A new exhibit set to open on March 9, 2016 at the Museum of the City of New York is “New York’s Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway.” The exhibit is the first time a major museum displayed a major survey of this fascinating subject, says Edna Nahshon the guest curator for the show.
“It is a topic that begged to be dealt with,” Nahshon, who is a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, told the New York Times.
The presentation documents the rise and blossoming of New York’s Yiddish culture from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. As Jewish immigrants arrived by the thousands from Eastern Europe and other countries, a thriving Yiddish culture in New York, especially in Manhattan’s Lower East Side was established. The exhibit will feature items which were donated by the family of Boris Aronson, the Tony Award-winning set designer who worked on Fiddler on the Roof and The Diary of Anne Frank.
The MCNY website describes the show:
“From the late 19th to the mid- 20th century, a thriving Yiddish theater culture blossomed on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, entertaining over 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.”
Among the memorabilia on display will be Aronson’s original wooden set model of the Anatevka home of Tevye the dairyman, the hero of Fiddler on the Roof.
MCNY is located at 1220 Fifth Avenue.