Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Shlomo Steinberg

Shlomo Steinberg was born in 1891 in Sveksna, Kovno Province, Lithuania. His Father was a teacher. In his youth, he learned in the Skadvile Yeshiva (located north of Sveksna). In 1903 he immigrated with his family to America and they settled in Philadelphia. In 1905 he became a member of the Garden Dramatic Club. He began to advance in a career in the theatre. He worked in the First Street Theatre, where he later became an actor.

In his autobiography, Steinberg wrote that he had once received comment from a woman saying that he was at  first in a bad state; but was promising and showed feeling .In 1906 he wrote his first play " The Secrets of Love" (lebensbild in four acts by Sam Steinberg), which was performed in New York on on July 26, 1918, at the Roof Garden in the Second Avenue Theatre, with Dena Feinman in the main role.

On June 8, 1917 he took part in "The Lonely Father" in Williamsburg, New York. He presented "The Mystical Way of Life", a portrait of life, in 4 acts with a prologue, which he had written.

On July 4, 1917 he presented 'The Murder from the Red Jug", in New York's Grand Theatre, which depicted the times, which he has written.


On November 16, 1917, under the direction of  Z. Weintraub, there was presented "Joy and Song", at the Liberty Theatre.

On January 11, 1918, Max Gebel presented "Life's Borders", a four act play, which was written by Shlomo Steinberg and himself,  in the "Young Philadelphia Theatre" The lyrics and music were by Lillian and D. Meyerwitsh, who were the actual first Jewish piece-writers in the legitimate Jewish theatre. He was first recognized for his "A Friend in Life"' a family drama in 4 acts (Levit B. Green- adapted from Herman's "Songs"), which Maurice Schwartz had presented on April 1, 1918, in New York's "Second Avenue Theatre". The same play on December 20, 1918, was presented in "Phillip's Theatre" by David Kessler. Years later it was included in the wonderful plays in a repertoire of Leon Blank

On May 10, 1918, in the Lyric Theatre, M. Wilinsky presented " Two Friends or Again from the Trenches" a portrait of life in 4 acts by Sam Steinberg.

On October 18, 1918,  David Kessler directed Sam Steinberg's "God of my Love", a family drama, music by Herman Wohl, and lyrics from Gilrod and Meyerwitsh, at the Lenox Theatre. The play was also presented at the same time by Doshikov Kahan in the Liberty Theatre.

On May 2, 1919 Max Gebel presented "What Every Girl Needs to Know" in his theatre, a portrait of life in 4 acts.

On February 20, 1920, Max Rosenthal directed Sam Steinberg's "His Brother's Wife", in the People's Theatre, a melodrama in 4 acts.

On May 1, 1920, Sam Steinberg's "As Girls Live" was presented in People's Theatre, a romantic musical comedy drama, with music by Louis Freidsel.

On November 12, 1920, Z. Weintraub presented Sam Steinberg's "Married Life ", in the Liberty Theatre, a portrait of life in 4 acts, with music by Herman Wohl.

In 1921, Sam Steinberg's play "Blind Women" was presented, in the Lenox Theatre.

On September 1, 1922, Sam Steinberg's play "The Righteous Way"" was presented in Hopkinson Theatre.

On December 15, 1922, Max Gabel directed Sam Steinberg's play "The Missing Heart ", in Gabel's 116 Street Theatre, an operetta in 3 acts, with music by Louis Freidsel. The actors were: Ethel from Jenny Goldstein, Regina Prager and William Schwartz.

On December 28, 1922, Sam Steinberg's and William Segal's play "The Forgetful Mothers", was presented in the in Lenox Theatre. This was the debut of Rosa Goldberg, who starred in it.  It was also a success in Philadelphia in October 1929, when it starred Celia Adler.

On November 9, 1923, Ezra Adler presented Sam Steinberg's and Segal's play "Kidnapped Children"" in People's Theatre, a dramatic comedy in 4 acts, with music by Perlmutter and Brody.

On April 30, 1923, Sam Steinberg presented his "Chaika in Seventh Heaven" in Gabel's 116 Street Theatre, a musical comedy in 3 acts, music by Joseph Tanzman. Clara Yung starred in it.

On September 11, 1923, Hollander directed Sam Steinberg's "The Wild Beggar" in Hopkinson Theatre, a comedy in 3 acts, with music arranged by Grechtman.

In the twentieth year in America, Sam Steinberg presented his play "Lover of  Nature" lyrics by Israel Rosenberg (famous for his play "Stone Hearts").

On September 20, 1923, Sam Steinberg's "Everything for a Mother", a four-act play was presented in the Lyric Theatre.

On November 16, 1923, Isidor Hollander presented Sam Steinberg's "In the Name of God", In the Hopkinson Theatre, a drama in 3 acts, with music by Sholom Secunda. On April 17, 1926, it was also presented by Sam Steinberg, in the Irving Place Theatre, with the participation of Ludwig Satz.

During the season of 1924-5,  there was presented (with the participation of Lebedeff and Leon Blank) Sam Steinberg's and Rosenberg's "The Rabbi's Desire" was presented in the Parkway Theatre, lyrics by Rosenberg and music by Sholom Secunda.

On January 15, 1926, Michael Michalesko presented Sam Steinberg's "A Lesson in Love" in the Liberty Theatre, a musical comedy in 3 acts,  with lyrics by Joseph Tanzman and music by A. Olshanetsky.

On February 19, 1926, Michael Michalesko presented Sam Steinberg's "For his Child", in the Liberty Theatre, with music by A. Olshanetsky.

On September 10, 1926, Max Gabel presented Sam Steinberg's "A Woman of the World" in the Peoples Theatre, a melodrama in 4 acts.

On February 4, 1927, Joseph Kessler presented Sam Steinberg's "Bride and Groom, Mazel Tov", in the McKinley Theatre, an operetta, music by A. Olshanetsky.

On April 16, 1927, Shlomo Steinberg's and A. Niger's "A Scandal on Shabbos" was presented in the Hopkinson Theatre, music by Yudel Belzer. It starred Nellie Casman. Later on, it was very successfully presented all over the world, and again starring Nellie Casman.

On November 4, 1927, Max Gabel presented Steinberg's "Her Mother's Wedding Dress" in the Gabel's Peoples Theatre, a melodrama in 4 acts.

On March 2, 1948, Leon Blank and Annie Meltzer produced Sam Steinberg's "His First Wife" was presented in the Liberty Theatre, a comedy-drama, with music by Shalom Secunda.

On March 9, 1928,

Nellie Casman performed in Sam Steinberg's "Broadway by Night", in the McKinley Theatre.

In June, 1929, Steinberg and his wife, the actress Nellie Casman traveled to Argentina and there, "The Agreement" in the Argentina Theatre in Buenos Aires, was quite successfully produced. In July 1929, his play "The Wife" was produced (music by Yedilah Belzer). From there they traveled to Western Europe where they produced the memorable play with great success.

On March 28, 1930, the same play, with music by Shalom Secunda, with actors Misha and Lucy German, in the Roland Theatre.

In November, 1930, Shlomo Steinberg's presented "A Wife with my Mother", starring Nellie Casman, a comedy in 3 acts.

In 1932, Steinberg and Nellie Casman again went on a tour to Western and Eastern Europe. His plays were presented successfully in England, Rumania and Poland.

In 1934-5, Julius Gottenson presented Sam Steinberg's "The Little Thief", which was on stage for a long time in New York, and later played in other theatres, in other states and in Argentina.

In December 1935, Sam Steinberg's "A Wife for a Day" was presented in the Lyric Theatre (it stared Max Wilner, Misha Fishzon, Isidor and Anna Hollander). Afterwards it played a long time in different theatres. In March 1937, it was presented in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with the guest stars Hymie Frizant and Sylvia Fishman.

In August 1936, Morris Nozikoz, presented Sam Steinberg's "Minka from Broadway" in the Metra Theatre, with guest stars.

On February 12, 1937, Menasha Skulnik directed "The Galitzianer Solution", an operetta (music by Rumshinsky) in the Folks Theatre, New York He also stared in it and Sam Steinberg and Louis Freiman also acted in it. Afterwards Skulnik played in it in other countries and cities.

In December 1937, Sam Steinberg's "The Crazy World" was presented in the Parkway Theatre.

On December 31 1937, Nellie Casman starred in Sam Steinberg's play "The Jolly Singers" in the Roxbury Theatre.

As is written in his autobiography, he had then already written many notable plays, which had already been presented: "A Mother's Worries" (Lipson Theatre), "When a Man Falls in Love" (Gordon Theatre), "A Girl with Three Grooms" (Hopkinson Theatre), "Practical Women" (Lenox Theatre), "The Foolish Man" (with Leon Blank in the Liberty Theatre), "The Fashion Lesson" (Plaza Theatre), " The Golden Time" (Metropolitan Theatre in New York ) and "Jews Come to Zion" (First Street Theatre in Philadelphia).

It is important to note that surely sometimes the plays were listed here can be found under different names. They were also known by the actors or troupes, which participated in them.

Once the best part of a play by Steinberg, was not printed in the manuscript and then found by his widow.

Steinberg was also a character actor, and had possibilities to act with David Kessler, Leon Blank, Jacob P. Adler, Boris Thomashefsky, Keni Lipzin, Sara Adler, Clara Yung, and many years later in Max Gebel's troupe.

On July 1, 1938, Steinberg died in New York and thus left the Jewish Theatrical world forever.

Jacob Mestel wrote about how famous Steinberg was:

"As a man who acted in his youth with the play writer Shlomo Steinberg, and gained much from him, who was led gradually by the great stars..."

Steinberg was asked in Argentina: "What caused you to become a play-writer?":

"I cannot say, but I always wanted to do something positive for the world. If it is possible to say, because I was a play-writer, with the technical knowledge, I felt the theatre should bring all the wonderful things in the world to people".

Sh. E.

  • B. Gorin -  "History of the Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II,  p. 282.

  • D.B .(Sh. Janovsky)  – In the theatre "Fraye arbayter shtime", New York, February , 1938.

  • Israel the Yankee (I. J. Friedman) – Ferladene Yugend, New York, March 15, 1918

  • B. Gorin – A Literature of Melodrama Plays, ”Morning Journal", New York, November 20,1918

  • Hillel Rogoff – "A Maverick in the Folks Theatre", "Forward", New York, November 20 1918

  • D.B.  – "In the Theatre", "Fraye arbayter shtime", New York, November 30, 1918

  • Israel the Yankee – "The Material World", "Yedmgbilty", New York, December 13, 1918

  • D.B. – "In the Theatre, "Morning Journal", New York, December 28, 1918

  • A. Fein (Frubkin) - "In the Theatre, "Fraye arbayter shtime", March 6, 1920

  • Israel the Yankee – "Blond Women", "Yedmgbilty", New York, October 7, 1921

  • Hillel Rogoff – "Missing the Land" in Gabel's Theatre, "Forward", New York, January 12, 1923

  • B.J. Goldstein – in the Brooklyn Yiddish Theatre, "Tag", New York, September 14, 1923

  • Liliput – Steinberg's two plays with Ian Einhart in two Brooklyn theatres, "Frayhayt", New York, September 28, 1923

  • Israel the Yankee – "The Play from Hopkinson", "Yedmgbilty", New York, December 14, 1923

  • Hillel Rogoff – "In the Name of God" in the Brownsville Hopkinson Times, December 28, 1923

  • L. Kesner- "A Friend for Life" in National, "Yedmgbilty", New York, December 28, 1923

  • Abe Cahan – The new play in the Globes Theatre, "Forward", New York, September 22, 1926

  • David Eidelsberg – "A Woman of the World", in Gabel's Theatre, "Yedmgbilty", New York, September 22, 1926

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni –   in three theatres,  "Fraye arbayter shtime", New York, September 29, 1926

  • Hillel Rogoff - "Missing the Land" in Gabel's Theatre, "Forward", New York, January 12, 1927

  • Abe Cahan – "Her Mama's Wedding Dress", "Forward", New York, February 24, 1928

  • Chanan (Pesach Kaplan) – In Yiddish Theatre "The Little Cantor", "Neye leben" (New Life), Bialystok, April 14, 1924

  • S. Pan – "A Lesson in Love", a musical comedy by S. Steinberg, presented by Joseph Kessler, "Post", London, May 22, 1929

  • S. R. (Roshansky) – Nellie Casman debut in the "Argentina" Theatre, in Shlomo Steinberg's "The Little Cantor", "Yidishe tsaytung" (Jewish Newspaper), Buenos Aires, July 18, 1929

  • N. Zucker – of the Argentina Theatre (The Little Wife"), Shlomo Steinberg's comedy - review, music by Idele Belzar and Nellie Casman, "Argentina Tag" (A Argentina Day) , Buenos Aires, July 18, 1929

  • S.R. - A new play in the Theatre "Argentina", with Nellie Casman " The Little Wife", by Shlomo Steinberg, "Yidishe tsaytung". Buenos Aires, July 18, 1929

  • Z.R. (Zalmen Reyzen) – From the Yiddish Folkstheatre (the fortieth presentation "The Little Cantor") "Wellinger Day", September 12, 1929

  • Aharon Konievsky – The first argument of Sili Adler with Susan and Segal Steinberg's "The Progressive Mother"  "Tag", Filash, October 20,1929

  • 10 Spectator (N. Francke) – "The Little Cantor" produced by Poli dramatic, "Parisienne Day", December 2 1929

  • B. J. Goldstein – from Theatre Avenue "Fraye arbayter shtime", New York, October 10, 1930

  • Aleph-Aleph - A comedy for Nellie Casman "Fraye arbayter shtime", Morning Journal", New York, December 5, 1930

  • V. Edlin - "A Wife Like My Mother" in Eden, "Tag", New York, December 5, 1930

  • Elchanan Zeitlin – Nellie Casman as "Shicorter" Our Express", Warsaw, December 21, 1932 

  • Moshe Shemash – In the Yiddish Theatres, The Jewish Baker "Shemeter", New York, November 4, 1933

  • Hillel Rogoff - A Wife for Every Day" – In the Lyric Theatre, "Forward", New York, December 13, 1935

  • Jacob Kirschenbaum – In Three Brooklyn Yiddish Theatres, "Morning Journal", New York, December 13, 1935

  • B. J. Goldstein – A Big Succession, "Fraye arbayter shtime", New York, February 7, 1936

  • Shmuel Rogansky   - An Operetta for All, "Da"ts", Buenos Aires, August 10, 1936

  • T. Beylin – The Knowledge of an American, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, April 2, 1937

  • Charles Ruzianov – "The World is Crazy", played in the Parkway Theatre, Forward", New York, December 17, 1937.

  • Chaim Weiner – Theatre, 'The Jewish Militant", New York, November 19, 1937

  • ( -- ) – Today's Funeral for the Drama Writer Shlomo Steinberg, "Morning Journal", New York, July 3, 1938.

  • Jacob Mestel – "70 Year Theatre Repertoire", New York, 1954, p. 57.






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 4, page 3686.

Copyright © Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.