||20th year jubilee volume of the Yiddish theater on New York. The volume reflects the heavy Jewish influence in a city with a growing Jewish population. During the 1890s, Yiddish theater was developing rapidly on Second Avenue and growing into a training ground for actors, among them personalities such as Paul Muni , who were inevitably to turn their eyes toward Broadway. Another source of trained actors was the music hall or variety theater. It abounded in Jewish comedians and sent much talent to the "legitimate" stage.
The theater in the United States, especially on New York's Broadway, was during the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century strongly influenced by Europe and especially by England, but gained independence fast and developed largely under the stimulus of Jewish directors and players. An early if atypical figure was the actress Adah Isaacs Menken , who created a sensation in the title role of Byron's Mazeppa in 1861. Before the end of the century, the playwright David Belasco and the producers Frohmans brothers were important names in the New York theater world, the first of the great line of personalities that was subsequently to arise on Broadway. As long as westward migrations continued, New York would continue to assert itself as one of the world capitals of Yiddish theater. Almost all of the most important actors and performers in the American Yiddish theater were foreign-born, many having started their careers in cultural centers like Warsaw and Odessa.