In a small shtetl in Bessarabia in the early twentieth century, a traveling Yiddish acting company comes to town. The townspeople react in unison: 'What is this? Actor-types? Comedians? Who needs them'? But for Reisel, daughter of a poor cantor, and Leibel, son of a rich man, the theatre is magic, and they immediately fall under its spell.
SHOLOM ALEICHEM is the pen name of Sholem Rabinovitch (1859-1916), the most beloved writer in Yiddish literature and the creator of the famous Tevye character from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. His hundreds of short stories, plays, novels, poems, and feuilletons are still read, studied, produced, and translated all over the world. ALIZA SHEVRIN (translator) is the foremost translator of Sholem Aleichem, having translated eight other volumes of his fiction as well as novels and stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer and I. L. Peretz. She holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Cornell University and a master's degree in social work from the University of Kansas. The recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to preserve Yiddish works by rendering them into English, she has also been a visiting scholar at the Rockefeller-Bellagio Study Center in Italy, where she translated Sholem Aleichem's novel In the Storm. TONY KUSHNER (foreword) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. His plays include Angels in America, Homebody/Kabul, and Caroline or Change. He lives in New York.