Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Clara Langsner


:L. was born in 1886 in Skamarak, a hamlet near Butshatsh, Galicia, to very religious parents. Her father--a name in a liquor brewery, there came later a position in the shtetl Monasterzhisk, where L. learned in a cheder and she finished later four classes of a folkshul. Due to a Potter's death she was forced to search for income and became a [lern]-girl for a seamstress.

In 1903 she was brought b her brother to New York, where she worked with women's clothing, and she often attended Yiddish theatre. In 1907 she went to Toronto, where she entered into the local "Progressive Dramatic Club", and she also performed in part-time roles with the guest-starring professional Yiddish troupes. Here she became engaged by Michaelson for his troupe in Buffalo (Michaelson, Hollander, Aba Shoengold et al.), and she acted then in a Toronto troupe (Fishl Zinger, Yakov Goldstein et al), who also guest-starred in Montreal.

She returned to New York....L., as a non-union member, could not come close to the professional Yiddish stage. She acted only in a "literary dramatic club", and then in a "progressive dramatic club", where (together with Tenenholz, Dubinsky, Weisberg, Goldstein and Henrietta Schnitzer), she performed in Peretz's one-acters and in the plays of Hirshbein, Zudermann, Hauptmann, et al. First when Louis Schnitzer opened the 27th Street Theatre, she was engaged there and acted for two seasons, having the opportunity to perform with Ben-Ami and Schildkraut, later she acted in the same theatre (Director: Schwartz) in small roles until 1924.

In 1925 she acted in Schildkraut's theatre and in the same year went over to the English stage and she acted with Sam H. Harris in the play "Vi amereikens" (with Muni Weisenfreund), 1926-27 with Weisenfreund in the play "Di for vols", 1927-28 with George Jessel in "Vor song", and in 1929 she acted with Louie Holtz across the American province in the piece "Beulah of Broadway".

In 1930 L. acted in Yiddish in Mark Schweid's Art Theatre in the Bronx and then again she went over to the English stage as "the Yiddish mama" in the play "Counsellor-at-Law" (with Muni Weisenfreund) by Elmer Rice.

In April 1929 L. acted in the role of the Yiddish mother in the talkie "Lasakes".

M. E.

  • Alan Dale Finds -- "We Americans", "New York American", 14 October 1926.

  • Mildred Shlickerman -- Behind the Footlights with Clara Langsner, "The Jewish Tribune", N. Y., 2 December 1927.

  • Magda West -- "Jewish Duse" Stars as MOther, "Sunday Times", Chicago, 5 June 1932.







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 994.

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