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Bertha Kalich

Bertha Kalich

A distinguished performer, Bertha Kalich performed 125 roles in seven languages and became the first actress to make the transition from Yiddish theater to mainstream American drama in film, radio, and on stage.

Yiddish Theater in the United States

The American capital of Yiddish theater was New York City, where at times as many as fourteen theaters were filled simultaneously, not counting vaudeville and cabaret.

Yiddish Musical Theater in the United States

Jewish women on stage in America took on a variety of musical roles and performed all kinds of songs, including religious hymns and liturgical chants.

Sophie Tucker

Sophie Tucker was an international star of vaudeville, music halls, and later film, performing in both Yiddish and English in a career that spanned over fifty years.

Theater in the United States

For over a hundred years, Jewish women have been involved in the American theater as writers, actors, directors, designers and producers. The vitality of the Yiddish theater, the splendor of Broadway, the rich tapestry of the regional theater—and everything in between—all owe a debt to the Jewish women who have given of their talents, their energy, their drive, and their dreams.

Bertha Kalich

Known for her majestic bearing, great beauty, and fine diction, Bertha Kalich was the first female actor to make the transition from the Yiddish to the English stage. Critics called her the “Jewish Bernhardt” and she herself later estimated that she had played some 125 roles in seven languages during her long theatrical career. Kalich was one of the great stars of the golden age of the American Yiddish theater and, for a time, a leading light of mainstream American drama as well.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Bertha Kalich." (Viewed on July 30, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/15949>.

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