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June 12, 2017 10:34 am

Jewish Connections On and Off Broadway

avatar by Alice Burdick Schweiger

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A production photo from Indecent. Photo: Provided.

The Tony Awards took place on Sunday night. Dear Evan Hansen was named Best New Musical, and Oslo was crowned Best New Play.

Here are some shows on the New York stage with a Jewish connection (either an actor, director, writer, musician or theme).

Broadway

Anastasia, based on the 1956 and 1997 20th Century Fox films, features a new musical score. From the Russian empire to Paris in the 1920s, a young woman attempts to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer, she enlists the aid of an endearing con man, and together they embark on an adventure to find her home and family. Music and lyrics by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens.

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At the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St. (212) 239-6200.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory invites theatergoers to experience Willy Wonka’s magical, semi-dark chocolate world. Little Charlie and four other kids win a contest, and are given a tour of the chocolate factory run by Willy (played by Christian Borle,) Based on the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl, the story was a film in 1971 starring Gene Wilder, and again in 2005 starring Johnny Depp. John Rubinstein plays the grandfather. In this stage production, the book is by David Greig, with music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman, and lyrics also by Scott Wittman.

At the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St. (800) 982-2787.

Come from Away, based on a true story, follows a group of travelers whose planes were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, on September 11, 2001. The townspeople of Gander open up their hearts and homes to accommodate the stranded travelers. One of the passengers is a rabbi who creates a kosher kitchen while they are there.  Twelve talented actors play multiple roles. Music and lyrics by the husband-and-wife team of Irene Sankoff and David Hein. 

At the Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St. (212) 239-6200.

Dear Evan Hansen is a brilliant, contemporary, bittersweet musical. A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have — high school student Evan Hansen finally fits in, and is now thrust into social media after a classmate’s suicide. Music and lyrics are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) — who just won the Tony Award for their work, with a book by Steven Levenson (who also won the Tony) and direction by Michael Greif.  The show stars Ben Platt, who gives one of the best performances on Broadway, and won the Tony Award for his show-stopping turn.

At the Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St. (212) 239-6200.

Groundhog Day is a musical adaption of the 1993 Bill Murray film. A cynical Pittsburgh TV weatherman is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA, and finds himself caught in a time loop, forced to repeat the same day over and over again. Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and book by Danny Rubin.                                                                     

At the August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St. (877) 250-2929.

Hello, Dolly makes a return to Broadway with Bette Midler in the lead role of Dolly Gallagher Levi. Middler won the Tony for her performance, and the show was also named Best Musical Revival. The show was based on Thornton Wilder’s farce The Matchmaker, and was a sensation when it opened on Broadway in 1964, starring Carol Channing. Music and lyrics are by Jerry Herman, book by Michael Stewart and direction by Jerry Zaks.

At the Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St. (212) 239-6200.

Indecent explores a shameful time in Jewish theater history. Written by Pulitzer Prize playwright Paula Vogel, and directed by Rebecca Taichman (who was awarded the Tony for her efforts), Indecent tells the story of Sholem Ash’s controversial 1906 play God of Vengeance — about a Jewish family who runs a brothel in their basement, and whose daughter falls in love with one of their prostitutes. When Ash’s play opened on Broadway, the cast and producers were arrested and jailed for obscenity. Seven actors in this production play multiple characters — among the cast is Richard Topol,

At the Cort Theatre. 138 W. 48th St. (212) 239-6200.

Marvin’s Room shows how laughter can help us survive life’s darkest times. In the play, two estranged sisters reunite when one of them is diagnosed with leukemia. Directed by Anne Kauffman, Marvin’s Room is about the importance of unconditional love, hope, compassion and humor.  Starring Janeane Garofalo, previews began on June 8; the show opens on June 29, and closes on August 27.

At the American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (212) 719-1300.

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,  a rock-pop musical adapted from a portion of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, stars Josh Groban and Denee Benton. It is directed by Rachel Chavkin.

At the Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St. (212) 239-6200.

Oslo tells the story of the top-secret meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.  It is directed by Barlett Sher, and written by J.T. Rogers. Michael Aronov won the Tony for his supporting performance in the show. Oslo is scheduled to run through July 2.

At the Vivian Beaumont Theatre (212) 239-6200.

Prince of Broadway celebrates the career of legendary director and producer Harold Prince. This tribute includes highlights from his musicals West Side StoryA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ForumFiddler on the RoofCabaretEvitaA Little Night MusicSweeney ToddThe Phantom of the Opera and more. The also show features original songs.  Among the cast members are Tony Yazbeck and Brandon Uranowitz. Previews begin on August 3, and the show opens on August 24.

At the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. (212) 239-6200.

Sunset Boulevardstarring Glenn Close, is a revival of a musical based on the Billy Wilder film. Delusional fading film star Norma Desmond lives in seclusion in her mansion on Sunset Boulevard with her servant. She then meets an impoverished Hollywood screenwriter, and persuades him to work on her script, which she hopes will put her back in the limelight. The show closes on June 25.

At the Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway (800) 982-2787.

Terms of My Surrender will star filmmaker Michael Moore in his theatrical debut. In his one-man show, Moore will talk about current events, especially Trump and how he became president. Directed by Michael Mayer, the show begins previews on July 28, and opens on August 10.

At the Belasco Theatre ,111 W 44th  St. (212) 239-6200

The Little Foxesa revival of a play written by Lillian Hellman, stars Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon. This legendary drama, set in 1900 Alabama, follows Regina Giddens and her ruthless family, including her sister-in-law, Birdie, as they clash in often cruel ways. The show closes on July 2.

At the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. (212) 239-6200.

War Paint tells the story of two innovative cosmetic giants, Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. These powerful women were fierce competitors in the beauty industry during the first half of the twentieth century. Rubenstein, played by Patti LuPone, experienced antisemitism in both her personal life and business. Christine Ebersole plays Arden. The show features music by Scott Frankel, lyrics by Michael Korie and direction by Tony Award Nominee Michael Greif. Douglas Sills stars as Harry Fleming.

At the Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st Street. (877) 250-2929.

Off Broadway

Napoli, Brooklyn, directed by Gordon Edelstein, is set in 1960s Brooklyn, as the women of the Italian immigrant Muscolino family struggle to find happiness while living in fear of their bad-tempered father/husband. The play runs through September 3.

At the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, 11 W. 46th St. (212) 719-1300.

Soulpepper On 42nd Street is a presentation by  Toronto’s largest theater company, Soulpepper. They will be showcasing original plays, musicals and concert performances during July. The US premiere coincides with the 150th birthday of Canada. Soulpepperwhose executive director is Leslie Lester, features a cast and creative team of more than 65 artists. One of the shows is The Secret Chord: A Leonard Cohen Experience. For a complete listing of performance times and dates, visit www.soulpepper.org

At the Pershing Square Signature Theatre, 480 West 42nd St. (888) 898-1188.

Terezin tells the story of two Jewish girls — Alexi, a brilliant violin player, and her friend, Violet, who is locked in a desperate struggle for survival after arriving in the Terezin concentration camp. Violet disappears, and Alexi teaches a Nazi commander to play the violin in the hopes that he will reveal the whereabouts of her friend. The show runs through July 2.

At the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 W. 42nd St. (212) 279-4200.

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