months. Returning to New York, she again cut short her stage activity, until her mother's death.

In 1905-06 she joined Thomashefsky's "People's" Theatre, where she acted for a long time in the prima donna role in "Prince Alexander", then with Adler in the "Windsor" Theatre as a singing prima donna, then opened the "Second Avenue" Theatre with Kessler, later over to Thomashefsky  in his "National" Theatre., then with Louis Goldberg, Bella Gudinsky, Samuel Rosenstein and Leon Blank, acted as a partner in the "Lenox" Theatre, but due to the bad business in the theatre, she went over to Bessie Thomashefsky in the "People's" Theatre. Around six times she traveled to California with her own troupes, acting for several seasons in the "Liberty" Theatre, returning to Kessler in his

"Second Avenue" Theatre. In 1923, after acting in "Der bobes yerusha", she nearly retired from the stage, performing in November 1924 in the "Prospect" Theatre.

K. acted in her theatre career in almost three hundred roles, from "Libele" in "Kuni lemel", to "Yede froy".

In her last years, K. was ill, and in January 1924 underwent an operation and had since then was under the care of a doctor.

On 29 March 1935 she passed away in New York, and was brought to her eternal rest at Mount Hebron Cemetery.

K. was married to the theatrical lawyer Charles Groll.

She left a daughter, a painter, who married Dr. Biderman.

In the necrology in "Morning Journal" [written by Jacob Kirschenbaum], it was said that:

"Rosa Karp acted in the theatre when the struggle among the music halls and the theatres came about, and she, being a trained singer with a good American-Jewish upbringing, had greatly assisted in the victory of theatre over the music halls. She was a beautiful, young woman, had a pleasant voice, and was attractive to the public and to the critics, both for her singins as well as her acting. Rosa Karp especially excelled in Gershom Bader's operetta, "The Rabbi's Melody", to which Joseph Rumshinsky had written the music, and in the operetta "Alma, vu voynstu? (Alma, Where Do You Live?)". These were nearly her last roles, because she went away from Yiddish theatre in a time when she had begun to go down. ...Rosa Karp wasn't only one of the best dramatic sopranos, but she also was a good dramatic actress, and thus she excelled in David Pinski's "Yankel der shmid (Yankel the Blacksmith)", and "Hershnde shklafn", which David Kessler had staged and acted in".

M. E.

  • Necrology in "Morning Journal".

  • Boris Thomashefsky -- Zayn lebens-bukh, "Forward", N. Y., 2 April 1936.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2593.

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