Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Nakhum Stutchkoff


Born on 7 June 1893 in Brok, Lomza region, Poland to Chasidic parents who in 1900 moved the family to Warsaw. Here he received a traditional Jewish education. Until age ten he learned in cheders, and until age sixteen in the yeshivas of Lomza, Warsaw, a Volkovysk kibbutz, etc.. From age sixteen he took to educating himself and became familiar with the theatre. He also entered into "Hazmir", which was then under the leadership of Y. L. Peretz, and he debuted with the dramatic circle of "Hazmir" in the Hermitage Theatre (formerly the Muranov). In Sholem Aleichem's "Menschen", he later translated and adapted various plays of the Yiddish theatre.

After his first adaptation "Der dakh-deker (The Roofer)", or "Shloimke blekher" [free adaptation of Louis Angelli's "Der dakh-deker"], which in 1912 was performed by Kompaneyets' troupe in the Muranov Theatre, he became engaged there as a translator and actor. Here his translation of "Hercules", a one-acter by Belz was staged [later printed in the translation of Zalmen Zylbercweig] and of the one-acter "The Small Mistake" by Louis Angelli [according to S. -- the original of Mark Arnstein in an earlier adaptation "Meyn veybs meshuges (My Wife's Crazy)"], his free adaptation of the melodrama "The Street Urchins" (staged in the Elizeum Theatre), and his adaptation of the farce "Robert and Bertram" (performed in the Elizeum Theatre).


S. began to translate and re-work various pieces for the Yiddish theatre. He translated "The Roofer", or "Shloimke Blackie" (an adaptation of Louis Angel's "The Roofer"), which was staged in 1912 by the Kompaneyets' troupe at the Muranov Theatre. He translated "Hercules," a one-act play by Belz (later published by Zalmen Zylbercweig), "The Small Mistake" by Louis Angelli, the melodrama "The Street Urchins", and the farce "Robert and Bertram". He also appeared as an actor in several of the plays he translated.

From Warsaw, S. traveled with Kompaneyets' troupe across Poland and Russia, later going over to Sharavner's troupe and then to the Kanievska-Harlamp troupe. He was taken into military service, and after his release he was engaged to Adolf Segal in Kharkov and also became the secretary of the Artists Union.

Also for the same troupe S. translated the plays "Chava", "Yehudis", "Farkoyfter shklaf (Sold into Slavery)", "Der 70 yoriker yubileum (The 70 Year Anniversary)" et al, which were never staged.

Between 1917 and 1921, S. was associated with the Kharkov Yiddish Theatre "Unzer vinkel", which staged his earlier adaptation of Voltaire's comedy "The Scapegoat", his translation of Moliere's "The Trickeries of Scapin", and Benavente's "The Bonds of Interest". Later he was director of the Vitebsk Yiddish Theatre, for which he translated Moliere's "The Miser".

In 1923, S.arrived in America, where he performed only one time in New York's Yiddish Art Theatre as "Oswald", in Ibsen's "Ghosts". On 16 December 1923 in the Yiddish Art Theatre under the direction of Mark Schweid, there was staged S.'s translation of Benavente's "Bonds of Interest", under the name of "Lialkes".

For the 1924-25 season, S. was engaged in Philadelphia's Garden Theatre (with Goldenburg and Celia Adler), and during the 1925-26 season in the same theatre (with Max Rosenthal).

At the same time he was in New York's Irving Place Theatre staging (with Muni Weisenfreund in the mail role) S.'s play under the pseudonym N. Braker "Who Am I?" [a free adaptation of "Der gutotike tomat (Good-Natured Thomas)"], and [with Samuel Goldenburg in the main role) S.'s original play under the pseudonym of  N. Braker "Mazel tsu froyen (Good Luck to Women)".

At the end of 1924-25 season, S.'s operetta "The Two Brides" was staged, which on 17 May 1929 was staged in the Bronx's McKinley Square Theatre under the name "A Wedding in a Small Town" (music -- Hymie Jacobson).

On 17 July 1925, in New York's National Theatre, Samuel Goldenburg and Celia Adler staged S.'s sketch in one act, "The Holdup in the Mountains", and shortly thereafter the one-act sketch "The Three Weddings".

In 1927 -- Misha Fishzon directed in Detroit S.'s drama "Der aregentiner tate, oder, far a tatns zind (The Argentinean Father, or, For a Father's Sin)". The play was also later performed in Europe.

On 9 September 1927 in the Bronx's Prospect Theatre, Nathan Goldberg staged S.'s operetta "Farges mikh nisht (Forget Me Not)" (music -- A. Perlmutter), the same play on 15 September 1927 was staged in Brooklyn's Lyric Theatre under the name "Di froy fun amol (Woman of Long Ago[?])".

On 2 November 1928, in the Prospect Theatre Nathan Goldberg staged S.'s melodrama "In Red Russia" (with music by Philip Laskovsky).

Around the same time in the American province, there was staged by Isidore Hollander S.'s drama "Froyen shtolts (Proud Women)" [a free adaptation of Jacob's "Di ehe"].

On 20 December 1929, the New York Folk Theatre presented "As the Rabbi Wishes", a Chasidic operetta with libretto and lyrics by S. (and with music by A. Ellstein, directed by A. Chertoff, with Ludwig Satz in the main role).

On 10 January 1930, in the Hopkinson Theatre, there was staged (with Celia Adler in the main role) S.'s drama "Meudush leysens', which was then performed in Argentina and Europe under the name The Marriage License".

On 16 January 1931, in Brooklyn's Roland Theatre, Izidor Casher staged "Oy, America!".

In 1926 S. was secretary of the "Yiddish Dramatic League" in America.

S. wrote lyrics quite often for the operettas, which were performed in the Yiddish theatres in America.

In 1931 S.'s "Yiddish Rhyming Dictionary" 935,000 words) was published, put together by  N. Stutchkoff. Publisher "Leksik", New York, 1931".

Since 1932, S.'s "Feter nakhums yidishe sheh (Uncle Nakhum's Yiddish Time)" was staged with a Yiddish children's time on the radio on Sunday morning, and also was performed (together with Henrietta Schnitzer) on the radio in their own dramatic dialogue "Annie and Benny".

Sh. and M. E.

  • Noakh London -- A shpanisher fart in idishn kunst teater, "Lialkes", a lustshpiel in three acts with a prologue, from Jacinta de benavente, director Mark Schweid, "Frayhayt", New York, 31 December 1923.

  • L. Fogelman -- "Fargest mikh nit", a muzikalishe piese, in prospekt theater, "Forward" n. Y., 15 September 1927.

  • Jacob Kirschenbaum -- Men shpielt shoyn idish teatern, "Amerikaner", N' 27, 1927.

  • A. Mandelboym -- A naye mlhmh-piese in prospekt theater, "Frayhayt", N. Y., 9 November 1928.

  • M. Shmsh -- "Az der rbi vil", "Di idishe bekers shtime", N. Y., 27 December 1929.

  • William Edlin -- Ludvig zats in a nayer gerotener operete, "Tog", N. Y., 3 January 1930.

  • D. Kaplan -- "Az der rbi vil", Naye khasidishe operete in zats' folks teater, "Forward", N. Y., 3 January 1930.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbeter shtime", N. Y. 10 January 1930.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbeter shtime", N. Y., 24 January 1930.

  • Y. Shayak -- A groyser aktor in a biliker operete, "Post", London, 19 May 1930.

  • Kritikus [Morris Meyer] --- "Az der rbi vil", operete fun stutshkov, oyfgefirst fun ludvig zats, "Di tsayt", London, 19 May 1930.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbeter shtime", N. Y., 23 May 1930.

  • L. Flamshteyn -- "Oy amerike!" in roland teater, di naye komedye fun n. stutshkov mit muzik fufn sh sekunda, "Tog", N. Y., 23 January 1931.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- A kapele btlnus far a novine, "Fraye arbeter shtime", N. Y., 30 January 1931.

  • D. Kaplan -- A sheyne muzikalishe komedye in roland teater, "Forward", N. Y., 30 January 1931.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Bikher un forredes, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 24 July 1931, "Vilner tog", 14 August 1931.

  • Kalmen Marmor -- Vegn tsvey naye hant-bikher, "Morgn-frayahyt", N. Y., 7 August 1931.

  • Kaf [Shimshon Kahan] -- Gram-shtram makh mir a leksikon, "Vilner tog", 17 August 1931.

  • A. Almi -- Gram-shtram, "Fraye arbeter shtime", N. Y., 13 November 1931.

  • Avraham Reyzen -- Naye bikher, "Di feder", N. Y., December 1931.

  • Sh. Kaf -- Sh. stutshkovs yidisher gramen leksikon , "Vilner tog", 1 April 1932.

  • Morris Meyer -- Dos oysgetseykhente shpielen fun tsilie adler in "khatunah kontrakten", "Di tsayt", London, 18 October 1932.

  • A-N [Aaron Tseitlin] -- Yidisher gramen-leksikon, "Globus", Warsaw, N' 11, 1933.

  • Bit-shin [B. Shefner] -- Oy, amerike..., "Naye folkstsaytung", Warsaw, 9 August 1933.

  • E. L. -- Shmuesen vegen teater, "Moment", Warsaw, 11 August 1933.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1464.

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