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.

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Read the press release.

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  • "‘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.

  • Location

    Second Floor


    The exhibition is made possible by:

    The Puffin Foundation Puffin Foundation logo

    The David Berg Foundation

    Additional support is provided by
    Midler Family Foundation
    Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust
    Lucius N. Littauer Foundation
    Atran Foundation
    Broad Art Foundation
    Virginia Brody
    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
    Lee Gelber
    Bernard W. Nussbaum Family Foundation
    Deborah and Peter Wexler