Miriam Kressyn was that rare talent known as much for her performances as for her work offstage as a historian of the Yiddish theater. After her family immigrated to Boston in 1923, Kressyn earned a scholarship from the New England Conservatory of Music before Julius Nathanson discovered her and invited her to join the chorus of his Yiddish theater troupe. By 1929 she was performing in lead roles for Aaron Lebedeff’s troupe in Chicago. In 1931 she embarked on a wildly successful tour of Argentina, followed by a European tour where even the local elites who normally scorned lowbrow Yiddish productions made a point of watching her performances. She later joined Maurice Schwartz’s famed Yiddish Art Theatre and even struck out on her own by translating the popular Anna Lucasta for the Yiddish stage. In the 1960s she became professor of Yiddish and drama at Queens College, a position she held until her death. For over forty years, she and her husband, Seymour Rechzeit, hosted the radio program Memories of the Yiddish Theater, and for the last ten years of her life, Kressyn also wrote and hosted News of the Week in Review.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Miriam Kressyn." (Viewed on September 26, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/kressyn-miriam>.