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Messiahs of 1933

How American Yiddish Theatre Survived Adversity through Satire

Messiahs of 1933 by Joel Schechter
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Joel Schechter has rediscovered the funny and often politically-charged plays of the American Yiddish theatre of the 1930s. In Messiahs of 1933 he celebrates their satire, their radical imagination, and their commitment to social change. He introduces readers to the once-famous writers and actors—Moishe Nadir, David Pinski, Yosl Cutler, and others—who brought into artistic form their visions of peace, social justice, and satire for all.

Messiahs of 1933 greatly enlarges our understanding of Yiddish theatre and culture in the United States. It examines the innovative stage performances created by the Artef collective, the Modicut puppeteers, and the Yiddish Unit of the Federal Theatre Project. And it introduces to contemporary readers some of the most popular theatre actors of the 30s, including Leo Fuchs, Menasha Skulnik, and Yetta Zwerling. Throughout, it includes relevant photographs and contemporary comic strips, along with the first English-language publication of excerpts from the featured plays.

Temple University Press; May 2008
305 pages; ISBN 9781592138746
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Title: Messiahs of 1933
Author: Joel Schechter
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