Born in 1907 in Bessarabia, Imperial Russia (Moldova) and died in 1958 in New York. Although he may have come from a family of cantors going back six generations, he seems to have been drawn to the stage and popular entertainment from an early age. Oysher joined a Canadian travelling Yiddish theatrical troupe in 1921 and moved to New York City in 1923. By 1932 he had started his own company, entertaining in the USA and South America. After returning to the USA from Buenos Aires in 1934, he had difficulty finding work in New York’s Yiddish Theater. When he was offered the opportunity to sing for the High Holy Days at the First American-Rumanian Synagogue in NYC’s Lower East Side, he accepted the position and became a cantorial sensation!
Despite his great success as a cantor Moishe Oysher was ever the entertainer and became quite famous for his starring roles in three Yiddish films including, “The Cantor’s Son” (1936), “The Singing Blacksmith” (1938), and “Overture to Glory” (1940). He was also a successful recording artist.
Moishe Oysher was able to combine his passion for the Chazzanut with his love of performance, creating a crowd-pleasing style that thrilled audiences in synagogues and theaters. His recordings represent the world of our fathers and grandfathers who appreciated Oysher’s rich voice and fiery style.
Born in Bessarabia, Imperial Russia (Moldova) in 1913 and died in 2004 at the age of 90. The daughter of a cantor, Fraydele and her brother Moishe were surrounded by religious music from a young age and were tutored in the chants of the synagogue by their father. Her brother, Moishe Oysher, went on to a career as an actor and star of classic Yiddish art films and later became a legendary American cantor.
Fraydele began her career as a child actress in the Yiddish theaters that once dotted Second Avenue on the Lower East Side. She starred in musicals such as "The Little Queen," "The Golden Girl," and "Fraydele's Wedding." Long before Barbra Streisand starred in the 1983 Hollywood hit movie, “Yentl,” Fraydele Oysher had made a reputation for playing roles as a Yeshiva boy who (as revealed in the final, show-stopping number) is really a girl.
Fraydele became one of the first women to sing cantorial music onstage. She also toured the United States, South America and Cuba, performing folk songs, theater songs and liturgical chants with her husband, Harold Sternberg, a member of the Metropolitan Opera chorus for 40 years.
Born Marilyn Sternberg (1943), Marilyn Michaels is the daughter of Harold Sternberg (Metropolitan Opera singer) and Fraydele Oysher (star of Yiddish theater). She began her career singing with her mother when she was only seven years old. It is probably not surprising that Marilyn showed her singing talents early, since she came from a family of cantors going back seven generations. Her uncle was the legendary, Moishe Oysher, often known as the “Master Singer of his People.”
Marilyn’s rich family musical heritage, in addition to her own unique talents, has resulted in award-winning performances. She gained recognition for her starring role as Fanny Brice in the National Touring Company’s “Funny Girl,” and also for her performances in the Emmy-winning television series, “The Kopykats,” which aired on ABC in 1972 and was the forerunner of the parody skits later seen on “Saturday Night Live.”
Over the years Marilyn Michaels has performed on numerous TV variety and talk shows including “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Dean Martin Show," ”The Today Show," ”The Tonight Show,” “The Howard Stern Show,” and “Hollywood Squares.”
A multi-talented performer, Marilyn sings in five different languages. Known as “the woman of a thousand faces and voices,” she won rave reviews in “Catskills on Broadway” in 1991, for her spot-on impersonations of Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman and Judy Garland, among others.
The JSA does not sell CDs. This performer's music is available
for purchase at: www.marilynmichaels.com
Music in this collection courtesy of Marilyn Michaels.