Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Nathan Rosenthal


Born in 1862 in Iasi, Romania, to well-to-do merchant parents. He received a Jewish education, privately with tutors, and secular studies with a teacher, completing a Romanian high school. Possessing a beautiful voice as a youth, he sang as a choir boy with a cantor and became an excited attendee in Shimeon Marks' "Pomul Verde", where Avraham Goldfaden had acted with his troupe.

R. began to act in Iasi with amateurs with the hope of becoming a professional actor. Goldfaden's troupe however left Romania due to the persecution of the Jews in Romania, traveling to America. Shortly thereafter, R. also arrived in America, and was able to act in New York, where he organized his own troupe with whom he acted across the American province, especially in Chicago.

According to William Siegel, R. possessed a strong tenor voice and a wishful figure for the hero roles, but he wasn't able to make enough income, and being that he was already married to Sheindele (Jennie), the daughter of Shimeon Marks, and a father of four daughters, he left Chicago and became a director of the "Park Theatre" in New York on 120th Street and Third Avenue, then of the "Royal Theatre" on Delancey. However, there he also hadn't any material success. His brother-in-law, Mike Thomashefsky (married to his sister-in-law Fanny Marks) arranged for him to be a "star" for his Columbia Theatre in Philadelphia. Here R. acted for three seasons. Also her two older

 daughters Sadie and Clara (for children's roles) performed on that stage. He returned again to New York, and not being able to join a theatre because he had not been taken into the union (under the conditions that existed then). He opened on Eldridge Street a restaurant for actors and named the foods with names from the theatre, such as "A steak a la Bar Kochba, a food a la Uriel Acosta, soup a la Shulamis, a food a la King Lear". Since gut-hartsikeyt in his restaurant had moreover dertsu, that he had to close the restaurant and again wander across the province with Yiddish theatre. However he again could not find any joy, and wanting to still remain with the theatre, especially when his children were growing from adolescents to full actresses: Sadie -- a prima donna, and Clara -- a soubrette. He organized a second actors union (Section 2), who only acted in the province. He also organized the vaudeville actors in a union, later known as Local 5, and he strove to unite all three sections in to one large union. Meanwhile, acting in the province, he became ill from a lung ontsindung, and in 1911 passed away in Hartford, Connecticut.

His third daughter, Molly (Malkhale) is a contributor in the "New York Daily Mirror", and is married to Yiddish playwright William Siegel.

Sh. E. from William Siegel.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2214.

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