New York City, NY
From the late 19th- to the mid-20th century, a thriving Yiddish theater culture blossomed on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, entertaining moe than 1.5 million first and second generation Eastern-European Jewish immigrants. Second Avenue became the “Yiddish Broadway,” where audiences of new New Yorkers celebrated their culture and learned about urban life in the city via cutting-edge dramas, musical comedies, and avant-garde political theater.
As stars of the Yiddish stage gained mainstream popularity, New York’s Yiddish theater became an American phenomenon. This legacy resonates today through enduring dramatic themes, classic New York humor, and a large crop of crossover actors, directors, and designers who found work on the mainstream New York stage and in Hollywood.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, New York's Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway, is a witty and absorbing demonstration of the interplay of minority and mainstream―with the minority culture here having outsize influence over the larger culture of Broadway, Hollywood, and America. Many photos of famous actors and comics, old posters, packed theaters, and stage scenes balance the richly sourced text.