Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Philip Laskowski


L. was born on 17 July 1889 in Warsaw, Poland. His father was a Radzmin Chasid, a lumber merchant. He learned with melamdim (religious teachers) and a teacher in his home, and as a youth sang with a cantor.

L.'s brother --  a music professor -- took him under his wings and taught him to act, with a plan to prepare him as a military kapellmeister, because practice gave him the opportunity , at the age of thirteen, to study the operetta "Bustni" with Kaminski. L. remained for two years as chorus director., hen he had the opportunity to act with Strasfogel as "Urkh" in  the one-act "Der man untern tish", and he remained as an actor until the outbreak of the World War, traveling with various Yiddish troupes across Poland and Russia.

When the German army captured Warsaw, there there was organized the "Central" Theatre, and L. entered into the theatre as an actor and he participated as a comical character in the then staged European operettas. Several of them were "Di kino kenigin", "Der veg tsum glik" and "Di tole komtese", where L. translated from German to Yiddish.

On the eve of the World War, L. composed his first composition for Nozyk's operetta "Dvoshe di subrazhisktke", which was performed across Russia and Poland. Afterwards he wrote (together with Belzatsky) the music for Y. L. Vohlman's operetta "Der shtroyener almn" and for the operetta "Di varshever yungt".

Due to military service, he left Poland, and in 1921 came to America, where he returned to acting on the stage and went over to conducting in the Yiddish theatre. He wrote compositions for the songs in the staged melodramas and compositions for full operettas.

L. wrote the music for the following staged operettas: "Der griner melamed", "Di griner kuzine", "(Di) bar mitzvah" and "Khd gdya" by Boris Thomashefsky, "In rabins hoyf" by Nestor, "Der mames gelibter" by H. Kalmanovitsh, "Avrahamale melamed" and "Farlangt a khasun" by S. H. Kon and "Di kenigin fun meyn harts" by Siegel.

In 1929-30 L. was conductor and composer in the Prospect Theatre.

In 1930-31 he was in the Hopkinson Theatre and then in Winnipeg.

In 1931-32 he was in Philadelphia's Arch Street Theatre.

In 1932-33 he was in Brooklyn's Liberty Theatre.

M. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1004.

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