Alexander Olshanetsky was born in Odessa, Ukraine. He played with the Odessa Opera orchestra and toured Russia and Siberia, and later was the choral director for a Russian operetta company. He stayed in Kharbin (today in China), and conducted a Yiddish theater group there. In 1922, Olshanetsky immigrated to the U.S. and worked as a composer and conductor for the Yiddish theater. From 1925 and until his death, Olshanetsky was one of the most prominent composers and conductors of the "Second Avenue" milieu.
Zalman Zylbercweig was born in a small town outside of Lodz, Poland. His father was Tsvi-Hirsh Zylbercweig, a Hebrew and Yiddish writer. As a young boy, Zalman moved to Lodz with his family, where he enrolled in a modern religious Jewish school. Zylbercweig continued his secondary education at the Lida Yeshiva of Rabbi Isaac Jacob Reines.
Salcia Weinberg (Shure Licht) was born in 1878 in Przemysl, Austro-Hungarian Galicia. Like Prager, Kalish, and Zwiebel-Goldstein, she too began her career in the choir of the Polish Theater in Lemberg, later switching to Gimpel’s Yiddish Theater.
Yiddish theater star Jennie Goldstein was born in New York in 1896. She began acting at the age of six, playing child roles opposite actor greats Bertha Kalish, Keni Liptzin, and David Kessler. Goldstein’s childhood and early adulthood revolved around the Yiddish theater; by the age of sixteen she was already running her own theater with her husband, Max Gabel.
Paul Muni was born in Lemberg, Austria in 1895. Muni's parents, both actors in a traveling Yiddish repertory company, immigrated to America in 1899. As a young boy, Muni made several appearances on stage with his parents. His formal stage debut was in 1907, after which he was recruited to join Maurice Schwartz's Yiddish Art Theater Company. Muni often performed at the Second Avenue Theater and the Irving Place Theater during his 18 years on the Yiddish stage.