MONEY, LOVE, AND SHAME!; or, Tsuris Galore
The Melodramatic Smash of 1910
by Isidore Zolotarevski
Translated by Allen Lewis Rickman
Directed by Adam Immerwahr
August 27 – 30
Cast: Andrea Goss, Jeremy Keith Hunter, Anne L. Nathan, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Allen Lewis Rickman, Jon Norman Schneider, Todd Scofield, and Frank X.
Everyone knows marrying for money can be a shaky proposition. Throw in a tacky landlord, a philandering chauffeur, an unplanned pregnancy, and a shocking courtroom reunion, and you’ve got a marriage that never stood a chance!
Originally written in 1910, this hilarious theatrical romp serves up some of the most popular themes of serious 19th century Yiddish drama with a heaping spoonful of irreverence. The result is an appealingly appalling melodrama you won’t want to miss.
Playwright Bio: Isidore Zolotarevski (c. 1873 – 1946) was born in Ukraine where he grew up studying Russian and German. It wasn’t until he immigrated to America in 1880 and began performing with amateur Yiddish Theater troupes across New England that he began to study Yiddish. Zolotarevski wrote his first play, “Der farfaser (The Author”) in 1885 and spent the next several decades performing in and writing for Yiddish theaters not only in New York but across the county in cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark, Chicago, and Boston. Among Zolotarevski most popular plays are Der Yeshive Bokher (“The Yeshivah Student,” 1899), Di Yidishe Ana Karenina (“The Jewish Anna Karenina,” 1901–2), and Di Vayse Shklavin (“The White Slave,” 1909). Gelt Libe un Shande (“Money, Love and Shame”) was first staged in 1910 and quickly became a staple of the Yiddish stage. While Zolotarevski’s plays were dismissed as shund (trash) by proponents of the more serious drama coming from Jacob Gordin and his disciples, Zolotarevski’s work was beloved by theater managers and audiences across American and Europe.
Translator Bio: Allen Lewis Rickman is a writer, director, and actor. Plays he’s written have been produced in France, Denmark, Spain, Luxembourg, Sweden, and New Jersey. Directing credits include the Drama Desk-nominated Yiddish Pirates of Penzance, which he also co-adapted and acted in. Acting credits include the Coen brothers’ Oscar-nominated A Serious Man (for which he also did the Yiddish dialogue translation), Boardwalk Empire (recurring role), and stage appearances on Broadway, Off Broadway, in regional theater, in Yiddish theatre, and at Carnegie Hall. Most recently he directed, produced, and acted in Tevye Served Raw (Garnished With Jews) Off-Broadway, and he wrote complete new subtitles, and recorded commentary tracks, for the new set of restored classic Yiddish films, due out from Kino/Lorber in July.
Why this play? Who doesn’t need a little bit of humor in their life right now? Scholars have attributed the popularity of Zolotarevski’s plays to the “dramatic immaturity” of early 20th century audiences, a significant portion of whom were immigrants fleeing the atrocities of Eastern Europe. But was it their lack of exposure to serious drama that drove them to plays with clunky plots and ridiculous characters, or was it a deep need to process the trauma of what they had just escaped by laughing, together, in the safety of a theater? Today, 110 years after it was first produced, this play once again offers audiences the opportunity to laugh in the face of trauma – a welcome reminder that even though theater buildings have been rendered temporarily unsafe by this pandemic, theater itself will always be a safe space.