his operetta, "The Yiddish
Captain." On 28 March 1935 he was taken in as a member
of the Yiddish [Hebrew] Actors' Union. K. also
participated as "Dave" in the Yiddish film, "Song of
Songs," by Anshel Schorr, and wrote many songs for
About his operetta, "Mayn
shtetele yass (My Little Town Jassy)," B. Levitan
"In 'Shtetele yass,' the new
play... in the Parkway Theatre... is a comedy-drama that
engages with much warm music ...The drama takes place in
a gypsy camp... Understand that there are gypsies, and
there is a wide field of gypsy songs with melodies that
are both cheerful and filled with a longing. A very
strong impression was made with the song, "Mayn heym (My
Home)," sung by the young gypsy "Maruta," Max Kletter,
who expresses his entire longing for his old home, the
town of Yass [Iasi], which he barely remembers from his
childhood years, then when he was suddenly torn away
... from light operettas
that demand we not be too logical ...however there needs
to be a serious attitude ...also the audience should
sympathize with the feeling of the hero in the drama
...in general, the play is received quite warmly, and to
the audience it looks quite fine."
"He [Max Kletter], a
slender, handsome young man with a tenor voice, who
forgets himself in the high tenor with a tinge of
expelled Yodre wine and bryndze [cottage cheese made
from sheep's milk.] The position of the voice is full of
nature ....Romanian or Bessarabian anxiety was demonic
[?]. He can sing and has musical culture... with Gertie
Bulman -- an ideal operetta pair ..the operetta ...is a
composition ...by Max Kletter himself ...the libretto is
not guilty of great originality ...'My Little Town Jassy'
is filled with 'folk melodies,' 'zhak,' with 'Frunza
Verde,' and as they still call it, the 'Wallachian folk
songs,' which the Yiddish melodies have made eyes for
...the offering has shown that we need good, original
Yiddish operettas, with guest pairs, as well as with the
ensemble of the Excelsior Theatre, which has shown that
we have the actors for operettas."
About his operetta, "The
Yiddish Captain," T. Beilin writes:
"...operetta is a theatrical
challah, which can be used to make it look
beautiful, tasty and fragrant. Max Kletter tries in his
operetta to maintain everything close to the spirit of
the Vienna operetta, but with a Jewish character.
...he participates, everyone in their own genre: the
prima donna Gertie Bulman has to play and to sing and
seem like a little Viennese summer bird... the female
characters again are played by Bella Handfus and
Shoshana Berdichevski and created the proper comical
duet ...in the play there comes in Shmuel Iris and Y.
Handfus ...Kletter possesses the sense of bringing in
comical characteristics into the operetta ...the quartet
brings out sorts of sweets and comics ...B. Berdichevski
is fine in the role of a good Jew ...and Morris Peltz [dergentst
dem kapote-teyl] of the operetta ...Max
Kletter sang fine, which he accomplished with taste,
with dramatic effect... in general the operetta is a
fine matter of theatre playing and a disciplined
performance of the guest-stars and ensemble."
When K. could no longer find
a secure place for himself on the Yiddish stage in
America, he organized his own orchestra, which he
conducted and played in on various instruments.
K. was married to the
actress Sylvia Feder.
On 7 April 1952 K. passed
away in New York and came to his eternal rest on the
society plot of the Yiddish Theatrical Alliance.
Zalmen Zylbercweig writes:
"Just as it is was
difficult in the first years to come to Yiddish theatre
in America and acquire a bit or recognition, he was so
popular and beloved on the Yiddish stage in the later
years. Mightily vivacious, a gypsy type, full of life,
energetic, bold, burning, a beautiful voice, a little
passionate, a mixture of the Yiddish prayer leader and
the American 'crooner' (Weiner, Krechtser), he 'brought'
heart when he sung. he demonstrated a clear diction, and
although he was descended from Galicia, his Yiddish was
'assimilated,' not allowing [us] to recognize his
origin. he played the lover roles with heart and soul,
such that one even had to believe the false Hebrew."
characterized him this way:
"Even though he never had a
music teacher, he nevertheless played instruments. And
when the Yiddish theatre began to go up the mountain
slopes, the playing of an instrument strongly proved
useful. He put together his own orchestra and was a
As a human being Kletter was
an open book, very sensitive, but very much an intimate
friend. Nothing was too difficult when someone needed
something done. Kletter had love for the people around
him. He could not endure solitude. He possessed such a
magical power, to keep his friends around and hold them
Sh. E. from
Zalmen Zylbercweig and Rose Pivar.
Sh.R. -- In'm hign
yidishn teater, "Di yidishe tsaytung," Buenos Aires,
12 May 1929.
Teater-nositsn, dort, 19 May 1929.
B. Levitan -- "Mayn
shtetl yas" -- a komedye-drame in parkvay teater,
"Forward," N.Y., 10 Nov. 1939.
Shmuel Roszhanski --
Teater-retsenzies, "Di yidishe tsaytung," Buenos
Aires, 7 April 1940.
Sh.F. -- Der debut
fun maks kleter un goyrti bulman in ekseldior, "Di
prese," Buenos Aires, 7 April 1940.
T. Beilin -- "Der
yidisher kapitan," "Di prese," Buenos Aires, 28
Teater-retsenzye, "Di yidishe tsaytung" Buenos
Aires, 12 May 1940.
Moshe Tarlowski --
Maks kleter, "Daily Morning Journal," N.Y., 30 April