Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Dave Samolesko

Born in 18... in Pantshe (Panciu), Romania. As a youth he sang with a cantor, had the desire for the stage, and due to that this his parents were against it, and he fled from home for Constantinople. Because of the very harsh conditions, he migrated across various countries, until he suggested himself as a matron in 1897 for America.

According to Moshe Zilberstein, S. was a coupletist even in the varieties in Romania, and from there went away to London, where he became an English actor, and there used to in one evening perform in several theatres and became very popular.

He came to America and S. for the first time worked in a cafe-salon as a worker, then in a tin factory, and later became  an assistant to Mogulesko in a theatre, and rewrote roles. Here at times he saw Mogulesko "present himself", who had encouraged him to perform in the Vienna cellars with Mogulesko's songs. S. sang then for brisses and once for his benefit(?) in Turin Hall he acted in the role of "Kuni lemel" in "Both Kuni Lemels". Later he became engaged in varieties to Spivak in the "First Yiddish Atlantic Garden" on 1333 Eldridge Street. Here he had great success with his songs, especially with his countrymen of his Romanian... Later he went over to the Thalia Music Hall and then in the People's Music Hall, where he performed with songs of Meyzel and Meyerovitsh, but most of the time with his own songs.

After his marriage to Miss Finkelstein, S. went to Chicago, where he acted in Moshkovitsh's music hall (12th Street), then in St. Louis, where he called out into the street for visitors to Glickman's Russian chorus. From here he went to San Francisco, where he performed on the English vaudeville stage as "Joe Comedian" [Yiddish-comical type in English], and then traveled to London, where he acted in English.

During the World War he returned to America, where he cast off suggestions to act in Yiddish theatre and returned back to England on the ship "Lusitania", on which he was killed on 7 May 1915 during the catastrophe at sea.

S. in his time was considered as the best Yiddish coupletist and was the darling of the East Side [the Jewish part of New York].

M. E. from Morris Meyer, Moshe Zilberstein and Louis Kremer.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1437.

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