This production was reviewed by Hillel
Rogoff in the Yiddish Forward newspaper of November 30, 1934.
Here is what he wrote.
"One in a Million" is an amusing operetta,
with a simple "libretto" and very, very fine music. The action
develops with the proper tempo, not too rushed and not too slow.
There are no wild beasts; nobody breaks you, not the
nervous [?]. Everything that comes on the stage is pleasant and
The entire ensemble in a scene
from "One in a Million"
It's about a Jewish aristocrat, a banker
from Park Avenue, who is about to go bankrupt and is forced to
ask for help from an up-and-coming rich man, a former waiter,
whom he has always treated with contempt. The former waiter
seizes the opportunity to reconcile with the proud aristocrat
for the insults he has endured all these years. He would
certainly refuse to help the aristocrat, but he intervenes with a
girl, the youngest daughter of the aristocrat. By chance, the
girl is in the ex-waiters' apartment the same night her father
comes to ask for help. The ex-waiter is, you understand, in love
with her, and she is in love with him too. She speaks with him
about her father, and he agrees to donate money to her father's
business. Before this happens, complications arise, plans and
misunderstandings, but in ends up looking even better, and
everyone sings happily. The father remains at his rich business,
and the pair in love get married.
The role of the young girl, the daughter of
the aristocratic Jewish hero, is played by Molly Picon. And so
as always, Molly does not "fret" about the character that the
role calls for. She doesn't perform the role of the play, but the
role of Molly Picon. She is on the stage almost the entire time
of the production, and she shows everything that she can. She
dances and sings and says jokes and kibitzes with the audience,
the actors and by herself. I have rarely seen Molly Picon work
in a play as much as in "One in a Million." She plays soubrettes
and prima donnas; she sings burlesque and opera; she dances jazz
and ballet russe dance; she leads through scenes with everyone
of the actors and actresses -- she returns a world. And as
always she is a great success.
Among the performers in the play there is
one who creates a type and plays a character role. This one
actor is Michael Rosenberg. Unfortunately he has only a few
counted performances, but the few scenes he plays stand out from
the entire play.
Michael Rosenberg presents the type of an
overworked, exhausted waiter. His makeup was wonderful. As
quickly as he shows up on the stage, you know what a person this
is. You recognize the character by the gait, and in the place and manner in
which he wears the clothes. The songs that he sings together
with Molly Picon, "You May Believe Me or Not," is the hit of the
play. This is the kind of comical song you need to know. Comedy
comes out of the expanse, the "trap" with which the actor
speaks the words. Rosenberg and Molly Picon take the theatre by
photo: Molly Picon and Michael Rosenberg in a drunken scene,
where they sing, "You May Believe Me or Not."
Leon Gold is also a great hit with his
singing. He is, without a doubt, one of the very best singers on
the Yiddish stage now of his type. In the play he virtually has
nothing to act. But the two songs that he sings are very strong.
The first song, "I Love You, Plain and Simple" he sings together
with Molly Picon; the songs are naughty, they belong to the genre of couplets, and it
does not matter to you either, that is not an especially strong or trained
voice. The second song however, "Money," is already of another
sort. It is filled with dramatic skill and melodic nuances. Gold
simply enchants the public. In his singing there is much skill,
so much passion, so much warmth. The song "Money" also is one of
the things that the audience carries with them in their memories
when they leave the theatre.
Light, comical and half-comical roles were
performed by Sam Kasten, Annie Thomashefsky, Gertie Bulman and
Dave Lubritsky. Sam Kasten tells jokes, sings a little and
dances a lot. As it is beautiful, the dances by Kasten always
become an ambition. He wants to show that he alone says
that although his hair is white, his heart and his legs are
young. And he indeed shows it. His "dance contest" with
Molly Picon deserves a great portion of applause, and the
applause will be sent to Kasten's address, not less than to
Annie Thomashefsky plays the role of an old
maid who "you don't like yourself." True, her appearance is not
that of an old maid, and it is also true that it is difficult to
praise a lot of the not beautiful things that she says about
herself, but the audience is amused, and of her "command" of the
stage. As an "entertainer" Annie Thomashefsky is one of the very
good of our theatre types.
The "time" Bulman and Lubritsky have in the
play give them less opportunity than usual, and less than they
need to have. Bulman is a good dancer and
makes a refreshing impression with her
graceful appearance and finely built and
movable figure. She also can sing. However,
unfortunately in the play she has little to
do. The several scenes in which she appears
by herself, or with Dave Lubritsky, are
almost without content.
lt. to rt.:
Annie Thomashefsky, Sam Kasten, Molly Picon
and Annie Hoffmann, in a comical scene.
Muni Serebrov plays the role of the hero,
the ex-waiter who now is a member, and who directs a
novel with Molly Picon. He has a pleasant voice and sings a
beautiful romance song, "Eyes, Your Dark Eyes."
The other roles were performed by Moshe Feder, Moshe Silberstein and Annie Hoffman.
The music for the operetta was composed by
the musician, Abe Ellstein.
Judging from the creation, Ellstein is a
winner for the Yiddish operetta theatre. One wants to hope that
he will continue his work for the Yiddish stage, and that he
writes other music such as that in "One in a Million."
A compliment also goes to the chorus;
beautiful girls, fine figures and good dancers.
Molly Picon and Muni Serebrov, with the
girls of the chorus.
Molly Picon with her school friends in a
comical singing number, "Alef-bays."