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June 12, 2019 12:34 pm

Jewish Theatre, On Broadway and Off

avatar by Alice Burdick Schweiger

A production photo from the Yiddish-language production of Fiddler on the Roof. Photo: Victor Nechay / ProperPix.

The Tony Awards aired on Sunday night, with many Jewish winners — including actress Elaine May and playwright Kenneth Lonergan for The Waverly Gallery, director Rachel Chavkin for Hadestown, and director Sam Mendes for The Ferryman.

Here are some musicals and dramas with a Jewish connection, both on and off-Broadway:


Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations traces Detroit’s R&B group from the streets of the Motor City, to their innumerable ups and downs and rise to the top of the charts. While climbing the road to success, they get a new agent, Shelly Berger, who, as mentioned in the show, is Jewish. Some of their classic beloved songs, such as My Girl and For Once in My Life, are performed. At the Imperial Theatre.

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All My Sons is Arthur Miller’s classic drama about greed and ethical responsibility. Starring Tracy Letts and Tony-nominated Annette Bening, it’s directed by Gregory Mosher. The Keller family’s son Larry goes missing while serving in the military during World War ll. Meanwhile, the hidden secret that the father knowingly shipped defective aircraft parts during the war, emerges. Closes June 23. At the American Airlines Theatre.

Burn This, a revival of Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play about love and raw attraction, stars Keri Russell, Adam Driver, and Brandon Uranowitz. A mysterious death brings together two unlikely strangers, and their connection sparks a sizzling relationship. Closes July 14. At the Hudson Theatre.

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, written by Terrence McNally, tells the story of a diner waitress and a short order cook whose one-night stand may become more. It stars Michael Shannon and Audra McDonald. Natasha Katz did the lighting, and Nevin Steinberg the sound. It is produced by Debbie Bisno. Closes August 25. At the Broadhurst Theatre.

Hadestown, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical, is a modern retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The story follows two interweaving love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone. Rachel Chavkin won a Tony for best director. At the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Ink is set in London, and tells the story of Rupert Murdoch, who turned a struggling paper, The Sun, into a wildly popular, must-read tabloid. He brings on the editor Larry Lamb, who recruits an unlikely team of underdog reporters. Producers include Sonia Friedman. Closes July 7. At the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Kiss Me Kate stars Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase. Two performers, divorced from each other, find themselves starring opposite one another in a musical version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Music and lyrics by Cole Porter. Book by Sam and Bella Spewack. Directed by Scott Ellis. Closes June 30. At Studio 54.

Moulin Rouge The Musical, based on Baz Luhrmann’s beloved 2001 film, is set in the Montmartre Quarter in Paris at the turn of the century. An English poet falls in love with the cabaret singer at the Moulin Rouge, where bohemians, artists, and aristocrats all gather. The cast includes Danny Burstein. Music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by Justin Levine. Previews begin June 28, and the show opens July 25. At the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

Oklahoma!, which won a Tony for Best Musical Revival, offers a contemporary spin on Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s 1943 classic. Daniel Fish wanted to make the show relevant today, and has taken the story of frontier competition and jealousy into modern times. New arrangements and orchestrations are by Tony-nominated Daniel Kluger, and sound design is by nominated Drew Levy. Rebecca Naomi Jones plays Laurey. Free chili and corn bread are served to the audience during the intermission. At the Circle in the Square.

The Cher Show tells the musical history of the pop star’s career. Book by Rick Elice and music by various composers. Three different actresses play Cher, including Stephanie J. Block, who won a Tony Award. Jeffrey Seller (Rent, Hamilton) is one of the producers. Jarrod Spector plays Sonny Bono. At the Neil Simon Theatre.

The Ferryman, the Tony winner for Best Play, is directed by Sam Mendes. Set in rural Northern Ireland in 1981, the Carney’s farmhouse is full of activity and preparations for the annual harvest. But this year’s festivities are interrupted by the news of the death of one of their family members, who had disappeared 10 years ago. Closes July 7. At the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

The Prom is a delightful, high-energy show about an Indiana girl who wants to attend her high school prom with her girlfriend. Meanwhile, after a bad review on Broadway, a group of self-centered actors wanting to gain media attention to boost their careers, travel there to help her cause. Starring Beth Leavel, Josh Lamon, and Christopher Sieber, it’s written by Bob Martin. Music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Begulelin. At the Longacre Theatre.

To Kill A Mockingbird, the story of racial injustice and childhood innocence, stars Jeff Daniels,  Tony-winner Celia Keenan-Bolger, and Gideon Glick. Set in Alabama in the 1930s and based on Harper Lee’s 1960 novel of the same title, it’s Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation. Bartlett Sher is the director  and Adam Guettel (grandson of composer Richard Rodgers) did the musical score. At the Shubert Theatre.

Tootsie, based on the film with the same name, is about Michael Dorsey, a talented but difficult actor struggling to find work, until a desperate stunt lands him a plum role in a Broadway show. David Yazbek was Tony nominated for best original score, and Scott Ellis for direction. The delightful musical stars Tony winner Santino Fontana. At the Marriott Marquis Theatre.

In What the Constitution Means to Me, Heidi Schreck delves into her own history as a teenager who earned college tuition by winning Constitutional debate competitions. She brings back her teenage self and traces the relationship between four generations of women in her own family and their rights. Producers include Aaron Glick, Matt Ross, and Nederlander Presentations. Closes August 24. At the Helen Hayes Theatre.


Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, with English and Russian subtitles, is directed by Oscar and Tony Award winner Joel Grey. The critically-acclaimed National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) production stars Steven Skybell as Tevye and Jackie Hoffman as Yente. Fiddler on the Roof, which premiered in 1964 and won 9 Tonys, including Best Musical, is based on Tevye and His Daughters, a series of stories by the Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem. The creative team features musical direction by Zalmen Mlotek and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier. At Stage 42, 422 West 42nd Street.

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