Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Hymie Prizant


Born in Kishinev, Bessarabia, to poor parents. His father was an artistic painter. He learned in a cheder and sang as a choir boy. At the same time he learned Russian with a tutor, later in a Russian school, where he also sang in the chorus.

After the Kishinev pogrom in 1903 he migrated with his father to America, where he learned drawing from his father, from whence he became a decorator in Philadelphia. After his father passed away, he went in 1905 to Russia, where he worked as a decorator. In 1905 he sang "Heyse babkelekh (Hot Cakes)" in Goldfaden's "Bobe Yakhne" in an amateur production under the direction of Itshele Schwartz. In 1906 he fled to London, England, and there joined in a vaudeville troupe, where he acted in Christian Street Hall (Leon Berger, the Chizik brothers et al). Not drawing, therefore, an income, he was forced to do various trades. Later he crossed over as a professional in the troupes of Moshe Dovid Waxman ("Pavilion Theatre"), Sigmund Feinman (playing "Samuel" in Gordin's "The Kreutzer Sonata," and "Motele" in "God, Man and Devil," during the guest appearance of Morris Moshkovich), and in M. D. Waxman's troupe in Paris in the "Théâtre St-Denis." Then he was with a troupe that traveled "by foot," traveling across Germany and acting in Aachen, Hanover, Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Frankfurt and in Berlin, under the direction of the Levental brothers. During a production with the troupe in Bad Nauheim, where there was also a guest of the Russian tsar, he was arrested for singing a nihilistic song and was sent up the middle leg (etap) to Russia.


In 1910 in Kishinev he joined Fukelman's theatre under the direction of Genfer, and he acted in the middle role of Rakov's "Der talmid-khokhem."

In 1911 he toured with Zolotnitzky's troupe across old and new Bessarabia, then he became engaged by Sabsey for Odessa as a coupletist and later in one-acters in the newly-build Yiddish theatre "Navosti," which in 1912 became a legitimate theatre.

In 1913 he went over to the troupe of Sam Adler, Kanevsky-Kharlamp and later to the trope of Zhitomirski. At the end of 1913 he immigrated to Paris and acted in Esther Wallerstein's troupe, then with Morris Akselrad, finishing the year with Spivakowski in Belgium.

In 1914 he arrived in America and staged in New York's "Manhattan Lyceum" Abraham Blum's play, "Der eybiker kamf (The Eternal Struggle)." Later he migrated across America with Lea Largman's troupe.

In 1916 he was engaged in Cleveland ("Globe Theatre") under the direction of Esther Wallerstein and Isidore Lash, where they played for three months "Der royter distrikt (The Red District)."

In 1917 he was in Boston at the "Grand Opera House" under the direction fo Jacob Kalich and Dina Feinman.

From 1919-1921 he was with Gerner in Chicago.

In 1924 P. was in Elving's "Metropolitan Theatre" in Newark.

In 1925 he guest-starred in Paris, Antwerp, Brussels and Bucharest.

In 1926 he acted in Joseph Kessler's Bronx "McKinley Square Theatre."

In 1927 he was in Mike Thomashefsky's "Garden Theatre" in Philadelphia.

In 1928 he was in Littman's "People's Theatre" in Detroit.

In 1930 P. guest-starred in London.

In 1931 he was in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Excelsior Theatre), where he played with exceptional succesin in the play "Zise momentn (Sweet Moments)."

In 1932 he directed with "Figaro Playhouse" in Los Angeles.

In the years 1933-1935 he guest-starred in London's "Pavilion Theatre," in the "Folly Dramatic Theatre" in Paris (where he directed Y. Khhomski's "Mendel Bankrotnik"), and across Romania (Bucharest, Iasi, Czernowitz and the provincial cities.)

In 1936 he acted in Brooklyn, New York at the "Hopkinson Theatre."

In the summer of 1937 he again guest-starred in New York's "Public Theatre" with Molly Picon and Aaron Lebedeff.

In 1938-1939 he guest-starred three times in Buenos Aires ("Teatro Mitre"), and in Montevideo, Uruguay ("Teatro Soleil").

In 1940 he directed with a troupe in the "Mason Opera House" in Los Angeles.

In 1942 he acted and stage-directed in the "Manhattan Theatre" in Cleveland.

In 1943-1945 he was the business manager in the "Douglas Park Theatre" in Chicago (director Oscar Ostroff), where he also put on dance and performed in special productions

Sh. E. from Fishl Witkover.

M. E. from his brother Shlomo Prizament, and Joel Spiegel.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 1876.

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