Museum of the Yiddish Theatre

   
 Brooklyn 
 

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The Rolland Theatre
1768 St. Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY
This production opened on September 21, 1933.
 

"M'KEN LEBN, NOR MEN LOZT NIT"
(I Would If I Could)

by Abraham Blum, music by Sholom Secunda

 

This review was written by Leon Fogelman for the Yiddish Forward newspaper, and it was first printed for the September 29, 1933 edition. Here it is:


Blum's operetta in the Rolland Theatre is written so, that if you want you can call the whole thing a drama, or a comedy, and having no signs of music, iff you want you can decorate it with musical numbers, with dances and couplets, and turn it into an operetta.

This is how our operettas have been put out for years. It's always a combination of drama, melodrama, comedy, vaudeville and operetta. Suffering suffers from it, and of course, the play and the performance as a whole, but who benefits from it I myself do not know.

In the Rolland Theatre the play is put on as an operetta, or as they call it on the program, a "musical comedy"; and it has features of every sort of theatre playing.

It is built on a love between a shoe manufacturer's daughter with the name of Henele, and a young worker Jake, who works for the manufacturer in a shop. The son of the boss, who is the main manager of the workshop, hinders the love of his sister and sends her beloved Jake away from his position. But the loving couple comes to the aid of the manufacturer, the old father of the loving girl, and the love ends with its usual end, -- with a wedding; and the manufacturer himself, who is a widower, has also married, and precisely with Jake's sister. His sons are literally out of helplessness towards their romantic father.

There is in the play several interesting dramatic scenes, in which Leon Blank shows his acting talent. Especially touching is the scene in which Blank, who plays the manufacturer, meets up with his old friend, a countryman. Here Blank shows that he can portray with force and with touching features strong feelings and experiences. When he does not have a constant tendency to throw up his hands while playing, he will completely satisfy us.

The countryman is quite well acted by Jacob Zanger.
 


The young Jake, you see, is played by Aaron Lebedeff, who grabs the audience as always, with his charming smile, with his wit, and with his personality. Lebedeff generally makes an impression of a good-natured person, practically blessed young, and that type who is blessed young is indeed always on stage; he is therefore entirely natural, and he strongly succeeds. We have never come out to see him in any other role.

As always Lucy Levin plays and sings pleasantly in a restrained way.

Henrietta Jacobson plays entirely lively and humorously in the comedy scenes in her role as the telephone girl.

Harry Feld and Irving Honigman have unfortunately come out to play the irreplaceable roles of the two sons, the villains, the bad characters of the play. They play their roles not badly; you have proof: the audience was strongly disappointed ... It is a pity, however, that people have not made better use of Feld, the singer, who possesses a fine voice.

The other participants -- Anna Teitelbaum, Bertha Hart, Gertie Silberkasten, Abraham Lax, and Arthur Winters -- perform quite well in their roles.

Sholom Secunda's musical numbers have in them a popular warmth and a rhythmic, melodic simplicity that evokes in the audience a desire to recite the melodies.

In general Blum's new play in the Rolland Theatre is an entirely amusing and pleasant operetta; you walk away from it in a light mood.

 

 

 

 

 

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