Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Clara Young
(Chaya-Risye Shpikolitser)

Y. was born in Zlotshev, eastern Galicia. Her grandfather was a merchant, for whom his son, a solitary person(?), a mashkhil (cultured, intelligent person -- ed.), "had matured in the home".

Over her grandfather's store was a hall, where Polish amateur groups used to perform, and Y. used to as a child attend the productions. As a six-year old child, she for the first time there heard a musical rehearsal from the guest-starring Yiddish troupe with Rukhl Axelrad at its head, and from this became excited, that she gnbet by herself in the theatre to the production, which already disappears from her zkrun.

After her father's death, the family eyntsikveyn immigrated to America. Here Y. learned by day in school and with the help of a cousin performed in the "Goldfaden Dramatic Union", where she debuted as the songstress of "Heyse babkelekh" in Goldfaden's "Kishufmakerin (The Sorceress)". Soon thereafter she performed in the same play in the role of "Mirele".

Feinman saw her act there, and he took her into his dramatic union. Shortly thereafter Y. joined an itinerant troupe (Mr. and Mrs. Tanzman, Aba Shoengold, Wachtel et al.) and traveled with them to act in Boston. From there she went over to Zolotarevsky's troupe in Montreal and debuted as "Benjamin" in Lateiner's "Joseph and His Brothers", then in Toronto and from there in Philadelphia to Morris Finkel.


In 1903 she was engaged for the People's Music Hall, where she performed with the songs "Di dame fun brodvay", "Farsheydene natsyonen" and "Liebe mayne" and she had such success, that in the same season she was engaged in the People's Theatre, where she acted in small roles.

In 1909 she went over to the Thalia Theatre, where her husband Boaz (Bernard -- ed.) Young became a partner with Kessler, and there performed for the first time in dramatic repertoire ("Tsipenin" in "God, Man and Devil", "Tsile" in "Kreutzer Sonata", and "The Sister" in Sudermann's "Di heymath" -- during Esther Rachel Kaminska's guest-starring appearance, as well as in Lateiner's operetta "Dos yidishe harts (The Jewish Heart)", in which Mogulesko had written the couplet "In hob es do punkt vi in der heym".

In 1910, the troupe went over to Brooklyn's Lyric Theatre, where it staged Boaz Young's adaptation of H. Meyzel's "Bigamist" under the name "Zayn vaybs man" and in Abraham Shomer's "Allrightniks", and the troupe soon required a strong hand. Later she guest-starred for a short time in the Lodz Grand Theatre (Director -- Zandberg), and then six weeks in the operetta "Zayn vaybs man" in Warsaw's Elizeum Theatre (Director -- Epelberg and Rappel). After acting for only a week in London, Y. returned to New York, where she acted during the 1911-12 theatre in the Second Avenue Theatre (with Kessler) in the plays "Hershele shklafn" and "Yede froy" (in the role of "youth") and she participated in the writer offering of David Pinski's "Der oytser (The Treasure)" (staged only for writers and the actors Rudolf Schildkraut, Solomon Manne and Clara Young).

During the summer of 1912 Y. again guest-starred in Warsaw in Anshel Schorr's and Rumshinsky's "Doe meydl fun der vest" under the name "Di amerikanerin", tsiendik also an audience of assimilated Jews and non-Jews. After a short stop in America, again traveling to Warsaw, where Boaz Young took over Kaminski's theatre and staged there Rakov and Rumshinsky's "Chantshe in America", Phillips' "Alma vu voynstu?" and for the first time on the Yiddish stage the German operetta "Pooptshik". In the entire operettas, Y. acted in the chief role and evoked great attention and recognition from the public and the press. In 1914 Y. guest-starred again in London and then traveled to Russia.

At the beginning of 1915 she directed  in the Odessa Bolgarov Theatre Boaz Young's adaptation of the operetta "Di madam hoplia". Y. acted in the title role and then traveled to Rumania, where she went on tour across the country. She returned to Odessa, and Y performed here at the end of 1915 in Boaz Young's musical comedy "Cheikele blofer", in which she was very popular. Then she guest-starred in Yekaterinoslav, Moscow and Peterburg and she came back again to Odessa, where she performed in the beginning of 1917 in Itzhak Katzenelson's musical comedy "Anna Bleyb", then Y. acted in other Russian cities, and finally in Kiev in the Solovtsov Theatre.

At the end of 1920 she returned to America and here on 1 October 1921 performed in the Liberty Theatre for the first time in America in "Cheikele blofer", then in the European operetta "Dos holand-vaybkhen" and in Israel Rosenberg's musical comedy "Berele tremp". On 16 October 1922, she performed in Thomashefsky's "Di grine kozine" and later acted in Steinberg's "Khayke in zibetn himl". On 21 January 1923 she performed in the Prospect Theatre in the title role of Zolotarevsky's "Yeshiva bukher". In March 1924 she guest-starred in the Hopkinson and Prospect Theatres and at the end of the month she traveled to London, then guest-starring across Poland and then traveled to the Soviet Union, where she acted for two-and-a-half years, and in April 1927 she performed in Moscow's Aquarius Theatre in Boaz Young's operetta "Sha, der rebbe fart".

In the spring of 1928 she traveled to South America and guest-starred for a short time in Argentina and Brazil, and she returned in January 1929 to America, from where she returned to travel to Europe, and at the end of the same year  she performed in Warsaw's Kaminski's Theatre in "Sha, der rebe fart" and after acting there for three months, she guest-starred in March 1930 in Lodz, in April 1930 in Vilna, in May 1930 in Riga (Latvia), June and July 1930 in Kovno (Lithuania), in August 1930 across the Latvian province, September to October 1930 in Paris in the Yena Theatre, then across the French province, December 1930 -- in Belgium. In 1931 she acted for a short time in London and returned to America, where she guest-starred in Boston, and on 30 November 1931 she performed in a Philadelphia benefit for the "Theatre Lexicon" as "Kuni Lemel", then she guest-starred for several weeks in Mexico, and in September 1932 she traveled in concert guest-roles in Cuba.

Sh. E.

  • B. Gorin -- History of Yiddish Theatre, Vol. II, p. 179.

  • Michael Weichert  -- "Teater un drama", Vol. II, pp. 88-95.

  • S. Dingol -- New-yorker idishe "stars" in london, "Forward", N. Y., 6 May 1914.

  • M. Spektor -- "Di yudishe soubrettn", "Unzer leben", Odessa, January 1915.

  • ....., Odessa, 19 mapta 1915.

  • C. Oscar -- Clara Young, "Viitorul", Bucharest, 3 August 1915.

  • J. Botoshansky -- Clara Young, "Hatikvah", Bucharest, 15 September 1915.

  • Karnys -- Ce Povesteste d-na Clara Young, "Rampa", Bucharest, 10 October 1915.

  • [--] Rasputin and di idshe akterise fun amerike, "Di varhayt", N. Y., 31 March 1917.

  • M. Osherowitz -- A geshprekh mit klara yong vegen dem idieshen theater in ukraina, "Forward", N. Y., 28 July 1921.

  • I. Slonim  -- Di idishe soubreten vos hot eyngenumen eyropa tsurik in amerika, "Der tog", N. Y., 29 Jul 1921.

  • Matias Royz -- Klara yong in "khakele blafer", "Di tsayt", N. Y., 7 October 1921.

  • M. Osherowitz -- Bronsvil un ihre tsvey theaters, "Forward", N. Y., 7 October 1921.

  • B. Gorin -- Klara young in liberty theater. "Morning Journal", N. Y., 10 October 1921.

  • William Edlin -- Di elegants fun klara yong in der opereta "kheikele blofer", "Der tog", N. Y., 18 October 1921.

  • Clara Young -- Di idishe shoyshpilerin klara young dertsehlt interesante zakhen vegen rasputin'en, "Forward", N. Y., 6 June 1922.

  • Ts. H. Rubinstein -- Madam klara young in ther "griner kuzine", "Der tog", N. Y., 27 October 1922.

  • P. M. -- Klara yong, "Literarishe bleter", Warsaw, 25-26, 1924.

  • [Clara Young] -- Vi azoy klara youn in gevorn an opeetn akterise, dort.

  • Sarah Reyzen -- Tsu di gastroln fun klara yong, "Tog", Vilna, 5 November, 1924.

  • Brodersinger [Moshe Broderzon] -- Der likhtiker meteor, "N. Folksblat", Lodz, 23 December 1924.

  • Aleksander Yavitz [Z. Segalovitsh] -- Lkbud a kinstlerin, "Lodz tagenblat", 4 December 1924.

  • Clara Young -- Mit peretz'n, "N. Folksblat", Lodz, 4 April 1925.

  •  --  17 ...1926.

  • ... 24 ... 1927.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Der idisher un nit-idisher teater in rusland, "Forward", N. Y., 18 December 1927.

  • A. V. Lunatsharsky -- Klara young, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 10 September 1928.

  • Jacob Botoshansky -- Der debut fun klara yong, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 17 September 1928.

  • Shmuel Rozhansky --Klara yong debut in teater, "Excelsior", "Idishe tsaytung", Buenos Aires, 17 September 1928.

  • Y. B. -- Klara young als khantshe in amerike, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 25 September 1928.

  • Sh. R. [Sh. Rozhansky] -- "Sha, der rebe fart!", "Idishe tsaytung", Buenos Aires, 1 October 1928.

  • Jacob Botoshansky -- Klara young als a bkhur a khvat, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 28 October 1928.

  • Shmuel Rozshansky -- A sheyn oyfgefirte piese in theater "excelsior", "Idishe tsaytung", Buenos Aires, 28 October 1928.

  • -- Moscow, 1929.

  • M. H. -- [Meansha Halpern] -- Klara yong, "Idishe folkstsayt", Rio, 11 January 1929.

  • Elchanan Zeitlin -- Klara yong, "Unzer ekspres", Warsaw, 27 December 1929.

  • M. Kipnis --  "Sha, der rebe fart!", "Haynt", Warsaw, 22 January 1930.

  • B. K. [Karlinsky] -- klara young oyf der bihne, "Der moment", Warsaw, 24 January 1930.

  • P. -- Klara young, tsu ire oyftritn in "filharmonye", "Lodz tagenblat", 10 March 1930.

  • Tatiana F [Fuks] -- "Sha, der rebe gart", Di naye piese mit klara young, "Nayer folksblat", Lodz, 24 March 1930.

  • LE -- Klara young als rbile, "Vilner tog", 1 April 1930.

  • Itzhak Katzenelson -- Klara young, "Lodztgbl"t", 4 Aril 1930.Lodz tagenblat"

  • Bleyfeder -- Kompromitatsye un reabilitatsye, "Ovnt-kurier", Vilna, 23 April 1930.

  • A. V. [Vaserman] -- Klara young in "chekele blofer", "Riger tog", 4 May 1930.

  • A. V. -- Der 2-ter oyftrit fun klara yong, "Riger tog", 5 May 1930.

  • K. -- Klara yong in "Khantshe in amerika", "Frimorgn", Riga, 6 May 1930.

  • K. [Kitay] -- Klara young in "odesa mame", "Frimorgn", Riga, 8 May 1930.

  • -- N. --"Odesa-mame" mit klara youngm "Riger tog", 8 May 1930.

  • M. Kitay -- Klara yong, "Frimorgn", Riga, 9 May 1930.

  • A. A. Gruzenberg -- A. A. Gruzenberg vegn klara yong, "Frimorgn", Riga, 15 May 1930.

  • V. Latzky-Bertholdi -- Vegn klara yongs shmeykhele, "Frimorgn", Riga, 18 May 1930.

  • Kit -- Klara yong in "Sha, der rebe fart", dort.

  • A. E. [Ester Eliashev] -- 1-ter oyftrit fun klara yong in kovne, "Folksblat", Kovno, 26 May 1930.

  • Kh. Shk. -- Oyftrit fun klara yong, "Di idishe shtime", Kovno, 26 May 1930.

  • A. E. -- Klara yong hoybt zikh on tsu antflekn, "Folksblat", Kovno, 28 May 1930.

  • M. Marishes -- Greste rusishe kristiker vegn klara yong, "Folksblat", Kovno, 30 May, 1 June 1930.

  • Mikhail Yo -- Far klara young, "Frimorgn", Riga, 5 September 1930.

  • Spektator [N. Frank] -- Klara young su ihr oyftrit in paris, "Parizer haynt", 13 October 1930.

  • I. Yerusalimsky -- Chekele blofer, "Belgisher tog", 24 December 1930.

  • Kuni Lemel der tsveyter -- Ikh leren zikh shreyben teater-retsenzies.... "Yudishe prese", Antwerp-Brussels, 26 December 1930.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Zikhrunut fun a teater-kritiker, "Archive", Vilna, 1930, pp. 389, 390, 391.






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 2, page 917.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.