We are delighted to announce the release of 2nd Avenue On-line: The Yiddish Theater Digital Archive Project at New York University. By visiting our website you can read histories of the Yiddish theater, hear oral histories, read scripts in Yiddish and English, see photographs and listen to music.
Please send us your comments and suggestions when you have a chance to look through the site. We update our site daily so tell us what you want to see.
A Shaynem Dank.
Published in Mendele: Yiddish literature and language, Vol. 09.065, February 20, 2000.
The Yiddish theater developed as a uniquely American form in the Eastern European Jewish immigrant community in New York City, and other urban centers, during the early twentieth century. The 77 unpublished manuscripts presented here include light comedies and dramas, and have been selected from the 1,200 copyright-deposit plays housed in the Hebraic Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division.
The plays in this collection range from ten page vignettes to four-act extravaganzas. They were written by celebrated writers such as Sholem Aleichem and Jacob Gordin (the first important "serious" Yiddish playwright), and popular wordsmiths such as Abraham Shaikewitz Schomer and Joseph Lateiner, whose reputations have been eclipsed by time. Some of the writers represented in this collection are unknown to us; among them are many amateurs whose works may never have been produced, but which nevertheless provide an important glimpse into grass roots involvement with Yiddish theater.