The Triumph, Tragedy, and Mishugas of the Yiddish Theater in America
By Stephan Kanfer
(Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9781400078035, 324pp.)
Publication Date: September 4, 2007
List Price: $16.95*
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Born of ancient traditions stretching back to the drama of the Old Testament, the Yiddish theater was a vibrant part of the immigrant experience. Kanfer invokes the energy, belief, and pure "chutzpah" it took to establish and run the thriving, influential theaters. He reveals the nightly drama and comedy that played out behind the scenes as well as onstage, and introduces all the players--actors, divas, playwrights, directors, and producers--who made it possible. A richly evocative chronicle of its brief but dazzling existence in America, this is both an elegy for and a tribute to Yiddish theater--lost, but not forgotten.
“Written in a crowd-pleasing style that ladles on the irresistible anecdotes. . . . Kanfer conveys the excitement and impact of Yiddish theater, not to mention its long shadow.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A lively history, capturing the spirit of the times and the sensibilities of the actors, writers and impresarios who, with great energy, passion and no training created an altogether new art. . . . In stylish prose that’s a pleasure to read, Kanfer fuels the narrative with anecdotes and insights.”
—The Jewish Week
“Kanfer must be commended for conveying his narrative in such vivid, sensual and often hilarious terms. . . . More than worth the price of admission.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Kanfer’s prose is clear, breezy, and entertaining. . . . Rivalry. Jealousy. Sabotage. Histrionics. Then as now, that’s entertainment.” —The New York Sun