New York's Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway. Mar. 9–Aug. 14, 2016
From the late 19th to the mid- 20th century, a thriving Yiddish theater culture blossomed on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, entertaining over 1.5 million first and second generation Eastern-European Jewish immigrants. Second Avenue became the “Yiddish Broadway,” where audiences of new New Yorkers celebrated their culture and learned about urban life in the city via cutting-edge dramas, musical comedies, and avant-garde political theater. As stars of the Yiddish stage gained mainstream popularity, New York’s Yiddish theater became an American phenomenon. This legacy resonates today through enduring dramatic themes, classic New York humor, and a large crop of crossover actors, directors, and designers who found work on the mainstream New York stage and in Hollywood. Curated by Edna Nahshon and accompanied by a book of the same name.
New York's Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway is a co-presentation of the Museum of the City of New York, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the National Yiddish Book Center, and the National Yiddish Theater-Folksbiene.
Join the conversation. #YiddishTheater
Admission to the Museum of the City of New York includes all exhibitions currently on view. The Museum is open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.
Yiddish Theater’s Legacy in American Performance
Monday, July 18 at 6:30 pm
Join us for a conversation with acclaimed Jewish performers about how being Jewish leads to "performing Jewish" and the ways that performers still connect to traditions built on the Lower East Side more than a century ago.
The Cantor’s Son: A 1937 Yiddish RomCom
Tuesday, August 9 at 6:30 pm
Join us for a screening of The Cantor’s Son, a lively Yiddish musical drama based on the life of star Moise Oysher, followed by a conversation with a cinema historian and Oysher’s niece. .
Public programs in conjunction with New York’s Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway are made possible by the Puffin Foundation, “continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people" and are co-presented with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the National Yiddish Book Center, and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in association with the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
- "‘New York’s Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway’ Review" The Wall Street Journal
- "‘New York’s Yiddish Theater’ Explores a Fractious Heritage of Melodrama and Musicals" The New York Times
- "Examining Yiddish Theater, From Shtick to Stardom" (Book Review) The New York Times
- "Exploring Yiddish Theater, From the Cheap Seats to Backstage" The Jewish Daily Forward
- "Second Avenue Meets Broadway: New York’s Yiddish Theater at MCNY" In Geveb
- "Museum of The City of New York Explores New York's Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway" Broadway World
- "Explore the History of Yiddish Theater In NYC With The Museum Of The City Of New York" Untapped Cities
- "When Yiddish theater gave Broadway a run for its gelt" The Times of Israel
- "New York’s Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway" The Jewish Voice
From the Blog
From the Bowery to Broadway: Women of the Yiddish Stage
Read up on Molly Picon, Stella Adler, Berta Gersten, and the other actresses of Yiddish Theater, whose songs, stories & costumes appear in the exhibition.
The exhibition is made possible by:
The David Berg Foundation
Additional support is provided by
Midler Family Foundation
Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust
Lucius N. Littauer Foundation
Broad Art Foundation
Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation
Suzanne Davis and Rolf Ohlhausen
Ruth and David Levine
Michael and Tatiana Reiff
Mr. and Mrs. Lief D. Rosenblatt
Larry and Sandy Simon
Sy Syms Foundation
Mark and Anla Cheng Kingdon Foundation
Bernard W. Nussbaum Family Foundation
Deborah and Peter Wexler