Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Charles Nathanson


N. was born in December 1874 in Minsk, White Russia, to intelligent, well-to-do parents. At the age of twelve, N. completed the city school, and then he learned languages privately.

In 1886 he immigrated with his family to America, and here N. learned in a public school and also privately.

At the age of seventeen N. by chance became familiar with a group of youngsters of a dramatic association, and his first performance there was in Hermalin's play "Der umgliklekher yetume". There developed in him a deep desire for the stage and, against the wishes of his parents, he left home in 1893. He almost was able to act unhindered in Yiddish theatre. Having the opportunity to act in Chicago with Kessler, Feinman and Lipzin, he came back to New York in 1894 and entered into Adler's trope in the Rumanian Opera House.

In the same year N. traveled by chance to London and there he was the first to act in Yiddish theatre in the Standard Theatre.

In 1896-7 he acted under several directors in Antwerp, Belgium, later in Paris and then again in England.

In 1898 N. became engaged by I. B. Gimpel for Lemberg, and from there he traveled together with Avraham Axelrad to Budapest and across the Hungarian province. Then he became a partner with Tanzman and Bergman across Galicia and

Bukovina, and from here traveled to Johannesburg (South Africa), where he acted for a year under his own direction with the actors Shacht, Katzman, Wallerstein, Marienstras et al.

Due to the Boer War, N. had to leave Arica and travel back to America, where he acted under Adler, Edelstein and Thomashefsky directing in the People's Theatre. Later he became director in the Columbia Theatre in Philadelphia, then a partner to construct the Grand Theatre in New York and also build the Palace Theatre in Chicago.

In 1912 N. guest-starred in Poland, then he returned to America and acted for several years with Adler, Kessler, Mogulesko, Thomashefsky and Blank.

From 1919-1929 N. was engaged by Louis Goldberg in New York, and in 1929-30 he was in Chicago's Lawndale Theatre. Then due to illness, he withdrew from acting.

Sh. E.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, p. 198.

  • [--] -- Vi azoy charles natanson in drum afrika, "Drum-afrika", 5, 1928.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1401.

Copyright   Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.