Leah Napolin passed away at her home in Sea Cliff, New York on May 13, 2018. She was 83 years old. Napolin made her playwriting debut in 1975 with “Yentl,” adapted from a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer. The show made it to Broadway, with 223 performances, and since then has been performed widely around the world.
It tells the story of a young Jewish woman who disguises herself as a man so she can study the Talmud and enroll in a yeshiva. Coming out as it did during the growth of the second wave feminist movement, it was representative of a woman who took control of her own life.
Napolin has many short plays, essays and articles to her credit, and in 2004, she was awarded the John Gassner Memorial Playwriting Award. Her novel Root: A Novel in Three Acts was published earlier this year; and a memoir, War Baby 1935-1950 is also due to be published this year.
Leah Napolin, Whose ‘Yentl’ Adaptation Made Broadway, Dies at 83