Monday, December 14, 2020


THE PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER [Musical/Jews/Romance/Yiddish Language] B: H. Kalmanov; M: Murray Rumshinsky; LY/P: Jacob Jacobs; CH: Henriette Jacobson; DS: Barry Arnold; T: Billy Rose Theatre; 11/3/70-1/3/72 (72)

Note: No photos are available for this production.

A wishful attempt at reviving Yiddish theatre in New York, on Broadway no less, this offering (subtitled “A Yiddish-American Musical Comedy”), with only occasional forays into English, had a minimal plot involving stereotypical characters in a romantic mix-up involving an orphan girl. Much of the show bore no relation to the plot, though, and the material was schmaltzy in style and effect.

Clive Barnes summed the plot up thusly: “a handsome widower, a nubile refugee who is acting as his housekeeper, an orphan daughter, a scheming divorcée, a spinster sister‐in law and cupid in the form of an old butter and egg man (that's right). Through a misunderstanding, the widower latches on to the scheming divorcée and the problem then becomes how to separate the two long enough so that the right couple can get married and provide the orphan daughter with a mother.”

This material was expressed over two acts in the form of sketches, songs, and dances, supplemented by a prologue that had only the vaguest connection to the book. Barnes said the highly sentimental music was “cool—Jewish wedding cool that is.” Everything was done broadly with boisterous energy at a brisk pace. The enthusiastic performers included Chayele Rosenthal as the lovesick refugee, Jacob Jacobs as the widower, Jack Rechtzeit as a butcher, and Michaele Burke as his spouse.

Barnes advised his readers, “If you do go though, watch out for the first‐act curtain. It's a beauty, untouched for a hundred years, straight out of ‘East Lynne’ and absolutely great. It may be the best curtain on Broadway between now and next June.” Unfortunately, no further details are available.