American Theatre Companies, 1888-1930

By Weldon B. Durham | Go to book overview

for the presentation of plays in English" to the WPA Federal Theatre Project, to begin production on February 16. Littman strove valiantly to reestablish the Yiddish theatre in Detroit, but to no avail.

The time for Yiddish theatre in America had passed. Federal immigration laws changed to reduce the number of Jewish immigrants, lessening the audience potential. American Jews spoke English rather than Yiddish, and they did not want plays in Yiddish; the language itself declined in usage. The American Jew was no longer an impoverished immigrant; the social protest scripts declined in number and appeal, and the great Yiddish playwrights no longer drew audiences. The Yiddish theatre sought to imitate the American drama and musical comedy and failed to do so. Americanization had melted the Jews into the general population, but it also eroded the Yiddish theatrical tradition and function until it vanished as a viable part of Jewish life in America.


PERSONNEL

Names of some managerial and technical personnel as well as the names of many actresses and actors are scattered throughout James Miller The Detroit Yiddish Theatre: 1920 to 1937, cited in the bibliography. This entry is drawn in large part from Miller's work.


REPERTORY

A complete list of the productions of the Yiddish Theatre of Detroit can be found in James Miller The Detroit Yiddish Theatre: 1920 to 1937, cited in the bibliography.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Published Sources:

Lifson David S. The Yiddish Theatre in America. New York and London: Thomas Yoseloff, 1965.

Miller James. The Detroit Yiddish Theatre: 1920 to 1937. Detroit: Wayne State University, 1967.

Sandrow Nahma. Vagabond Stars: A World History of Yiddish Theatre. New York: Harper and Row, 1977.

Zohn Hershel. The Story of the Yiddish Theatre. Las Cruces, N.M.: Zohn, 1979.

Stephen M. Archer

DONNELLY STOCK COMPANY. The Donnelly Stock Company ( New York, New York), also known as the Murray Hill Stock Company, was organized in the summer of 1898 by actor-manager Henry V. Donnelly. He acquired a lease on the proscenium-equipped Murray Hill Theatre (built 1896 at 381 Lexington Avenue), renovated the building, and opened it on August 27, 1898, with a production of The New South, a melodrama by Clay M. Greene and Joseph B. Grismer.

The resident stock mode of company organization was resurgent on the eastern seaboard, with companies in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Boston offering recent Broadway hits at popular prices, rarely exceeding 75 cents. Donnelly's was not

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