Friday, September 30th 2022   |


Rob McClure’s addition to ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ makes stellar cast go nova

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out“)

When the musical “Mrs. Doubtfire” was preparing to open in 2020, the show became a victim of the forced lockdown of all theaters in New York. When COVID restrictions were relaxed and it finally opened  in December of 2021 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, producers had hoped the worst of the pandemic was over. But the Omicron variant caused the production to...

Lea Michele will replace Beanie Feldstein in ‘Funny Girl’ on Broadway


(JTA) — Lea Michele will replace Beanie Feldstein as the lead of Broadway’s revival of the extremely Jewish musical “Funny Girl,” with Jewish Broadway legend Tovah Feldshuh stepping into a key supporting role.

Michele and Feldshuh’s first performance will be Sept. 6. Feldstein announced Sunday she would be leaving the Broadway show July 31, earlier than originally planned. Standby Julie Benko will take over the role until...

Billy Crystal performs ‘Yiddish scat’ at the Tony Awards


(JTA) – “Ella Fitzgerald, wherever you are, I apologize in advance.”

Billy Crystal gave this year’s Tonys a jolt of Jewish shtick when he coaxed the audience into a call-and-response “Yiddish scat” routine, as part of a live performance to promote his Broadway musical, “Mr. Saturday Night.”

In a good-faith mockery of Fitzgerald’s own famous “scat” routine, Crystal, in character as his show’s fading comedian star Buddy...

Broadway’s new ‘Evan Hansen’ is an Asian-American Jew

By EVELYN FRICK, Special from Hey Alma

In a different world, Asian Jewish actor Zachary Noah Piser would’ve become an Olympic swimmer.

“Before the age where everyone started growing, I was like, becoming an Olympic swimmer is my journey. This is my path like 100%,” Zachary told me when we spoke recently. “And then as soon as everyone started hitting puberty, I was like, OK, I cannot be an Olympic...

Ben Platt to play Jewish lynching victim Leo Frank in a revival of Broadway musical ‘Parade’


(JTA) – Broadway’s Jewish golden boy is set to play one of the most infamous victims of antisemitism in American history.

“Dear Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt will star as Leo Frank in a new revival of the 1998 Broadway musical “Parade,” a dramatization of Frank’s 1915 lynching at the hands of a gang of white Southerners. The show will have a limited run Nov. 1-6 at...

‘Funny Girl’ snubbed, but ‘Lehman’ stock rises, in Tony nominations

(JTA) – Some of the biggest Jewish names on Broadway weren’t shining so bright in this year’s Tony nominations. 


The much-anticipated revival of “Funny Girl,” with Beanie Feldstein in the Barbra Streisand role as pioneering Jewish comedienne Fanny Brice, came up almost empty-handed, despite Feldstein’s star status and the fact that the book was revised and updated by stage and screen legend Harvey Fierstein.

The show received only one...

Manilow & Sussman’s ‘Harmony’ extends Off-Broadway run in New York

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out“), Special to the CCJN

It’s taken 25 years for Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman to birth their baby, but “Harmony: A New Musical,” with direction and choreography by Warren Carlyle, is proof of the time-worn adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This time, the Off-Broadway production presented by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbeine (NYTF, with a host of...

Beanie Feldstein opens up on ‘Funny Girl’ role: ‘Incredibly meaningful for me as a Jewish woman’

(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — “Funny Girl” is so deeply ingrained in Beanie Feldstein’s life that she doesn’t even remember the first time she watched the movie. “From my developmental psychology classes in college, I think I remember that your first memories are around 3 years old,” she told the New York Jewish Week. “Funny Girl” “precedes my memory. I’ve always loved it as far as I’m concerned.”


Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick headline revival of Neil Simon’s ‘Plaza Suite’

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out“)

Of all the ironies, after two years of preparing to open the very first revival of Neil Simon’s “Plaza Suite” on Broadway, Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick had a week past their opening night before the two of them came down with COVID, forcing the cancellation of a week’s worth of performances. It had taken more than two years...

Playing a rabbi, Chip Zien is the central character in ‘Harmony’

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

With the opening of “Harmony: A New Musical” on Wednesday night, April 13, a 25-year journey for composer Barry Manilow was finally completed. Manilow, the 78-year-old successful singer whose string of hits established him as a pop icon in the Seventies, worked with artistic partner Bruce Sussman for the past quarter century to present a musical about the largely unknown tale of the...