What’s New — and Jewish — On and Off Broadway
Below is a listing of shows with Jewish connections on and off-Broadway.
Angels in America, written by Tony Kushner, stars Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield. This Pulitzer-Prize winning epic revival tackles Reaganism, McCarthyism, immigration, religion, climate change and AIDS, set in the mid 1980s in New York City. Previews begin February 23, the show opens on March 2 and closes June 30.
The Band’s Visit, moving from the off-Broadway stage, tells the delightful story of an Egyptian police band that arrives in Israel to perform in a concert at the Arab Cultural Center. But after a mix-up at the border, they find themselves in the wrong town and with no bus until the next day. They are taken in by local Israelis, and their lives become poignantly intertwined. The show stars Tony Shalhoub. The Band’s Visit was a movie in 2007.
Carousel, set in a small New England town, is a revival with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Carnival barker Billy Bigelow becomes romantically involved with a young woman, who gives up everything for him. The cast includes Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller and Renee Fleming. Previews begin February 28, and the show opens on April 12.
Children of a Lesser God, written by Mark Medoff, stars Joshua Jackson (The Affair) and Lauren Ridloff. This revival of a 1980s play is about a speech therapist who works at a school for the deaf. While trying to teach the school’s deaf cleaning woman to speak and read lips, the two fall in love. Previews begin March 22 and the show opens on April 11,
Frozen, an eagerly awaited stage adaptation of the hit animated Disney film, is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story of a princess who freezes everything she touches. The song “Let It Go” won an Oscar.
Previews begin February 22, and the show opens on March 22. The cast includes Caissie Levy and Robert Creighton. Music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Book by Jennifer Lee.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2 transfers from London and brings seven members of the British company to the New York stage. The play continues the story about author J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard Harry Potter, his friends and his son. In the piece, Harry time-travels to save the world from the evil Lord Voldemort. Among the ensemble cast is Madeline Weinstein. Previews begin March 6 and the show opens on April 22. The production is presented in two parts and is meant to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening), or the next day.
Junk tells a story of American capitalism. Set on Wall Street in the 1980s, the cast of 23 includesSteven Pasquale, Matthew Rauch, Miriam Silverman and Joey Slotnick. Written by Ayad Akhtar, it’s about Robert Merkin, a resident genius of an upstart investment firm who proclaims that debt is an asset, and sets in motion a financial crisis. Many of the characters in the show are Jewish. It runs through January 7.
M. Butterfly, a revival of the 1980s drama, stars Clive Owen. It’s based on a true story about the French diplomat who has an affair with a Chinese opera singer, whom he believes is a woman, but, in fact, is a man. Directed by Julie Taymor, the original music is by Elliot Goldenthal. The show closes on February 25.
Meteor Shower, starring Amy Schumer and Jeremy Shamos, is written by Steve Martin. In the play, two couples get together for dinner and find themselves in a marital free will — and in a meteor shower, during one hot night in California. Directed by Jerry Zaks and written by Steve Martin, it’s currently in previews and opens on November 29. The show closes January 21.
My Fair Lady, a revival of the classic musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, features book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, and music by Frederick Loewe. Directed by Barlett Sher. The cast includes Norbert Leo Butz and Diana Rigg. Previews begin March 15 and the show opens on April 19.
Once On This Island, a revival of the 1990 musical, takes place on a Caribbean island. A fearless peasant girl falls in love with a young man that she saves from a car crash. He’s from the wealthy side of the island, which is ruled by four island gods who try and reunite the couple. Music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, and directed by Michael Arden, it’s in previews and opens on December 3.
Rocktopia fuses some of the best rock songs of the past century with some of the greatest classical music. The music is by Mozart, Queen, Beethoven, Journey, Handel, U2, Tchaikovsky, Pink Floyd, Heart, Rachmaninoff, Foreigner, Copland, The Who and more. Created by Randall Craig Fleischer and Rob Evan. There’s a 5-piece band, a choir of 40 and an orchestra of 20. Previews begin March 20 and the show closes April 29.
At the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. (212) 239-6200.
Spongebob Squarepants brings to life the Nickelodeon cartoon series about the undersea residents of Bikini Bottom. Book by Kyle Jarrow, songs by music industry giants including Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper, They Might Be Giants, Jonathan Coulton, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, Plain White T’s, and David Bowie. Directed by Tina Landau, it’s in previews and opens on December 4.
Actually tackles sexual consent. At a wild party during their freshman year at Princeton, Tom, who is African-American, and Amber Cohen, who is Jewish, connect in a way that seemed innocent. But as things progress, they find themselves in murky territory and a school inquiry occurs. Written by Anna Ziegler. The show runs through December 3.
Bulldozer, a new rock musical, features a 4-piece band and spotlights the late Robert Moses as he pushed his way through New York City. Moses was known as a “master builder” in NYC, and was responsible for some of the city’s bridges, the Westside Highway, the parkways, the United Nations, Lincoln Center and more. Musical direction by Rob Baumgartner.
The Sorceress (Di Kishefmakherin), written in 1879 by Abraham Goldfaden, was the first Yiddish theatre production even produced in the United States. This operetta has been restored word by word and note by note. The story features an innocent young heroine, her fiancé and an unforgettable cast of characters, including a wicked stepmother and a peddler. Presented by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and performed in Yiddish with English and Russian subtitles, it runs December 25 to January 1. All tickets are $25.
Acclaimed 4-time Tony Award winning Broadway director Jerry Zaks will be honored in a star-studded gala benefit in New York City on Monday, December 18. Broadway: A Jewish American Legacy is presented by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. The intimate concert will consist of songs from Broadway’s Jewish writers and composers, and some of the evening’s performers include Victor Garber, David Hyde Pierce, Gavin Creel and Ron Rifkin. The event’s chairs include Robert DeNiro, Nathan Lane, Bernadette Peters, Harvey Fierstein and Chazz Palminteri.
Jerry Zaks has directed more than 30 productions on the New York stage, and is currently represented on Broadway with the shows Hello, Dolly, (starring Bette Midler), Meteor Shower (starring Amy Schumer) and A Bronx Tale: The Musical.
His long list of theatrical credits includes Guys and Dolls, Lend Me a Tenor, The Front Page and The Man Who Came to Dinner. Zaks is being honored for his contributions in both American musical theatre and Jewish life, through his work in entertainment. There will also be a special award given to Bruce E. Slovin, the founder of the Center For Jewish History and former director of Circle in the Square Theatre.
Tickets start at $650 and include a dessert reception. It will be held at the Edmond J. Safra Theatre at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place. For tickets call (212) 213-2120 ext. 208. Or online at www.NYTF.org