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Joseph Leonidovich Rayhelgauz was born on June 12, 1947 in Odessa. In an interview with a well-known magazine, the director said that he was named after his grandfather. During the war years, his mother Faina Iosifovna worked as a nurse in a hospital in Orenburg, and his father Leonid Mironovich fought in armored forces and reached Berlin. Joseph Raichelgauz also has a sister, Olga.

In peacetime, the director's mother worked as a typing secretary, her father was engaged in cargo transportation. At school, where Iosif Leonidovich studied, teaching was conducted in Ukrainian. After graduating from eight classes, he decided to continue his studies at the school for working youth, since he was hard on exact sciences. He began his career with the profession of electric and gas welder at the depot, where his father Joseph arranged for young Joseph.

However, the future director continued to attract creative activity. He did not miss the opportunity to participate in the crowd at the Odessa Film Studio. And after graduation he decided to enter the Kharkov Theater Institute on the specialty “director of Ukrainian drama”. Joseph Rayhelgauz successfully passed the entrance tests, the teachers noticed his talent. However, the Ministry of Culture of the Ukrainian SSR annulled the results of examinations due to the national question. Indeed, among the enrolled were three Russians, three Jews and only one Ukrainian.

Returning to his native Odessa, Joseph Rayhelgauz went to work as an actor in the Odessa Youth Theater. A year later, he went to conquer Moscow, thanks to his acquaintances, the writer Julius Daniel sheltered him. But soon he was arrested for creative work, discrediting the Soviet system.

Then Joseph Rayhelgauz again changed his place of residence, moving to Leningrad. In 1966 he entered LGITMiK at the directing department, but because of disagreements with the teacher – Boris Vulfovich Zon was again expelled. Got a job as a stage worker at the famous BDT of Tovstonogov and at the same time studied at the Leningrad State University at the Faculty of Journalism. At Leningrad State University, Joseph Rayhelgauz began to stage performances in the student theater.

In 1968, he again went to Moscow to enroll in GITIS on the course of Anatoly Efros, but as a result he studied with Andrei Alekseevich Popov. The graduation performance “My poor Marat” in 1972 was staged by Reihelgauz at the Odessa Academic Theater.

In the fourth year, Iosif Leonidovich practiced at the Theater of the Soviet Army, where he began to stage the play “And did not say a single word” based on the novel by G. Bell. Galina Volchek noticed him and offered to become a full-time director of the Sovremennik Theater.

The first project at the new location was a performance based on the story by K. Simonov “Twenty days without war”. The main role of Rayhelgauz invited Valentina Gaft. For the play "Weather for Tomorrow" in 1973 he was awarded the prize "Moscow Theater Spring".

In 1977, following his teacher, Popov went to the post of director in the Stanislavsky Theater. He staged the play “Self-portrait”, which did not suit the authorities. As a result, Raichelgauz was fired from the theater, he lost his Moscow registration and could not get a job anywhere. Health problems began, the director suffered a heart attack.

He was saved by an invitation to work in the Khabarovsk Drama Theater. In the early 80s, Joseph Raichelgauz was engaged in staging performances in different cities of the Soviet Union – Odessa, Vladimir, Minsk, Omsk, Lipetsk.

In 1983-1985, he worked at the Taganka Theater, but his play “Scenes at the Fountain” due to the departure of Yuri Lyubimov was never released. Then Rayhelgauz returned to Sovremennik again.

March 27, 1989 presented to the public the play "A Man Came to a Woman." The leading roles were played by Albert Filozov and Lyubov Polishchuk. This premiere marked the opening of the theater "School of the modern play," in which Iosif Rayhelgauz took the post of artistic director. During the thirty-year history of the theater he put on his stage about 30 performances, here are some of them:

  • “And why are you in a frock coat?” According to A. P. Chekhov (1992);
  • "The old man left the old woman" S. Zlotnikov (1994);
  • “Notes of the Russian Traveler” E. Grishkovets (1999);
  • “Boris Akunin. The Seagull ”(2001);
  • “Russian Jam” by L. Ulitskaya (2007);
  • The Bear by D. Bykov (2011);
  • The Last Aztec by V. Shenderovich (2014);
  • The Watchmaker by I. Zubkov (2015).

Joseph Rayhelgauz also staged performances in the United States, Israel, and Turkey.

Based on many of his performances, the director made television films: "Echelon", "Picture", "1945", "A Man Came to a Woman", "From Lopatin's Notes", "Two Scenes for Men". In 1997 he released a series of programs "Theater Shop."

He began to engage in pedagogical activity in 1974 at GITIS, since 2003 he has headed the director's workshop there. Since 2000, Rayhelgauz has been giving lectures on the history and theory of direction at the RSUH. At the University of Rochester (USA) in 1994, he taught the Chekhov Dramaturgy course.

Joseph Rayhelgauz is married to the actress of the Sovremennik Theater, Marina Khazova. The future wife was his student. The director admits that he really appreciated her when he went to the hospital after a scandalous dismissal from the Stanislavsky Theater. Unlike many, Marina did not turn away from him and supported her in every way. Raikhelgauz devoted his book “I do not Believe” to his wife.

The couple have two adult daughters – Maria and Alexandra. The eldest, Maria, works as a set designer. For the first independent work she received the Golden Mask Award. The second daughter, Alexandra, graduated from the philological department of Moscow State University, performs administrative functions in the “School of Dramatic Art”.

The eldest daughter gave the director a granddaughter Sonya. In a conversation with a journalist, Rayhelgauz admitted that he would like to spend more time with her, but even in the eighth decade he still disappears in the theater.

  • Honored Artist of the Russian Federation (1993);
  • People's Artist of the Russian Federation (1999);
  • Gratitude of the Mayor of Moscow (1999, 2004);
  • Order of Friendship (2007);
  • Order of Honor (2014).

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