Yiddish Theatre's 1st American Home

Yiddish Theatre's 1st American Home (HM2GMI)

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N 40° 43.267', W 73° 59.611'

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199-201 Bowery

You are standing at the former site of People's Theatre, one of a dozen Bowery theatres that comprised the Yiddish theatre's first American home. In its heyday (1880-1914), thousands of Jewish immigrants came here to escape poverty, tedium and despair and immerse themselves in the comedy, tragedy and spectacle unfolding onstage.
By 1891, playwright Jacob Gordin had shifted Yiddish Theatre from trashy entertainments into original literary dramas and adaptions of classics including works by Ibsen, Tolstoy and Shakespeare featuring superstars Jacob Adler and Boris Thomashefsky. Adler moved audiences to sobs and cheers with interpretations of Shylock and Lear. Thomashefsky's Hamlet brought audiences to their feet with calls of "Author! Author!" to which he pleaded forgiveness since "Shekspir lives far away in England and could not come."
After WWI, Yiddish theatre's base moved from Bowery to Second Avenue between Houston and 14th Street - a stretch celebrated until the 1940s as the "Yiddish Rialto."
- Joyce Mendelsohn, author of The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited
Year Placed2016
Placed ByBowery Alliance of Neighbors
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 at 11:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 585003 N 4508286
Decimal Degrees40.72111667, -73.99351667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 43.267', W 73° 59.611'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 43' 16.02" N, 73° 59' 36.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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