Jewish Shows Make a Roaring Comeback on Broadway
by Alice Burdick Schweiger
After the Broadway Covid-related shutdowns the past few years, New York City theaters are thriving once again. Long running shows are back and new musicals and plays are debuting. Here are some new shows with a Jewish connection:
“& Juliet” imagines a new life for Juliet after Romeo. This romantic comedy is a jukebox musical that includes some of the biggest hits by Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Ariana Grande. Book by David West Read (writer for “Schitt’s Creek”), music supervision, orchestrations, and arranging by Bill Sherman.
At the Stephen Sondheim Theatre 124. W. 43rd. St. (833) 274-8497.
“A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical” tells the story of music legend Neil Diamond, a poor Jewish boy from Brooklyn who became universally revered. His first break into songwriting was in the 1960s, and this energetic show highlights his disappointments, successes, and rise to stardom. Will Swenson and Mark Jacoby both play Neil at different ages. Direction is by Michael Mayer. The musical score features the singer’s most beloved hits, including “Sweet Caroline” and “Cracklin’ Rose.”
At the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St. (800) 447-7400.
“Bad Cinderella” is a joyful fairy-tale musical that has been modernized. In this version, with music by Andrew Lloyd Weber and lyrics by David Zippel, Cinderella is not a damsel in distress who needs to be saved. The show is in previews and opens March 23.
At the Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th Street. (212) 239-6200.
“Camelot,” based on the classic musical with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, has a 21st century spin thanks to Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the book and updated this production. Directed by Barlett Sher (he was raised Catholic, but when he was a teenager, he learned that his father was Jewish), the show is in previews and opens April 13. King Arthur’s wife Guinevere falls in love with his favorite knight, Sir Lancelot.
At the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 W. 65th St. (Lincoln Center.) (212) 239-6200.
“Funny Girl” tells the bittersweet story of New York Jewish girl Fanny Brice, who had a unique vocal talent and persevered to become one of the most famous performers in history. She had a tempestuous relationship with gambler Nicky Arnstein, which is explored in the musical. Starring Lea Michele (born to a Jewish father, raised in her mother’s Catholic faith) and Tovah Feldshuh. Revised book by Harvey Fierstein and direction by Michael Mayer.
At the August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St. (888) 985-9421.
“Good Night, Oscar” takes place in 1958, when late night host Jack Paar features Oscar Levant on his live show. While Levant was an odd genius and a brilliant concert pianist with remarkable wit, he was unpredictable, and the show explores the distinction between entertainment and exploitation. Starring Sean Hayes; Ben Rappaport is also in the cast.
At the Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St. (212) 239-6200.
“Kimberly Akimbo,” features a smart and funny New Jersey teen, who suffers from an aging disease that makes her look like a 72-year-old woman. With many obstacles in her way, she’s determined to find happiness in a world where time is not on her side. Starring Victoria Clark as Kimberly, one of the show’s understudies is Sky Alyssa Friedman. Book by David Lindsay-Abaire; directed by Jessica Stone.
At the Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. (212) 239-6200.
“Leopoldstadt” takes its title from the Jewish quarter in Vienna. Written by Tom Stoppard, this passionate story of love and endurance begins in the last days of 1899 and follows one extended Jewish family deep into the 20th century. The show played in London to sold-out audiences and won the Olivier Award for Best New Play. Stoppard reached back into his own family history to craft this drama. Much of the large cast is from London’s West End Production. A limited number of $47 digital lottery tickets, and $35 general rush tickets, are available for each performance and can be found here.
At the Longacre Theatre, 220 West 48th St. (212) 239-6200.
“New York, New York” is set in 1946, when, after World War II, New York City begins to reestablish itself as the exciting city that never sleeps. Loosely based on the 1977 Martin Scorsese film, this show includes some of the original music by John Kander and Fred Ebb, as well as new songs by Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Previews begin March 24. Direction and choreography are by Susan Stroman.
At the St. James Theatre, 246. W. 44th St. (888) 985-9421.
“Parade” is based on the true story of Leo Frank, and 13-year-old Mary Phagan, who was found dead in the basement of a pencil factory in 1913 in Georgia. Frank, the Jewish superintendent of the factory, was wrongfully accused of the murder. Starring Ben Platt, book by Alfred Uhry and music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.
At the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St. (212) 239-6200.
“Pictures From Home” stars Nathan Lane, Danny Burstein, and Zoe Wanamaker. This comedy explores a family’s history in photographs. Directed by Bartlett Sher, and written by Sharr White. Runs through April 30.
At Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St. (833) 274-8497.
“Some Like it Hot,” based on Billy Wilder’s classic 1959 film starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe, is set in Chicago during prohibition. Two best friends and musicians are forced to flee town after witnessing a mob hit. But with the gangsters looking for them, they disguise themselves as women and join an all-female big band crossing the country. Music by Marc Shaiman and Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman.
At the Sam. S. Shubert Theatre, 222 W. 44th St. (212) 239-6200.
“Asi Wind’s Inner Circle” features a mystifying magic show where the audience is not only a witness to the logic-defying magic, but a part of it as well. Asi Wind, who moved to New York from Israel 22 years ago, uses a deck of cards to stump the audience. This 70-minute show runs through May 28. Due to popular demand, this show has been extended three times. In the show, he also speaks about being an immigrant and his connection to Harry Houdini, famously born Erich Weiss.
At The Judson Theatre, 243 Thompson St. (929) 502-5652,