Museum of the Yiddish Theatre


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The Second Avenue Theatre
35-37 Second Avenue, New York, NY
This production opened on December 22, 1932.

(Love For Sale)

by Harry Kalmanowitz, music by Herman Wohl


This review, written by Hillel Rogoff, was first published in the Yiddish Forward newspaper on December 16, 1932. Here it is:

"Love For Sale," the operetta in the Second Avenue Theatre, has simple content. No miracles happen, to which we are accustomed in operettas, and which have already overwhelmed audiences. A girl offers to "sell" [herself] to any man who will give her three-thousand dollars for an operation on her mother's blind eyes. The word "sell" does not actually fit, and it is probably used to make the whole story sound more sensational. In truth it means that the girl is ready to marry the man who will give her the amount of money as a gift.

Just when she makes the announcement in a newspaper, a plumber comes into the house to fix something. He talks to the girl, and as he likes her very much, he accepts the offer. He will give her the money if she will be his bride.

The plot revolves around the affair between the girl (who is an educated and talented pianist) and the plumber (who is a simple but very good man). It goes without saying that he spins around for so long until everything turns out well. The mother becomes cured from her blindness, and the girl falls in love with the plumber, with even more fire than he is in love with her; and everything ends cheerfully and merrily.

Within the action there is woven a lot of music, love songs, couplets and chorus singing.

On the stage something is always cooking. There is never a boring moment. This is due to the actors more than anything else. The troupe of the Second Avenue Theatre possesses a half-dozen actors and actresses who cannot bore us, even when they would do everything that is possible, and one or more of the half-dozen of them always find themselves on the stage.

This note includes: Leon Blank, Aaron Lebedeff, Peter Graf, Itzik Feld, Annie Thomashefsky and Saltsche Schorr.

In the first act Blank finds himself performing in a scene with the chorus, which is perhaps the most amusing and beautiful thing in the entire play. He plays the role of an ancient, old-world klezmer. He needs to appear briefly on the radio with a choir during a Yiddish Hour. He studies the chazzanut (cantorials) with them that he has chosen to sing. In the scene Blank plays old-fashioned music, with which all the members sing and play to the beat of the music. He is comical, touching and interesting with his movements, and with his spirituality. Such a scene could only be played by an actor with true talent.

A second highly successful, very amusing scene is played out by Blank and Lebedeff in the second act. Blank wants to get something from Lebedeff, but Lebedeff doesn't want to speak. He hasn't the audacity, he is ashamed, and both of them drink; and what's more Lebedeff drinking loosens his tongue. Blank forces him under, and Lebedeff does not feel like he's giving in, and once again it must be noticed that the success of the scene lies paramount in the fine playng of the two artists.

The playful roles were performed by two "teams": Peter Graf with Saltsche Schorr, and Itzik Feld with Annie Thomashefsky.

Itzik Feld plays the role of a waiter or a cook. He naturally has "flat feet" and is a well-dressed. Their work in the play consists early on in leading a love with Anna Thomashefsky, and later in getting along with her as his wife. They sing together, dance together, and they all evoke a great deal of laughter.

The role of the heroine (the girl who sells herself) is played by Lucy Finkel. She has little to do. In the several songs she sings, she does it in a strong manner. Lucy Finkel has a beautiful voice.

Also participating are Nadia Dranova, Max Rosenblatt, Paula Klida, and Sara Zeidman.




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