Museum of the Yiddish Theatre



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Parkway Theatre
(formerly the Rolland Theatre)
1768 St. John's Place, Brooklyn, NY
This production opened on October 16, 1934.

(Sadie Becomes a Rabbi's Wife)

by Israel Rosenberg, Isidore Friedman; music by Harry Lubin.
review by Lazar Fogelman, published on December 7, 1934.


After the sad, sentimental melodramas, the Germans are turning to happy productions and now are staging Israel Rosenberg's and Isidore Friedman's operetta, "Sadie Becomes a Rabbi's Wife."

I have to admit that my heart felt lighter: I prefer to listen to song numbers with jokes and jests and to see dance numbers being performed, rather than a heart-rending melodrama on stage through which the audience is drawn to a sea of tears.

The two authors of the operetta obviously have ruled strongly over their collective work, because they have entered into a world of jokes, dramatic and humorous scenes and also, you understand, couplets. The musician Harry Lubin has inserted into the scenes melodic singing numbers with great pleasure; Lillian Shapiro has inserted good dance numbers. -- and together a play has been created where everything is good: A rabbi, a rabbi's wife, a cabaret, Jews, young girls, porters and even a couple of semi-idiotic grooms, one of them a Litvak with "sin," and a second who is a Galitsianer with "yak." But all the people are, in truth, only operetta figures without flesh and blood: the rabbi is not a rabbi; the rabbi's wife is not the rabbi's wife; the sexton is not the sexton,  -- and it is totally a paper world, a world of "marionettes," of air shadows, no more.

And this is actually the story with every operetta.

Do you want this content? Here is what has remained with me in my memory of the entire content:

A Young Hasidic rabbi, a widower, comes from Galicia to America, meets his friend from childhood, a married woman Sadie, who is admired by her debauched husband -- a love had blossomed between them, which later becomes a marriage: she then divorces her husband and marries a rabbi. So Sadie becomes a rabbi's wife. However, earlier she had caught her husband with his lover in a cabaret, and then he brought his lover to their home where she remained side by side with the lawful wife (in an operetta, as in life, anything can happen!). The beloved falls in love with a boy and the divorced man remains poor as a stone.

There is another entanglement with a stupid girl who has two idiotic husbands, but forgive me and release me from the obligation to hand over this entanglement as well. Enough for us!

The main thing is, obviously, the song and dance numbers and the comical scenes with the jokes.

The main role of the rabbi's wife here is played by Lucy German; she has a lot to do in her role: she sings, she leads through dramatic scenes, and she also even dances; and she displays temperament. Her comic love scene with the rabbi stood out to the audience in a strong way.

Misha German here is the young rabbi. It is a small role, but he performs it with charm, in a pleasing way, with soft features and movements.

The comical content is of the girl with the two husbands posing with a set of triplets from Irving Jacobson and Mae Schoenfeld and Isidore Lipinsky. They evoke a lot of laughter from the audience; true, the laughter is from a vaudeville character, but in the Yiddish operetta people are not picky when it comes to humor.

Miss Schoenfeld and Irving Jacobson are an able pair for such roles. She manifests a lot of temperament and humor.

Unfortunately, the talented Frances Weintraub was not attracted to set of trip, which would also contribute to the humor of the operetta. Poor thing, she was occupied with a mere mother-role in which she cannot prove anything.

It is also the same with the gifted Yudl Dubinsky, who can't do anything with his empty role of an up-and-coming ex-con.

Also Zvi Scooler, the treacherous married man, after all, has little to prove. In the few scenes with his lover and his wife is perfectly smooth.

Anna Toback, who has a beautiful voice and beautiful appearance, is an impressive lover; also she should have been used for more singing.

Max Rosenblatt sings quite well his few numbers.

Isidore Friedman, the sexton, is a characteristic operetta sexton; the sextons, who I have known in my life, have naturally been different.

A couple of running side roles are here too: Simeon Ruskin and Moshe Himmelstein.

A pleasant impression was made by the company of young dancers who are lively, alert and eloquent.

The audience in the theatre takes to the operetta because people laugh often and loudly, and no one wipes their eyes.

And this was probably the goal that Misha German was aiming for with his new performance.





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