Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Aaron Nager


Born in November 188 in Vilna, Polish Lithuania. He learned in a cheder, and a city school and privately with a teacher. At the age of sixteen he immigrated with a grandmother to America. Here he became a stand-in in the Union Theatre, and shortly thereafter founded a dramatic club, for which he composted a sketch "Father and Son", which later was performed in the first Yiddish vaudeville theatre  of Yonah Spivak. Then he founded a vaudeville theatre in Pacific Garden, and after acting there for a year, traveled to London, where he began to act in Yiddish theatre. Launched by the competition from Zygmunt Feinman, he founded a Yiddish vaudeville theatre there, then he settled in Paris, where he opened "Nager's Comedy Theatre", for which he wrote vaudeville by himself.

Being in London, he wrote under the pseudonym "Nit keyn yold" theatre critiques in a humoristic journal "Der blofer", and published in print in special editions many composed couplets.

From London N. traveled to Argentina, where he acted in the local Yiddish theatre, then he returned to Europe and acted in Yiddish theatre in France, England, Holland and Germany, later immigrating to Russia, acting in the area of Poland until Siberia and returned to America, where he went on to write songs for records and plays for the Yiddish theatre.

N. had, besides many sketches, also written the plays:


  • "Nikolay der tsvayter (Nicholas II)", (staged by Jacob Spivakovski in Paris)

  • "Iz a froy a mentsh?", performed in London's Perigen Theatre by Joseph Kessler and Dina Feinman)

  • "Der lustiker foygl (The Lovely Bird)" (performed by Joseph Sherman in London, and then in Warsaw, Galicia and Romania.

  • On 11 September 1923 in Brooklyn's Hopkinson Theatre, there was staged, under the direction of Isidor Hollander, "Hulye kaptsn, a comedy in three acts by Steinberg and Nager". On 18 April 1927 it was staged in the same theatre under the name "A khazendl oyf shabbes" (music by Yidl Belzer), and later it became popular in Europe through Nellie Casman, under the name "Dos khazendl".

  • On 3 September 1926, under the direction of Jacob Kalich, there was staged in New York's Kessler's Second Avenue Theatre, with Molly Picon in the title role, "Der kleyner mazek (The Litttle Devil)", libretto by Aaron Nager, music by Joseph Rumshinsky, lyrics -- A. Lillian and Molly Picon.

  • On 15 April 1927 in the Public Theatre, there was staged, under the direction of Aaron Lebedeff, with him in the title role, N.'s operetta, "Der kleyner milyoner" (music by Sholom Secunda).

  • On 4 January 1929 in the Hopkinson Theatre, there was staged his melodrama "A khasene in prizon (A Wedding in Prison", which in December 1930 was staged by the "European Cooperative Troupe" in the McKinley Square Theatre, under the name "Mames, hit eyere kinder!, by Ben-Pinkhes".

  • On 7 January 1929 in the Rolland Theatre, there was staged by Jacob Rechtzeit N.'s musical comedy "Abe's Baby" (music and lyrics -- Jacob Rechtzeit), which was earlier staged by Julius Nathanson in Boston.

  • In May 1929 by William Schwartz, there was staged in the Excelsior Theatre in Buenos Aires, N.'s "Der eybiker nar".

  • On 28 October 1932 in Brooklyn's Amphion Theatre, there was staged by L. Kremer N.'s melodrama "Ven es felt a mame (When a Mother Feels)".

Outside of this, there was also staged by Bernard Elving in Newark, N.'s melodrama "Der goldener khasen".

N. also (together with Hershel Glick) wrote the melodrama "Der gan-eden (The Garden of Eden)".

Sh. E.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- In di brukliner idishe teaters, "Tog", N. Y., 14 September 1923.

  • N. Buchwald -- Bowery un sekond avenyu, "Frayhayt", N. Y., 10 September 1926.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Der nayer sizan in idishin teater, "Forward", N. Y., 14 September 1926.

  • A. Frumkin -- "Der kleyner mzik" in sekond avenyu teater, "Tog", N. Y., 15 September 1926.

  • A. M. Mandelbaum -- "Der kleyner milyoner", "Frayhayt", N. Y., 6 May 1927.

  • Y. B. [Botoshansky] -- "Der eybiker nar" fun f. nager, oysgefirt in teater "ekselsior" fun v. shvarts, "Prese", Buenos Aires, 2 June 1929.

  • Sh. R. [Rozhansky] -- "Der kluger nar" fun a. nagler oyfgefirt fun viliam shvarts, "Di idishe tsaytung", Buenos Aires, 2 June 1929.

  • Spectator [N. Frank] -- "A khasune in prizon", melodrame in 3 akten geshpilt fun tsile liptsin un heri tsheykovski in royal variete, "Parizer haynt", 10 July 1930.

  • M. Ginzburg -- "A khasuna in prizon", "Keneder odler", Montreal, 21 November 1930.

  • Jacob Kirschenbaum -- "Mames hit eyere kinder" -- in mekinly sqver teater, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 12 December 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 1384.

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