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Messiah in America: (A Drama in Five Acts)

Moyshe Nadir

Translated from the Yiddish by Michael Shapiro

In Moyshe Nadir’s 1932 satire, we meet a shyster producer who has decided to bring the Messiah. He casts his assistant's uncle—fresh off the boat from the old country—in the role and proceeds to fleece the faithful with seven shows a week plus matinees on Shabbos and Sundays and redemption on an instalment plan. His competition, a Coney Island sideshow man, decides to bring his own Messiah: a young, hip Messiah who can play football and dance the Black Bottom:  “Our Messiah won’t come riding no ass. Our Messiah’ll come riding a motorcycle at 70 mph.”

And so, the Messiah Wars are under way.

Translated from the Yiddish by Michael Shapiro





ISBN: 9791096677047

Publication Date: August 2018 

Advance praise for Messiah in America

The great Yiddish-American humourist and satirist Moyshe Nadir deserves to be better known to English-speaking readers. Happily, Michael Shapiro’s idiomatic translation of  Messiah in America captures the biting humour of Nadir’s play and shows us that the satire of this Depression-era comedy is still fresh and that its relevance to the “Messianic” promises of prosperity for all Americans is as great today as it was in 1933.

             —Solon Beinfeld, Professor Emeritus of History, Washington University in St. Louis.

                                                                       Co-Editor in Chief, Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary.


A terrific new translation of Moyshe Nadir’s uproariously acidic take on Depression-era Jewish-American life.

             —Rokhl Kafrissen, Cultural critic and playwright.     

“Shapiro's translation manages to capture the playful pungency of Nadir's characteristic style. That's quite an achievement ... 

             —Mikhail Krutikov, Yiddish Forverts   


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