Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Abraham Littman


Born on 1 December 1880 in Borisov, Minsk Gubernia, White Russia. His father was a lumber merchant. He learned in a cheder, a Minsk yeshiva, and because of this, that his father passed away when he was young, and his mother, who had married a dark artist, immigrated to America, and L. had to dernern from learning to write children.

In June 1895, L., together with his sister, arrived in America, where he entered into work in a jacket shop, learned in a night school, and attended for the first time the Yiddish theatre. Seeing Mogulesko and Hymowitz act, L. thus became excited about the theatre, so that he began to neglect the work, and he became a permanent theatre attendee and a stand-in.

In 1896 L. organized the stand-ins as a dramatic club under the name "Star Dramatic Club", directed a play in the Manhattan Lyceum, [and] wrote for two club members. The productions came five to six times per year, and L. thus was the business director and secretary, as L. directed and acted for several years with "amateur" productions.

In 1900, L. went together with Mae Simon, Hyman Rappoport et al, to Buffalo, where they acted for a long time in Turin Hall, under the direction of the permanent advocate Krilov, and then in Rochester, where hey had to by night work in a shop of men's coats, in order to also have hiunh.


The troupe consisted of Berel Bernardi, Bennie and Joseph Shoengold and Esther Waksman, and L. was the manager of the troupe which acted there for a season.

Returning to New York, L. again entered into work in a jacket shop and traveled around with "amateurs" across the environs of New York, where they acted every Sunday during the day, etc. Of L. 1903 -- he traveled with the same troupe for two years across America, working often during the day in shops. He returned to New York and joined in as a protocol secretary, and then as a financial secretary in the actors union Local 18 (2), which directed a struggle against the second actors union. After amtirn for eight years in the Union, Local 18, and directing with productions in the province, also performing  in 1908 in vaudeville, L. took over (1912-13), together with Sam Auerbach and Morris Weissman the theatre in Toronto, 1913-14 -- (together with Auerbach and Morris Krohner) co-managed  the Toronto theatre and (together with Auerbach) the Lyceum Theatre in New York. 1914 -- manager (together with David Levinson and Yetta Blank) in Toronto, but due to the outbreak of war, transferred, after seven weeks, the productions. 1915-16 -- manager with Joseph Shoengold in Newark, afterwards for a time an agent for Singer's new machines and for life insurance.

1918-20 -- L. directed for a short time with a troupe in Toronto, then he founded a cooperative to built a Yiddish children's theatre, became manager of the troupe in the newly built Standard Theatre, but after several months, he went out and took over once again the previous theatre with a Yiddish variety troupe, then he directed with a "chain" three troupes in Detroit-Buffalo-Toronto, and then three years (together with Moshe Schorr and Misha Fiszon), directing with the Circle Theatre in Detroit.

After leading by himself for a year with the direction in the Majestic Theatre in Detroit, L. succeeded, through a private person, to build on 7 September 1927 "Littman's Peoples Theatre" (Detroit, 12th and Seward Street), where L. in 1928-29 was (together with Sam Auerbach) director, 1929-30 -- the sole director, 1930-31 -- co-director, 1931-32 -- with Pesachke Burstein, Misha Fiszon and Benjamin Blank, and in 1932-33 with Harry Landman.

On 2 December 1930 in L.'s theatre, there occurred in an impressive manner the celebration of his fiftieth birthday.

Since 1912 L. has withdrawn from acting on the stage.

M. E.

  • B. Brenveys [Sh. Weinberg] -- Avraham litman, tsu zeyn fuftsig yerigen yubileum, "Forward", Detroit, 29 November 1930.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1052.

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