Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Reuven Perlmutter


Born on 5 December 1880 in Kishinev, Bessarabia. His father was a mechanic at the distillery. He studied in a cheder, Russian school and completed a four-class gymnasium.

In 1895 he arrived to New York to his father, worked during the day in his father’s tobacco shop, and he learned in the evening studied in a "night" school (evening school).

He was active in the Jewish Socialist movement and in 1902 was one of the co-founders of a socialist monthly journal “Di tsukunft” (“The Future”), for three years was its manager, and later (in February of 1913) – a secretary of “Tsukinft Press Federation” (“The Future Press Federation”), while at the same time engaged in newspaper and magazine advertising.

Perlmutter was a frequent attendee at the Yiddish theatre and wrote several plays himself: “Der milioner” (“Millionaire”), a drama in five acts and six scenes; “Dos lebn” (“Life”), a family drama in four acts; “Der hoyker” (“Hunchback”), a drama in four acts; “Eltern un kinder” (“Parents and Children”), a family drama in four acts and five scenes; “Karbanot fun vol street” (“Victims of Wall Street“), a drama in three acts and four scenes). Some of the plays were purchased by David Kessler and Berta Kalich, but none of them was ever staged.

He also wrote one-act plays and sketches that were performed in Yiddish vaudeville houses by Sam Kestin, Max Gabel, Regina, and Sigmund Weintraub, Fannie Reinhardt, et al.

In 1902, Perlmutter published in the "Forward" an appeal to cultivate new young talent for the Yiddish theatre. On his initiative was founded the “Progresiv dramatik klub” ("Progressive Drama Club") (see "Progressive Drama Club," 1857), whose chairman he was for three years and attracted members for the club from his close friends: Joel Entin, Jacob P. Adler, Maurice Moshkovitsh, S. Tornberg, Z. Libin and Jacob Gordin.

In addition to stories in the “Forward”, "Di varhayt" (“The Truth”) and "Tog" (“Day”), Perlmutter published (beginning on 13 May 1904 in Philip Krants' "Die arbeter velt" (“The Worker’s World”) a series of articles about the Yiddish theatre.

Perlmutter acted as the narrator of his stories at concerts and literary evenings, and he participated in productions of the “Progresiv dramatik klab” ("Progressive Drama Club"): Sholem Aleichem “Tsezayt un tseshprayt” (“Scattered and Persecuted”), Z. Libin's “Dovid un zayn tokhter” (“David and his Daughter”) and “Zalts un vaser” (“Salt and Water”).

Perlmutter was also editor and publisher of "Die teater velt" ("The Theater World").

An illustrated monthly magazine published by R. Perlmutter and company,

From November 1908 to March 1909 in New York there were printed five issues of the journal, with the following authors published: Jacob Gordin, Abraham Reyzen, Yehoash, David Pinski, Z. Libin, V. Vladeck, M. Leontiev (L. Moseevs),  Zolotarev, William Edlin, B. Gorin, etc.

In 1911-1912, Perlmutter was chairman of the "Music Lovers Society", which declared its aim to be the spread of good music among the Jewish masses. He was also the manager of "Manhattan Symphony Orchestra” with conductor Vladimir Dubinsky.

 In 1917 Perlmutter was a delegate (of the National Socialist "Ticket") to the first "American Jewish Congress."

Sh. E.

·          Reuven Perlmutter – Mistakes of writers-historians, “Forward”, N.Y., August 21, 1931.






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 3, page 1842.

Translation courtesy of Iosif Lakhman.

Copyright ©  Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.