The 92nd Street Y offers a unique six-part lecture series about one of the most successful diverse and influential theatrical movements in New York City history. The lecturer of Introduction to the Yiddish Theater is young Irish-born actress, writer, translator and Yiddish-theater scholar Caraid O'Brien.
October 14: The Beginning of Yiddish Theater in America
O'Brien recounts the story of Boris Thomashefsky and how he first brought Yiddish theater from Eastern Europe to New York. She discusses the plays he performed, the competing companies that soon formed and the stars that were born.
October 21: The Yiddish Musical Theater
With world class composers like Sholem Secunda, Joseph Rumshinsky, Alexander Olshanetsky and Abraham Ellstein, the Yiddish theater produced hundreds of original musicals, as well as adaptations of Broadway hits. This lecture focuses on the composers and some of their biggest stars, like Molly Picon, Aaron Lebedev and Ludwig Satz.
October 28: The Yiddish Literary Theater
This lecture delves into the longest-running repertory company in New York City's history - Maurice Schwartz's Yiddish art theater, which for more than 30 years produced literary masterpieces by Sholem Asch, I.J. Singer, Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare.
November 4: Yiddish Radio
The Yiddish theatre had an equally diverse counterpart in several radio stations with Yiddish language programming, the best known of which was WEVD. This discussion looks at the life and legacy of one of Yiddish radio's most prolific star performers - the legendary Seymour Rexite - who was on the radio for more than 60 years for Maxwell House, Coca-Cola and Barbosal.
November 11: The Yiddish Cinema
This lecture focuses on the films of Yiddish directors Joseph Seiden and Joseph Green and is accompanied by a screening of a Yiddish film.
November 18: The Influencre of the Yiddish Theater on American Culture
This class explores the many ways the Yiddish theatre influenced mainstream American culture. For example, the first musical version of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion starred Yiddish actor Menashe Skulnick at the Lyric Theater in Brooklyn in 1932.
Visit the Introduction to the Yiddish Theater website: