Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Mike (Mordechai) Thomashefsky


T. was born on 21 March 1873 in Asidniosky, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine. He was the brother of Boris. He learned in a cheder, and at the age of eight he came with his family to America. Here he completed public school. At age twelve he became an engraver and several years later became a stage carpenter and a stage manager. Since 1890 he was manager of Yiddish troupes in the Century Theatre in New York, New Columbia, and the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Standard, Franklin, and the Polly Theatre in Baltimore and later he built the Metropolitan Theatre in Newark.

In 1927-8 he was manager in Philadelphia together with his brother Boris, and then he was manager in the English vaudeville houses.

T. had put on at the Hollywood Bowl, California, the spectacle "Joseph and His Brothers" with the participation of several hundred acting together.

On 24 July 1932 T. passed away in New York and he came to his eternal rest in Washington Cemetery.

T.'s wife Fannie acts on the Yiddish stage.

William Siegel writes about T. in the Philadelphia "Idishe velt (Yiddish World")":


"Max, or Mike, as we used to call him, did not possess the abilities of his brother or sister to be an actor. However it was the Yiddish theatre, perhaps because [as] one of the Thomashefsky family had created the [leydn] of the pioneers of the Yiddish theatre in America. ...By his nature he was a theatre adventurist. He had a anxious spirit. As he himself at times had said: "Better to be a good manager than a bad actor". At times he also acted in the theatre, but he had given it up. He hadn't wanted to research the Thomashefsky family. ...He loved discipline, was a fantasizer, and he had wanted to introduce the Broadway discipline. ..He loved to bring out talent for the Yiddish stage".

M. E. and M. E. from Jacob Mestel.

  • William Siegel -- Meyk tomashevsky -- der avanturist fun idishen teater, "Di idishe velt", Philadelphia, 26 July 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 846.

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