The Forward Vacation Follies
"VACATION FOLLIES" OVERNIGHT
TUESDAY IN THE SECOND AVENUE THEATRE
August 23, 1932
The most interesting production of the year
with be on Tuesday evening, the 30th of August, in the Second Avenue
Theatre -- we mean the "Forward" Vacation Follies. Here, more than one hundred actors
will participate, among them the
greatest stars of the Yiddish stage. The names of every participant
will be announced in the morning "Forward."
A program will be given that is filled with
sheer laughter. There is only one short act, "The Voice," in which
Samuel Goldinburg acts, where you will not laugh because it is a
serious matter. Later there will be two large acts and one small
act, from which you will burst out laughing. This is Joseph Rumshinsky's
and Isidore Lillian's musical, "Jazz Shulamis" and Chone
Gottesfeld's "Crisis Convention," and M. Osherowitch's "With the
Stars in Europe," which will be performed by Izidor Casher.
Besides this, there are more and more things
that will be announced tomorrow.
Tickets can be bought in the "Forward" office,
175 East Broadway, and in the Second Avenue Theatre.
THE WRITERS AND THE
ACTORS WHO PREPARE
FOR THIS YEAR'S "VACATION FOLLIES"
by Chaim Ehrenreich
--Rehearsals will be conducted.
-- There will be both serious and comical numbers.
-- This evening the large production.
August 30, 1932
Only the "Forward," and only such
matters as the Vacation Fund that sends poor children into
the country, could possibly make such a huge, annual
production as the "Vacation Follies." There are still
hundreds of actors, musicians and choristers who have not
been cast. Participating in a production is not an
easy task, but it can still be done. The effect,
however, that this has on so many artists, that they
come night after night to rehearse, study their roles
part in mass scenes -- one who is familiar with the
actor and knows his nature will understand how
extraordinarily difficult this is. And the committee
that organized the "Follies" has faced such a
The writer of these lines who was
"assignment" has attended the rehearsals and "supervised" the
work for the program committee. He reports that he has
not yet had such a pleasant "assignment." It is work
that is connected with pleasure, to see how actors play
and carry on. An actor who is by nature a cheerful
person, even when he serious, feels everything within
him. Now several dozen actors are gathered on
one stage, studying pieces so that each of their words
is meet with humor, and each movement elicits a sea of
laughter. I swear that it is one of those most pleasant and
most interesting crafts -- if one should call it a
When you are at a rehearsal of the
"Vacation Follies," you first notice this remarkable fact:
Many of the most prominent of our
artists, many of the finest actors from the Yiddish
theatre, actors with lovely names and lovely artistic
reputations, are happy to take part as simple extras in
the various numbers. The mass scenes of the Follies are
the most remarkable. However, they are not mass
scenes composed of young boys and hired people. Hardworking
people, these will be ensemble plays by real artists,
who now occupy a beautiful place in Yiddish theatre.
I would like to list the names of
the "extras." Unfortunately, the lack of space does not
allow for some 150 names. However, we will mention a few
of them so that the reader has an idea of what kind of mass
scenes these will be. We do not choose the names. We
only rewrite, as they are written, some of their names:
Wolf Goldfaden, Bella Bellarina,
Chaim Schneyer, Henrietta Schnitzer, Anna Hollander,
Leah Naomi, Mrs. Dinah Feinman, Moishe Oysher, Florence
Weiss, Rosetta Bialis, Helen Bley, Sonia Gurskaya,
William Epstein, Kalmen Juvelier, and Louis Birnbaum.
You need to see the actors at the
rehearsal of "The Voice." Forget all the gossip about
acting glory, about "publicity," things that cause the
managers so much headache every season, and the actors
become artists again. Only artists can be so united, can
create such a mass scene together, that the one "I," one's
own ambition, is forgotten. For this reason alone it
seems that Yiddish actors should be able to create a mass
scene together that is worthy of the "Vacation Follies." Who
would believe that the actors who are supervised and
distributed across dozens of theatres, very
often playing a cheap shund, are able to put together
such a powerful ensemble play!
They "rehearsed" a scene from
Gottesfeld's laugh-piece, "The Crisis Convention." Going
to the rehearsal was difficult. Both the actors -- some
hundred names participated -- and the stage
director Izidor Casher often laughed at each other. The
only one who did not laugh was the author himself, Chone
Gottesfeld. He, who abounds with such humor in his piece,
is deadly serious when it comes to rehearsals. He crawls
around the stage without strain, without seriousness. In
some scenes, however, he must also laugh.
One such scene is when the beggars
with their president -- Bina Abramowitz. This is a
demented laugh-scene. When the beggars bend down and
pull out their savings from their belongings, one must
be stronger than iron not to laugh. But an "explosion"
of laughter comes, when suddenly Mrs. Abramowitz
"forgets" her role and begins to play a "mother scene."
The second scene is when the three
"sweethearts," Helen Zelinskaya, Annie Lillian and Lucy
Finkel, threaten that they will also begin to
beg, "Give alms ..." They wear their clothing gracefully,
yet they beg for alms.
"Higher, a little higher," Casher
asks. "I want it so that all the men in the
theatre should feel a warmth in their bones; it should
be a Turkish tone ..."
The actresses lift their clothing
higher, and the actors who observed the scenes of the
orchestra are restless; they talk themselves through it.
During the scene, the author had already laughed as
However, M. Osherowitch is different. He
even goes up on the stage, when they are learning his number,
"At the Actors' Union , and With the Stars." He
sits in the second row in the orchestra, supported by
his European cane, and he smiles. When the rehearsal
ended and the actors were already gone, he went up
on the stage and whispered his way through the number with Casher.
With this, he expressed his opinion.
Like everyone who is familiar with
theatre knows, actors have a hard time advertising, that
is called publicity. Every word that appears in a
newspaper is measured and weighed. However, there are
difficulties with advertising the "Follies," as it is
another theatrical performance. The actor Auerbach
explained it very well:
"When I do something for a purpose,
I seek no use for it. I believe that there is no more
important purpose than sending poor, worker children to
the country during the hot summer days in the ghetto. Will I
have to worry about whether my name is mentioned or not?
And I am convinced that the other actors, in this
regard, feel as I do?"
"And besides," says Nathan
Goldberg, "An actor who spends an entire season
with us may respond to the request of
the 'Forward', and we will devote ourselves to him this summer."
This evening is the large
production. This evening there will be a couple of
thousand spectators sitting in the large Second Avenue
Theatre, laughing and collaborating with the actors on
the stage. It is hoped that they will laugh with the
masses, that they will laugh from eight until twelve,
for four hours' time ...
Listing the entire program for this
evening is not necessary. It is advertised in today's
"Forward." We only had to review several impressions of
the lively rehearsal.
"VACATION FOLLIES" PRODUCTION BEGINS
AT EXACTLY 8 O'CLOCK IN THE EVENING, DUE TO THE LARGE PROGRAM
-- Famous stars of the Yiddish
stage and from Broadway take part.
-- Tens of prominent actors will participate.
-- They will take part, even in mass scenes.
-- The name of the participants in this remarkable evening.
-- It will be the most interesting and greatest summer production of
the year to date.
August 30, 1932
Finally, this evening, exactly at eight
o'clock, there will be given at the large Second Avenue Theatre this
year's production of the "Forward" Vacation Follies.
Tickets can be bought at "bargain prices." Only a small
number still remain.
The production must begin early due to
the length of the program, due to the large number of artists who will
participate in it. Those who arrive late will lose, will
lose the joy and laughter, which are rare articles nowadays.
We will list, in short, what we will
present in the program:
The orchestra, under Joseph
Rumshinsky's leadership, will welcome the large
The leadership takes over -- B.
Vladeck, the "conférencier" or "master-of-ceremonies."
And then the waves of laughter will begin.
M. Osherowitch's two humorous and
matching scenes, "At the Actors' Union, and With the
Stars." In these two scenes, more than one hundred prominent actors will take part. Nathan Goldberg, as the
chairman of the meeting, will appear as R. Guskin,
the manager of the Actors' Union. The real Guskin, however,
will also be on the stage. As representatives of the
press, there will be on the stage: B. Vladeck, M.
Osherowitch, Leon Krishtol, Chaim Ehrenreich, Chone
Gottesfeld and other writers.
"Turkish Wives," by Chaim
Ehrenreich. Menasha Skulnik will perform as a Turk and
speak Turkish. Gustave Goldstein will play with him as a
Jewish Turk; also Helen Bernardi will play as a Turkish woman, and
Misha Boodkin as a one hundred percent Turk. Well, well,
we will laugh.
"Three Pictures," with Leon Bank in
all seven roles. Even a deaf person will have to laugh
at this number.
"Shulamis of Monticello." Once upon
a time there was this Abraham Goldfaden's operetta. Isidore
Lillian, Joseph Rumshinsky and Izidore Casher took it in
hand, and a fully grown-up adult has come out of it! Avisholem and Shulamis, Manoyekh and Avigdov, Tsing, and
Nathan HaCohen and Avigayil sing jazz, speak
slang, and tell "jokes."
B. Vladeck will give the audience
several minutes to rest, to gather further
strength to laugh, and there even will be a small
"intermission" before the second half of the program
"The Voice," written by (well,
guess the name of the author). Samuel Goldinburg and
more than one hundred prominent actors will participate
in this most impressive number.
Maurice Schwartz, the director of the
Harry Hershfield, the creator of
"Abe Kabibble," a person who earns 100,000 dollars with
"Crisis Convention," by Chone
Gottesfeld. With this number, the witty, comic, and
quirky will close the production. People will laugh and
roll with laughter.
PACKS THE SECOND AVENUE THEATRE AT THE "VACATION
A RICH PROGRAM THAT LASTED FOR FOUR HOURS
-- A "Forward" production for the vacation
sends poor children to the country is an extraordinary
-- Yiddish actors, choristers and other members of the
theatre unions have done their duty in a splendid
-- Many had to stand due to a shortage of places to sit.
August 31, 1932
Three-thousand people stood up to
the heat last night, against the weather that was sent
to New York, and they sat down afterwards for four hours in
the Second Avenue Theatre, at the "Vacation Follies."
This was the second yearly undertaking that the
"Forward" produced for the Vacation Fund, which sends
poor children to the country for a week or
A rare, remarkable event -- a rare
program with a fine, restrained audience
that packed the large theatre. Every chair was taken;
people even sat two to a chair. They stood head to toe,
five deep, one hanging on to the balustrades. The
enjoyed the performances with all of their heart, with
every bone in their body ...
Already by half past seven in the
evening, the crowds began to draw to the theatre. At
half past eight it was difficult to find one's way to the
theatre. The audience, however, was friendly,
good-natured and maintained order. At eight o'clock
the theatre already was totally filled. A quarter past
eight Joseph Rumshinsky appeared in the orchestra, and a
loud applause greeted him. He took up his conductor's
baton, the orchestra loudly played, and the
Twenty minutes after eight, B.
Vladeck, the "master-of-ceremonies," appeared on the
stage. First of all he expressed his gratitude to all
the unions that were taking part in the "Follies," to the
stage director Izidor Casher, who had worked so hard;
to Joseph Rumshinsky, and the wonderful actors. And then
"We have all cooked up the modern
'Follies' dish especially for you, and we do not yet
know if it will work. Will you try it now and see if you