Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Isidore Lash
(Yitzhak Lesh; Izidor Leshtshinski)

Born on 6 October 1887 in Kharkov, Ukraine. His father was a teller in the Russian state bank. After his father's death, L., as a three-year-old child, was placed by his mother in Volozhin (Vilna Gubernia), with her father, from whom he received a strong religious upbringing. At age eleven he was send to a Lomza yeshiva, at age twelve to Radin to Kheyfets Hayim, then to Novorodok and later to R' Refoel in Volozhin.

At the age of fifteen, L. came to his sister in America, and here he learned for three years in R' Yitzhak Elkhanan's yeshiva. Then he went to Cleveland, where he attended a vaudeville house for the first time. The content of the pieces performed made a bad impression on him, and he wrote an one-acter "Der politisher farbrekher farn gerikht", which there was performed with a great success. Then he came into contact with Yiddish theatre, where he remained as a prompter and sketch writer and was engaged to Sam Agid in New York, where he worked for two years, composing each week a three-act sketch, and then for two years in the People's Music Hall. For the time of his work in the vaudeville hall, L. wrote around one hundred and fifty three act sketches, which he built around genuine themes.

Around 1910 L. was engaged to Max Gabel, who staged L.'s play "Yidishkayt", and around 1911 "Der get" and "In thum fun nyu-york" (performed on 24 March 1922 in Gabel's 116th Street Theatre under the name "Di naye laydenshaft (The New Passion [?]), in four acts by Max Gabel and Isidore Lash").


On 15 October 1913 in the Grand Music Hall, with Mae Simon in the main role, there was staged L.'s "Der kales troyer (The Bride's Grief [?]), a drama in four acts" [subject taken from A. Chechov's "Di dray shvester (The Three Sisters)"], and on 23 October 1913 the play in four acts "Shets dayn froy", which on 16 March 1923 was staged by Samuel Goldenburg in Gabel's 116th Street Theatre under the name "Karbonus fun lebn, a comedy-drama in four acts by Isidore Lash, music by Louis Friedsell".

In 1915 he was with Ester Wallerstein in the main role in Cleveland in L'.s play "Froyen-hertser", which was already in the Lyric Theatre under the name "Froyen-hertser, oder, Di tseshterte khupah, a lebensbild with songs in four acts, music by Secunda". The same play on 31 March 1916 was staged in Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre under the name "Froyen libe, a comedy-drama in four acts by I. Lash. Music by Brody and Friedsell" and soon thereafter on 18 April 1916 in the same theatre under a new name "Di groyse liebe, a comedy-drama by I. Lash, adapted and staged by Jacob P. Adler".

In 1916 at the Grand (Theatre) in New York, there was performed L.'s play "Hertser un neshamus".

In June 1917 in Cleveland, there was staged L.'s play "Der roiter distrikt (The Red District)", which on 13 July 1917 was staged in new York's National Roof Garden in the offering of Leon Blank and Zygmunt Weintraub. The play, without the knowledge of the author, was later adapted for Europe, and here it was staged often under the name "Oyfn veg keyn buenos aires", and under the name it was published anonymously in 1931 in Warsaw, without the fourth act ["Oyfn veg keyn buenos aires (Unter der roiter lamter), a sensational play in three acts (according to the original) Warsaw, 1931", 41 pp.]

In 1917 there was staged with Dinah Feinman in the main role in Philadelphia's Arch Street Theatre L.'s four-act play "Di nit-farhayrate froy" [subject taken from a Spanish play], which on 19 July 1918 was performed in New York on The Second Avenue Roof Garden.

On 26 October 1918 through I. Lillian, there was staged in the Lyric Theatre L.'s "Vu in mayn vayb?, a comedy in four acts by Isidore Lash. On 3 January 1919, in the same theatre, L.'s "A froys mistake, a local lebensbild in four acts", and on 28 February 1919 "Di shmertsn fun libe, in four acts by Isidore Lash". The same play was later performed under the name "In a velt fun leydn" through Malvina Lobel during her guest-appearance in Argentina, and also under the same name it was staged on 15 January 1924 in New York's Irving Place Theatre.

Since then L. has written musical comedies, which have remained for a long time on the stage.

So on 7 April 1921 there was staged in Thomashefsky's National Theatre with Lebedeff in the title role, his musical comedy "Shlomke oyf brodvay" (music by Friedsell), and on 28 October 1921 -- "Yoshke khvat" (music by Herman Wohl), which also later, without the knowledge of the author, was brought to Europe, where it was performed many times under various names and also anonymously it was published in 1925 in Warsaw under the name "Lyovoke molodets".

On 28 April 1921 in the People's Theatre there was staged through Max Rosenthal L.'s four-act melodrama "Di froy in shtayg (The Woman in a Cage [?])" (music by Joseph Brody, with Rosenthal, Satz and Berta Gerstin in the main roles). The same play in November 1928 was staged through Joseph Kessler in London's Pavilion Theatre under the name "In a goldene shtayg".

On 27 April 1923 in the National Theatre there was staged his operetta "Fraylekhe kbtsnim" (music by A. Olshanetsky). The same operetta on 5 April 1928 was staged through Lebedeff in the National Theatre under the name "Itsikl sholtik" (lyrics by Jacobs).

On 29 August 1924 in the Grand Theatre there was staged L.'s "Der amser utsr, a musical comedy in three scenes, music by J. Tanzman", on 6 October 1924 -- "Der nayer khazan, in three scenes, music by J. Tanzman", and on 31 December 1924 in Rosa Zilbert's theatre [Hopkinson], staged through Jacob Zilbert -- "Velvele shtaygetz (music by Herman Zalis and Wm. Shumsky), which also on 30 March 1916 was staged through Lebedeff in the National Theatre under the name "Volodke in odes, a folks comedy, libretto in three acts by I. Lash, music -- Peretz Sandler", and later through various guest-starring actors very often was performed in Europe.

On 27 September 1927 in the Liberty Theatre there was staged by Anshel Schorr L.'s operetta "Zayn yidish meydl" (music -- Sholem Secunda), which in 1928 was performed through Dora Weissman during her guest-appearance in Europe.

On 27 February 1928 in the Hopkinson Theatre (with Lisa Silbert in the main role) there was staged L.'s drama "Alte yugnt", and on 21 December 1928, in the National Theatre, staged through Lebedeff -- "Der litvisher yenki (The Litvak Yankee)" (lyrics by Jacob Jacobs, music by A. Olshanetsky), which from the critics (JOel Entin in "Tsukunft") received special attention due to the pure Yiddish language of the libretto.

On 11 December 1929 in the Hopkinson Theatre there was staged through Jacob Rechtzeit L.'s play "Der odeser tentser", on 28 January 1930 -- the melodrama "Nit-gezetslekhe kinder" (which earlier was performed through Max Gabel and Jennie Goldstein in Newark's Metropolitan Theatre under the name "Amser libe"), and on 25 November 1930, in the National Theatre, staged through Lebedeff -- the operetta "Rusishe libe" (music by H. Wohl, with Lebedeff, Blank and Itzik Feld in the main roles).

On 1 October 1932 in the Lyric Theatre there was staged through Hymie Jacobson L.'s operetta "Aza meydele vi du" (music by Sholem Secunda).

L. in the first years of his theatrical activity also wrote sketches and songs in the "Fraye arbayter shtime", "Yidishes tageblat", and in other periodical editions in America.

For the 1929-30 season, L., together with Jacob Rechtzeit, took over the direction of the Hopkinson Theatre in Brooklyn, and for the 1932-33 season, together with Hymie Jacobson and Sholem Secunda, the direction of the Lyric Theatre in Williamsburgh (New York), from which he withdrew after several weeks.

L. was assistant editor for Thomashefsky's journal "Di idisher bihne", and was a member in the editorial collegium of the "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre (Volume 1).

L.'s wife is the Yiddish actress Rivka Lash, sister of the actress Lisa Silbert.

L.'s printed plays in Yiddish:

[1] [Anonymous], Liovke molodets, an operetta in three acts, publisher Sh. Goldfarb, Warsaw, 1925. [54 pp., 16], [L.'s "Yoshke khvat"]

[2] [Anonymous], Oyfn veg keyn buenos aires, UUnter der roiter lamter) [L.'s "Der roiter distrikt"], a sensational play in three acts (according to the original), Warsaw, 1931. [41 pp., 16].

M E.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, pp. 269, 281.

  • Aaron Rosen -- "Yoshke khvat" in tomashevskis teater , "Yidtageblat", N. Y., 4 November 1921.

  • Israel the Yankee [I. Fridman] -- "Frehlikhe kbtsnim", "Yidtageblat", N. Y., 7 March 1924.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- "Volodke in odes" in neshonal teater, "Tog", 9 April 1926.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- In un arum teater, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 9 April 1926.

  • L. Kesner -- "Volodka in odes", "Yidtageblat", N. Y., 9 April 1926.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Etlikhe teater notitsen, "Forward", N. Y., 30 April 1926.

  • A. Glantz -- Liberty un hopkinson teaters fihren oyf tsvey shehne piesen, "Der tog", N. Y., 7 October 1927.

  • L. Fogelman -- "Zayn idish meydel", -- naye operete in liberty teater, "Forward", N. y., 12 October 1927.

  • N. B. Linder -- Di forshtelung fun mitnvokh "Tog", N. Y., 14 October 1927.

  • Sh. R. [Rozhansky] -- "Zayn yidish meydel" fun i. lash, music by Sh. Secunda, "Idishe tsaytung", Buenos Aires, 9 July 1928.

  • J. B. {Botoshansky] -- "Zayn idish meydl" fun i. lash, music by Sholem Secunda in teater ekselsior, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 17 July 1928.

  • Aaron Kanievsky -- An operete vos vert geshpilt mit talant fun di shoysphiler in artsh strit teater, "Der tog", Philadelphia, 7 October 1928.

  • Kriitkus [Morris Meyer] -- "In a goldener shtayg", a komedye fun izidor lesh, oyfgefirt fun y. kesler, "Di tsayt", London, 2 December 1928.

  • [--] -- "In a goldener shtayg", "Di post", London, 2 December 1928.

  • A. Grafman -- Notitsen, "Der moment", Warsaw, 16 December 1928.

  • Git-shin [B. Shefner] -- Der general, dos sefer-turhle un di farlibte yidishe tokhter, "Naye folkstsaytung", Warsaw, 19 December 1928.

  • M. Kipnis -- "Zayn idish miidel" fun i. lesh, "Haynt", Warsaw, 31 December 1928.

  • Sh. Pan [Shayak] -- "Zayn yidish meydl", "Di post", London, 2 January 1929.

  • Ab. Cahan -- A lustige operetke vegen nyu-york un tshizheve -- in neshonal teater, "Forward", N. Y., 3 January 1929.

  • A. Glantz -- "Der litvisher yenki" in neshonal teater, "Der tog", N. Y., 4 January 1929.

  • A. Mandelbaum -- A naye operete in neshonal teater, "Frayhayt", N. Y., 1 February 1929.

  • J. Entin -- Der itstiger idisher teater-sezon, "Tsukunft", N. Y., February 1929.

  • Sh. R. -- "Zayn idish meydl" fun i. lesh, "Id. tsayt", Buenosi Aires, 7 April 1929.

  • N. Ts. [Tsuker] -- Zayn yidish meydl fun i. lesh, "Argentiner tog", Buenos Aires, 7 April 1929.

  • Sh. R. -- A lustike operete in "ekselsior", "Id. tsayt", Buenos Aires, 11 August 1929.

  • Spektator [N. Frank] -- "Zayn yidish meydl" oyfgefirt in "foli dramatik" fun kompaneyets troupe, "Parizer haynt", 9 September 1929.

  • L. Flamstein -- "Der odeser tentser" in hopkinson teater, "Der tog", N. Y., 20 December 1929.

  • D. Kaplan -- "Der odeser tentser" in "ekselsior", "Id. tsayt", Buenos Aires, 12 May 1930.

  • L. Fogelman -- "Rusishe libe" -- naye piese in neshonal teater, "Forward", N. Y., 5 December 1930.

  • N. B. Linder -- Di piese "rusishe libe" in neshonal teater, "Der tog", N. Y., 5 December 1930.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbayter shtime", N. Y., 19 December 1930.

  • Shmuel Rozhansky -- "Buenos aires" in a piese, "Di idishe tsaytung", Buenos Aires, 5 January 1931.

  • Z. Zylbercweig -- A bletl hfkrus fun unzere farlagn, "Chicago", Chicago, July 1931.

  • L. Flamstein -- "A meydele vi du" -- in lirik teater "Der tog", N. Y., 7 October 1932.

  • Samuel Kreiter -- "A Girl Like You", "Daily News", N. Y., 10 October 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 1172.

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