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Nellie Casman

Nellie Casman (1896?–1984) was an actress and singer in Yiddish theater. She was born in Proskurov, Russia, and moved to the United States in the early 1900s.; She lived in Philadelphia where her father was a hazzan. Casman showed such talent as an actress when a child, the actress Rose Rubin took her into a professional Yiddish theater, where she began to play child roles in 1910.

Playing Gitele in Zalmen Libin's Gebrokhene hertser (Broken Hearts), she came to the attention of Regina Prager's husband, a theater manager, who hired her for his company in New York. She played several years as a soubrette in vaudeville houses and became successful enough to be hired to replace Bessie Thomashevsky in Edelstein's People's Theater where she played opposite David Kessler in Mish Mash. She then abandoned "legitimate theater" and went back to vaudeville (in English as well as Yiddish). She recorded Yiddish songs and couplets for the Victor and Columbia labels. In 1913, Casman married playwright Shlomo “Samuel” Steinberg and collaborated with him in writing songs and shows; their biggest hit, written in 1923, was Yossel, Yossel, popularized in English as “Joseph Joseph” by the Andrews Sisters in 1938.

She went to Warsaw in 1929, concertizing and appearing in her husband's play A khasndl oyf shabos. The couple went to Russia as well, where she performed in Dos vaybele. They then went to Argentina and toured with equal success. She played at the Odeon Theater in New York and then went back to Argentina where she performed Spanish songs and appeared in Steinberg's Di Komediantke. In 1932 she performed in London, Paris, Berlin, and Riga, then back to Warsaw. Her most popular character was a "Little Cantor" in the Aron Nager's play "Dos Khazndl".

In 1937 she played Di zingerin at the Roxbury and then left again for Argentina, where she toured the provinces in Lilian's operetta A shif mit kabtsonim (A ship with paupers) She performed on radio and later on TV, in English, and did some film work at Paramount Studio.

Casman played Pathetic on the TV show “The Goldbergs” for eight years, reprising the role in the 1950 film, “Molly”. In 1971-72, she played the role of Sara Gitel in “The Laugh Maker” with Jacob Jacobs and Leo Fuchs at the Eden Theater in NYC. In 1973, Casman appeared in the film The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob.

In 1982, the musical comedy, “The Showgirl”, which she wrote with Steinberg was performed by the Shalom Yiddish Musical Comedy Theater at Town Hall starring Mary Soreanu.

Following Steinberg’s death in 1938, Casman married two more times including marriage to chess master Jacob Bernstein . She died in New York City.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1896 (Khmelnytskyi), Died May 27th, 1984 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1918 - 1938

Roles Represented in DAHR: soprano vocal, composer, lyricist

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 31 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor B-28982 10-in. 11/23/1923 Mein Yussel Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer, vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-28983 10-in. 11/23/1923 Wie lang lebt min Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-29394 10-in. 2/11/1924 Chune, die bist mein matune Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist, composer, vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-29395 10-in. 2/11/1924 Oi sa mechaie, oi s'iz git Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-29397 10-in. 2/11/1924 Der rebe un die rebetzen Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-29573 10-in. 3/4/1924 Der shlisel Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-29574 10-in. 3/4/1924 Ich vell im geben Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer, lyricist, vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-29973 10-in. 5/7/1924 Tzipke Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-30735 10-in. 8/29/1924 Letter to my husband Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer, lyricist, vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-30736 10-in. 8/29/1924 Ver vill a moid mit alle males? Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist, composer, vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-30737 10-in. 8/29/1924 Gewald! Wie is mein man? Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with violin and orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-31795 10-in. 2/2/1925 A brivel tzu mein mann Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra lyricist, composer, vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-31796 10-in. 2/2/1925 Moishe Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-32025 10-in. 2/27/1925 Ich vill sich shpilen Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-32026 10-in. 2/27/1925 Oisgeshpilt Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-32045 10-in. 3/3/1925 Est, trinkt, und lacht Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer, vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor B-32046 10-in. 3/3/1925 Me' shokelt sich Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor BVE-34274 10-in. 1/15/1926 Nellie, tie dus nach amol Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal, composer  
Victor BVE-34275 10-in. 1/15/1926 Ich bin ferliebt in mein eigenem man Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal, composer  
Victor BVE-34276 10-in. 1/15/1926 Molly Dolly Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor BVE-34277 10-in. 1/15/1926 Wus zol ich tin as ich hob im lieb Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor BVE-34558 10-in. 2/10/1926 Aza teierer kosherer korben Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor BVE-34559 10-in. 2/10/1926 Ich vell eibig gedenken die nacht Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor BVE-36727 10-in. 10/21/1926 Der zimbel Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor BVE-36728 10-in. 10/21/1926 A malke Nellie Casman Female vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
(Results 1-25 of 31 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Casman, Nellie," accessed May 17, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/115076.

Casman, Nellie. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 17, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/115076.

"Casman, Nellie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 17 May 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/115076

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