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Scholem Asch's

The God of Vengeance

Original program from the Provincetown theatre in 1922

  • 1906 - Sholem Asch writes The God of Vengeance

  • 1907 - First produced in German at Berlin’s Deutsches Theater, directed by Max Reinhardt , starring Rudolph Schildkraut as Yekel

  • 1907 - Russian translations play in Moscow and St. Petersburg

  • October 13, 1907 - Original Yiddish in USA opens at Thalia Theatre in NYC, show performed regularly in New York over next fifteen years.

  • 1918 - Translated into English by Isaac Goldberg

  • December 20, 1922 – First English language production (Isaac Goldberg’s translation) at Provincetown Playhouse downtown; Schildkraut’s English language stage debut; packed houses

  • January, 1923 – Harry Weinberger takes over as producer and arranges for a Broadway move

  • February 2, 1923 – English production moves to slightly larger Greenwich Theatre; packed houses

  • Feb 19, 1923 - Opens on Broadway at Apollo Theatre on 42nd Street, with major edits (exact cuts unknown) to the script (from Weinberger), altering the nature of Manke and Rivekele’s relationship

  • Unknown – Rabbi Joseph Silverman of Temple Emmane-El lodges a formal complaint against the production

  • February 21, 1923 – Police present, taking notes, in house during performances

  • March 6 , 1923 – Cast arrested mid-performance; grand jury indicts entire company, producer, & owner of theatre under 1140 A of Penal Code, which prohibits entertainment that ‘leads to the corruption of the morals of youth or others.’

  • Show continues run; after declining ticket sales moves to minor theatre in Bronx. Harry Weinberger circulates pamphlet in which Asch and other theatre people (e.g. O’Neill) write in support of the play.

  • Mid-May, 1923 – show closes

  • May 23, 1923 – Verdict issued: all found guilty of “Obscene, indecent, immoral, and impure material” by Judge John McIntyre;  Weinberger and Schildkraut fined $200 each, rest receive suspended sentences

  • 1926 – Weinberger has verdict reversed and charges dropped on appeal

  • In recent decades the production has been revived periodically in the United States and Europe, in many languages

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