Museum of the Yiddish Theatre


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The Second Avenue Theatre
35-37 Second Avenue, New York, NY
This production opened on October 14, 1929.


(The Radio Girl)

by Louis Freiman, music by Joseph Rumshinsky


This review, written by Hillel Rogoff, was first published in the Yiddish Forward newspaper on October 25, 1929. Here it is:

The son of a rich man falls in love with the voice of a radio singer. He has never seen the girl, nevertheless, he is convinced that she is beautiful and has all the virtues. Such an impression is made on him from the voice on the radio.

The singer is the daughter of a rich storekeeper of dresses, and by chance the storekeeper has a poor niece who works for him. And by chance the poor niece once had a job with the young man who now loves the radio singer, and by chance she falls in love with that young man again, and even though it has been three years, she has not forgotten her love for him.

This was not the only coincidence in the play. Miracles happen again and again. It should be noted that when the radio singer gets out of her car to meet the rich young man, an accident occurs with the car and the radio singer is taken to hospital. This gives an opportunity to the poor niece to dress up as the radio singer and for her to keep this appointment. It is understood that the rich, young man is in love now with the poor niece (Why he did not even notice her three years earlier when she was with him every day in the store remains a secret.) And then the greatest wonder of them all happens. In the house of the rich, young man, the "poor niece" finds her father, whom she had never met, as he had left her before she was born.

This is in short the content of the new operetta in the Second Avenue Theatre, which is called "The Radio Girl." The author of the libretto is Louis Freiman. It is truly unfortunate that such a talented musician as Rumshinsky cannot find any more interesting "plots" for his operettas. It is true that in operettas the libretto is not of great importance, but there is a limit to everything. There has to be a bit of sense, a bit of logical content, so the spectator should at least not laugh at himself from what he sees on stage.

Molly Picon plays the main role, the role of the poor niece, and she is constantly amusing. She sings, dances, tells jokes, and maintains the audience with her successful comical ideas. When she is on the stage the audience is happy at heart, and she is on the stage the majority of the time that the play is on.

The role of the rich girl, the true radio singer, is played by Lucy Levine. Last year Lucy Levine was not on the "Avenue." She played at the Rolland Theatre in Brooklyn, and I hadn't any opportunity to see her the entire season. In the course of year she has made great progress in the development of her talent. She always has had her beauty, but now however her voice is stronger, fuller. She also has made a lot of progress in her playing talent. She is a mature actress and a mature singer. She sings two numbers that are in my opinion the best in the operetta. The music is fully beautiful, and she sings beautifully.

Here in the play there are three comic male roles that are performed by Sam Kasten, Charlie Cohan, and Max Wilner. Kasten plays alone, and as always he gives to the audience a lot of laughs. In one scene he comes out to sing and dance together with Molly Picon, and it is difficult to say which of them makes a greater "hit" with the public.

Charlie Cohan and Max Wilner create two comical character types who are just the opposite of one another. Wilner plays a type of a "Jew," a refined salesman of women's dresses, who by himself is more woman than man. Charlie Cohan plays the type of a serious alrightnik, a tailor, who has made a lot of money in a cloaks and suits business. The types come out from them, surprisingly, greatly exaggerated, but very comical.

The role of the rich young man, that is to say, the hero of the play, is played by Muni Serebroff, who has a good tenor voice.

Also participating are Rose Greenfield, Gertie Bulman, Frances Weintraub, Clara Honigman, Kalmen Juvelier, Herman Serotsky and Mike Wilensky.

The music, which Joseph Rumshinsky has created for the play, is moderately jazzy. A couple of the songs are entirely managed. Special are the two that Lucy Levine sings.

The chorus has several quite successful dances; very irritating is the dance in the last act, the "elephant dance."




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