Pho to by Pa u l Ko ln ik
Arts & Entertainment
The cast in the finale of
A Chorus Line
This holiday season offers visitors to the Big Apple a bunch
of newproductions with a Jewish twist.
Alice Burdick Schweiger
Special to the Jewish News
f you think Broadway isn't accommo-
dating family-minded theatergoers, .
think again. This holiday season there
is an abundance of musicals suitable for
younger audiences. "Parents want to see
shows they can take their children to, and
Disney alone has four musicals playing on
the New York stage: Tarzan, Beauty and
the Beast, The Lion King and their newest
extravaganza, Mary Poppins:' says Kenneth
Jones, a former Metro Detroiter and enter- .
tainment contributor to the Jewish News
now serving as managing editor of Playbill.
"I think Mary Poppins, in particular,
should be high on many families' what-to-
see list. It is a massive physical production
with amazing special effects"
Beloved musicals making a return to
Broadway are the revivals of A Chorus
Line, Les Miserables and Company.
"These shows all had very long runs and
have returned to play for new audiences and
generations',' says Alan Cohen, spokesperson
for the American Theater Wing.
The best news, says Cohen, is that atten-
dance is way up. "Last season was the high-
est grossing one in Broadway history, and
we expect to match or exceed those num-
bers this coming year'.'
As in most years, there are plenty of
dramas and musicals with a Jewish con-
nection — stars, composers, playwrights,
directors and themes. In fact, there are four
Off-Broadway plays with "Jew" or "Jewish"
in their title: 25 Questions for a Jewish
Mother; My Mother's Italian, My
Father's Jewish & I'm in Therapy; A Jew
Grows in Brooklyn; and Jewtopia.
Here is a sampling of what's new on and
George Furth wrote the book; he also has
acted in many films, including Oh God!,
Doctor Detroit, Butch Cassidy and the
Sundance Kid, Blazing Saddles and
At the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243
W. 47th St. (212) 239-6200.
Adapted from the 1975 film by Jewish
documentary filmmakers and brothers
Albert and David Maysles, this musi-
cal is set in the Hamptons and tells the
story of Jackie Kennedy Onassis' eccentric
aunt Edith BOuvier Beale and heradult
daughter,"Little" Edie. Both were socialites
who became notorious recluses. Starring
Christine Ebersole with music by Jewish
composer Scott Frankel and lyrics by
At the Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W
48th St. (212) 239-6200.
A Chorus Line
In a string of show-stopping musical num-
bers, this Tony Award winning revival about
17 dancers who audition for their opportu-
nity and dream of a lifetime — to perform
on Broadway — is being hailed as "one
singular sensation:' One by one, the dancers
step up and tell their captivating stories.
Music by Jewish composer Marvin
Hamlisch, with lyrics by Edward Kleban;
lighting by Jewish lighting designer Natasha
Katz (who is married to former Jewish
Detroiter and sound designer Dan Moses
Schreier) with Tharon Musser.
At the Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W.
45th St. (212) 239-6200.
This musical revival tells the story of five
married couples as seen through the eyes
of their bachelor friend, Bobby. In contem-
plating love and commitment in New York,
Bobby weighs the pros and cons of wedded
life. Cast members play musical instru-
Jewish composer Stephen Sondheim
wrote the music and lyrics. Jewish librettist
Based on the best-selling book by Nick
Hornby and the 2000 movie starring John
Cusack, this musical comedy centers on Rob,
a record-store owner who knows everything
about music but not much about keeping
a girl. After his latest girlfriend jilts him, he
recounts his top five breakups and tries to
figure out how to win her back.
Music and lyrics by Amanda Green
(daughter of legendary Broadway lyricist
Adolph Green) and Torn Kitt; both are Jewish.
Oak Park native Jeffery Seller, a co-producer
of White Christmas (currently at Detroit's
Fox Theatre) is one of the producers.
At the Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St.
Fame Becomes Me
This fun musical night at the theater stars
the Irish-Catholic Martin Short (who says
he is "Jewish on his manager's side") and
tells the partly true-mostly fictitious story
of the comic's road to fame. At the piano
on stage, and as part of the show, is Jewish
composer Marc Shaiman (Hairspray).
Some of the cast members impersonate the
likes of Joan Rivers, Sarah Jessica Parker,
Britney Spears and Tommy Tune.
Usually there is a celebrity in the audience
who is brought up on stage and interviewed
by Short's signature character, Jiminy Glick.
Star guests have included Martha Stewart,
Regis Philbin, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld
and Jerry Springer.
At the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242
W 45th St. (212) 239-6200.
Based on the once controversial and scan-
dalous 1891 German Expressionist play
by Frank Wedekind, this coming-of-age
alternative rock musical has moved from
Off-Broadway to the Great White Way. The
story tackles a variety of issues: first sex,
homosexuality, abortion and teen suicide.
Music by Duncan Sheik and book and
lyrics. by Steven Sater; cast member Gideon
Broadway Bounty on page 44
November 23 2006