Cover photo: shtetl, Eastern Europe, 1916/1917

The God of Vengeance

Sholem Asch, translated by Richard Nelson with Robert Marx
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BBC correspondent David Mazower (Sholem Asch’s great-grandson) described THE GOD OF VENGEANCE as “admired, translated, parodied, panned, banned, prosecuted, withdrawn, forgotten, revived, celebrated.” An international sensation after its 1907 world premiere in Berlin at Max Reinhard’s Deutsches Theater, Asch’s play quickly became the first Yiddish drama performed in translation across Europe and America. Notoriety was a key part of its success. Nearly every production sparked some level of controversy due to the script’s conflicting themes of hypocrisy and religious faith, rebellion and tradition, its brothel setting, graphic domestic violence, “gutter poetry” reminiscent of Wedekind, and an unprecedented erotic scene of lesbian seduction. This pre-Holocaust drama is today circumscribed by a very different post-Holocaust world, but THE GOD OF VENGEANCE remains one of the great urban dramas of the Yiddish Theatre repertoire.

Production Info

Cast: 12 total (7 female, 5 male, bit parts)
Full Length Drama (about 110 minutes)
Single Set
Period Costumes
About the Author


  • Sholem Asch

    Jewish playwright and novelist Sholom Asch was born in Poland in 1880. He first came to the United States in 1909, was naturalized in 1920, and lived in Europe and the United States, settling in Israel in 1956. One of the most widely known Yiddish writers, he won his first success with the play THE GOD OF VENGEANCE, produced by Max Reinhardt in Berlin in 1907 and given productions in many languages and places since then. His works include the novels Mottke the Thief (1917), Uncle Moses (1920), Three Cities (1933), The War Goes On (1935), The Nazarene (1939), The Apostle (1943), One Destiny (1945), East River (1946), Mary (1949), Salvation (1951), Moses (1951), A Passage in the Night (1953), and The Prophet (1955). His two collections of short stories and novelettes are Children of Abraham (1942) and Tale of my People (1948). Asch's writings often depict Jewish life in Europe and the United States. Later works reflect the common spiritual heritage of Jews and Christians. Several of his plays were very successful in the Yiddish theatre in New York City. He died in 1957.

  • Richard Nelson

    Richard Nelson's plays include the four-play series, THE APPLE FAMILY (THAT HOPEY CHANGEY THING, SWEET AND SAD, SORRY, REGULAR SINGING (Nominated for Outstanding Play in Drama Desk Awards 2014; Public Theater, 2010 – 2013), NIKOLAI AND THE OTHERS (Lincoln Center Theater, 2013), FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE (Hampstead Theatre, 2012), HOW SHAKESPEARE WON THE WEST, (Huntington Theater, 2008), CONVERSATIONS AT TUSCULUM (Public Theater, 2008), FRANK'S HOME (Goodman Chicago, Playwrights Horizons, 2007), RODNEY'S WIFE (Playwrights Horizons, 2004), WHERE I COME FROM (National Theatre Connections), MADAME MELVILLE (which ran in the West End starring Macaulay Culkin and Irene Jacob and opened in May 2001 Off-Broadway); GOODNIGHT CHILDREN EVERYWHERE (winner of Olivier Award for Best New Play, 2000), KENNETH'S FIRST PLAY (with Colin Chambers, RSC), THE GENERAL FROM AMERICA (at the RSC and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York), NEW ENGLAND (RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), MISHA'S PARTY (with Alexander Gelman, RSC and Williamstown Theater Festival), TWO SHAKESPEAREAN ACTORS (Tony nomination for Best Play, RSC and Broadway), COLUMBUS AND THE DISCOVERY OF JAPAN (RSC Barbican), SOME AMERICANS ABROAD (Olivier nomination, Best Comedy; RSC, Lincoln Center and Broadway), LEFT, BETWEEN EAST AND WEST (Hampstead), PRINCIPIA SCRIPTORAE (winner of Time Out Award, RSC and Manhattan Theater Club), THE RETURN OF PINOCCHIO, AN AMERICAN COMEDY, BAL, CONJURING AN EVENT, RIP VAN WINKLE, JUNGLE COUP, THE KILLING OF YABLONSKI, THE VIENNA NOTES (Obie Award). His musicals include JAMES JOYCE'S THE DEAD (starring Christopher Walken and Blair Brown; Playwrights Horizons, Belasco Theatre, Broadway, Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles, Kennedy Center, Washington; for which he received a Tony Award in 2000 for Best Musical Book), CHESS (the book for the Broadway musical), PARADISE FOUND (dir: Harold Prince and Susan Strohman), MY LIFE WITH ALBERTINE (with Ricky Ian Gordon; Playwrights Horizons), UNFINISHED PIECE FOR A PLAYER PIANO (with Peter Golub). His translations and adaptations include TYNAN starring Corin Redgrave (with Colin Chambers, RSC and West End), LOLITA with Brian Cox (National), Molnar's THE GUARDSMAN (Kennedy Center), Carriere's THE CONTROVERSY (Public Theater), Fo's ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST (Broadway), Strindberg's THE FATHER with Frank Langella (Broadway) and MISS JULIE (Yale Rep), Beaumarchais' THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO (the Guthrie and Broadway); Molière's DON JUAN, Ibsen's WILD DUCK and ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE, Pirandello's ENRICO IV, Goldoni's IL CAMPIELLO, Erdmann's THE SUICIDE. With the esteemed translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, he was co-translated Chekhov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD, Gogol's THE INSPECTOR, Turgenev's A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY and Bulgakov's DON QUIXOTE. Films: Hyde Park on Hudson, staring Bill Murray and Laura Linney (Dir: Roger Michell), Ethan Frome, starring Liam Neeson (Dir: John Madden); Sensibility and Sense, staring Elaine Stritch and Jean Simmons (Dir: David Jones). Television: The End of a Sentence with Edward Herrmann (Dir: David Jones). Radio Plays include: HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, LANGUAGES SPOKEN HERE (Giles Cooper Award), EATING WORDS (Giles Cooper Award), ADVICE TO EASTERN EUROPE, AN AMERICAN WIFE (all BBC).

  • Robert Marx

    Robert Marx has worked extensively in theatre and opera as an essayist, consultant and producer. He is President of The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, one of New York City's leading arts philanthropies. Previously, he was Executive Director of Lincoln Center's New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and director of the theatre programs at both the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. He was a senior member of the producing team that developed the Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival (part of the 1984 Olympic Games in that city). During those years, he was also Artistic Associate of the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, Co-Producer with Off-Broadway's Music-Theatre Group, and served on the artistic advisory committee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. With Theatre For A New Audience in New York City, he was Associate Producer on a number of Off-Broadway productions, including Shakespeare's TROILUS & CRESSIDA (directed by Sir Peter Hall), and the American premiere of WASTE by Harley Granville-Barker (OBIE Award 2000, Best Play, directed by Bartlett Sher). Since 1995, Mr. Marx has appeared regularly on the Metropolitan Opera's live Saturday afternoon radio broadcasts as an intermission host, commentator and Opera Quiz panelist. A former consulting editor of Opera News, his speaking engagements have included appearances at Lincoln Center, BAM, the Juilliard School, the Salzburg Festival, the Avignon Festival, the 2018 World Opera Forum in Madrid, and the Vail Symposium.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 7/24/2019
Pages 74
ISBN 9780881458435

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The God of Vengeance is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC