Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Sheyne Rokhl Semkoff
[Simkoff; Zamkov; Jennie]


Born -- according to reports -- on 18 September 1899 in Maytshet (Molchad, Belarus today --ed.), Grodno Gubernia, Polish Lithuania. Her father was a melamed in the Yishuv. Mother -- maintained a cheder for small children. Until age nine she learned with her mother, and then due to the death of her mother, she went away to learn to become a seamstress. Until age sixteen, she was raised by a family and exhibited at that time was induced to learn a little Russian and Hebrew. As a child, she used to write songs and stories in Yiddish, not having any desire to have them published.

1915 -- arrived in America to her sister and brothers, and her by day she worked in a shop, and in the evening learned in school. Through her attendance at the Yiddish theatre, she developed a desire to write plays.

S.'s first play, "Di korbones fun libe (Victims of Love), a lebensbild in four scenes", and through Saul and Esther Wallerstein, there was performed on 18 February 1916 in Brooklyn's Lyric Theatre.

On 11 January 1918, under the direction of Morris Moshkovitsh, there was staged in Kessler's theatre S.'s four-act drama, "A nomen nokh der mamen" (with the participation of Keni Lipzin, Morris Moshkovitsh, Bernard Bernstein Maurice Schwartz, Celia Adler, Louis Birnbaum, Mary Wilensky, Fannie Lubritsky and Bessie Weissman), crying out to the outside, that the play was written for a younger female author.

Her third play, "Efen di oygen (Open the Eyes)", there was staged with Malvina Lobel in the main role.

On 19 December 1924 in the Lenox Theatre there was staged by Nathan Goldberg S.'s melodrama "Far der khupah", which in January 1925 was performed by Bernard Elving in Newark under he name "Samet un zeyd", and on 19 September 1925 there was staged in New York's National Theatre by Leon Blank under the name "Far der khasene" (music by Peretz Sandler).

S.'s plays "Farvos meydlekh antloyfn" ("Moshke der bonder") and "Yankl der shuster" were performed by Bernard Elving in Newark. "Yankl der shuster" also in 1932 was performed by Ludwig Satz in Europe under the name "Alts far kinder".

Her play "Sudus fun yedn hoyz" by Mae Simon was performed in Philadelphia.

  • On 11 November 1927 in the Lyric Theatre, there was staged S.'s melodrama "Far tate-mames zind".

  • On 28 December 1928 in the Second Avenue Theatre, there was staged (with Molly Picon in the title role), under the direction of Jacob Kalich, S.'s operetta "Hello Molly" (music by J. Rumshinsky), which in 1932 was performed by Molly Picon in Argentina under the name "Der kleyner mzik".

  • On 14 October 1929 in the Folks Theatre, there was staged (with Ludwig Satz in the title role), "Zeyn veybs lubovnik, a musical comedy in three acts and a prologue from Sheyne Rokhl Semkoff. Music by A. Ellstein, lyrics by B. Rosenthal, direction by Ludwig Satz", which in 1930 was performed by Satz during his guest-appearance in Europe.

  • On 13 October 1930 in Chicago's Lawndale Theatre, there was staged by Julius Nathanson S.'s "Meydl fun meyn harts, a comedy in three acts with a prologue", which was also staged in May 1931 in London.

  • On 25 September 1931 in New York's Clinton Theatre, there was shown, under the direction of Sidney M. Goldin the Yiddish sound film "Zeyn veybs lubovnik", after S.'s play (with Ludwig Satz, Lucy Levin and Isidore Cashier in the main roles), and since then it was shown across America and Europe.

  • S. also composed several skits in the "Fraye arbayter shtime".

  • Until 1930 S. transferred her work to a shop. Since then she works only from time to time, dedicating herself completely to writing plays, of which ten were until today not staged.

M. E.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, p. 281.

  • Ab. Cahan -- A idishe arbayter-meydel shreybt a piese, "Forward", N. Y., 17 January 1918.

  • Y. Entin -- A idishe piese in deytshen theater un a meydel's a piese in kesler's theater, "Di varhayt", N. Y., 17 January 1918.

  • Dr. Kritikus -- Tsvay naye idishe piesen, eyne geshriben fun a froy, "Der tog", N. Y., 19 January 1918.

  • D. B. [Sh. Yanovski] -- In teater, "Fraye arbayter shtime", N. Y., 2 February 1918.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- A naye piese mit alte nisim un lenoks teater, "Der tog", N. Y., 26 December 1924.

  • L. Kesner -- Far der khupah, "Yidtgblat", N. Y., 26 December 1924.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- Tsvay melodrames, "Forward", N. Y., 26 September 1925.

  • Viktor Mirsky -- "Zeyn  ershte nakht", vegn der piese, vos vert itst geshpilt in kasino teater, "Di idishe velt", Philadelphia, 30 November 1928.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Mali pikon in "helo moli", "Forward", N. Y., 10 January 1929.

  • Chaim Weiner -- "Helo moli", "Der farband", N. Y., N' 55, 1929.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbayter shtime", N. Y., N'18, 1929.

  • A. Frumkin -- "Zeyn lubovnik's veyb", "Brukliner idishe shtime", N. Y. 21, 1929.

  • H. M. L. [Moshe-Leyb Halpern] -- Arum teater, "Di vokh", N. Y., N' 5, 1929.

  • William Edlin -- Di naye piese in zats's folks teater, "Tog", N. Y., 18 October 1929.

  • L. Fogelman -- Di naye piese in zats's folks teater, "Forward", N. Y., 24 October 1929.

  • M. Shmsh -- Zeyn veyb's lubovnik in zats's folks teatr, "Di idishe beker-shtime", New York, 25 October 1929.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbayter shtime", N. Y., 15 November 1929.

  • Chaim Weiner -- Ludvig zats in a nayer piese, "Der farband", N. Y., N' 60, 1929.

  • Sh. Pan [Shayak] -- "Zeyn veybs lubovnik", "Post", London, 26 May 1930.

  • Ben-A [Sokhatshevski] -- Ludvig zats's groyser erfolg in "zeyn veyb's lubovnik", "Di tsayt", London, 26 May 1930.

  • Sh. Pan -- "Dos meydl fun meyn harts" (fun Sh. R. Semkof), "oyfgefirt  fun h. dzhulius natanzon, "Di post", London, 25 May 1931.

  • D. Kaplan -- Ludvig zats in zeyn ershter idisher toki, a lustige komedye, "Forward", N. Y., 30 September 1931.

  • L. Malech -- Teaterey, "Prese", Buenos Aires, 6 November 1931.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Shlekht un erger, "Fraye arbayter shtime", N. Y., 9 January 1931.

  • N. M. [Nachman Mayzel]-- In di varshever yidishe teatern, "LIterarishe bleter", Warsaw, N' 6, 1932.

  • B. Shefner -- Der ershter oyftrit fun ludvik zats, "alts far kinder" in kaminski's teater, "Naye folkstsaytung", Warsaw, 17 January 1932.

  • M. Kipnis -- Ludvig zats (tsu zeyn oyftrit in kaminski's teater), "Haynt", Warsaw, 2 February 1932.

  • B. K. [Karlinksy] -- Teater notitsen, "Moment", Warsaw, 5 February 1932.

  • I. Sch [Shipper] -- Wystepy Ludwika Satza, "Wsystko dla dzieci", sztuka w. 3 aktach Racheli Sincof[f], "Nowe Slowo", Warszawa, 6/2 1932.

  • J. A. [Apenszlak] -- Ludwik Satz w teatrze im. Kaminskiego "Wszys'ko dla dzieci", sztuka w 3 aktach Racheli L[S]inkoff, "Nasz Przeglad", Warsawa, 11/2 1932.

  • Y. B. [ Botoshansky] -- Der yuntev fun mali pikon un yankev kalikh in "ekselsior", "Prese", Buenos Aires, 27 August 1932.

  • [--] -- Der ern-ovnt fun mali pikon in yakov kalikh, "Id. tsayt", Buenos Aires, 28 August 1932.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1491.

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