2nd Avenue Theatre
35 - 37 2nd Avenue,
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Previous Names: Kessler's Theatre, Molly Picon Theatre
David Kessler’s 2nd Avenue Theatre opened on September 14, 1911 and was the first of the Yiddish theatres to open along the ‘Rialto’. Many important Yiddish artist’s served their apprenticeship and gained experience in their art under the infuence of David Kessler; among these were Maurice Schwartz, Bertha Gerstein and Celia Adler. He also established standards for acting and taste for better plays among actors and public.
Kessler’s Theatre also screened movies and is listed in the 1914-1915 edition of American Motion Picture Directory. Its location being given at S.W. 2nd Avenue and E. 2nd Street.
In 1924 an ailing Thomas Adler appeared in Gordin’s "The Stranger". It was his final performance and two years later the theatre was used for his funeral service. An estimated crowd of between 150,000 and 200,000 packed the street to view the cortage as it made its way along the Lower East Side - pausing briefly at each of the Yiddish theatres.
Molly Picon joined Jacob Kalich, Celia Adler and Aaron Lebedeff in a celebration of ‘The 75th Anniversary of the Yiddish Theatre’ which was staged at the 2nd Avenue Theatre in 1953. The theatre went dark soon afterwards and in 1958 it was demolished for a parking lot. By 2017 a new building on the site houses an Unleashed Dog Wash business on 2nd Avenue and a parking garage on E. 1st Street.
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