Sunday, November 28th 2021   |


Stephen Sondheim, Jewish theater legend who reshaped the American musical, is dead at 91


(JTA) — Stephen Sondheim, the Jewish lyricist and composer who redefined the American musical through a monumental canon of influential and innovative theatrical works, has died at 91. He died suddenly Friday after enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner with friends at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, The New York Times reported.

Sondheim’s stunning debut came writing the lyrics to Leonard Bernstein’s score for “West Side Story” in 1957,...

Jewish creative team possesses spooky good production of ‘The Addams Family’ from JPAS

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

The macabre characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams were anything but Jewish, which is why it may be interesting to musical theatre lovers that the creative team behind “The Addams Family” is not merely Jewish, but very Jewish.  Describing his early Jewish upbringing in Toronto, composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa has commented that it, along with his being gay and left-handed, contributed...

As Broadway returns, here are 7 Jewish reasons to head back to the theater


(JTA) — Thanks to safety measures such as vaccination and mask requirements, Broadway shows are playing again after a shutdown that lasted a year and a half, the longest in Broadway history.

The first show to open was the Bruce Springsteen concert “Springsteen on Broadway” in June, followed by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s play “Pass Over” in August. Those two limited engagements have closed, but there are now...

Don’t wait or this ‘Dolly’ will go away

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

Because she was played on screen by Barbra Streisand and because her last name appears to have Jewish origins, the brazen character of Dolly Levi has been mistakenly taken by some as Jewish. This is simply not the case.

First imagined by Thornton Wilder as a minor character in his 1938 play “The Merchant of Yonkers,” Dolly Gallagher Levi was fully fleshed...

9/11 musical ‘Come From Away’ returns to stage and screen, with Jewish values at the center of its story


(JTA) — When U.S. airspace closed as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, 38 planes were grounded in Gander, Newfoundland, stranding nearly 7,000 international travelers “on the northeast tip of North America.”

So begins the story of “Come From Away,” the Tony Award-winning Canadian musical chronicling the real experiences of those “plane people,” and of the good-hearted locals who...

‘Freedom’ finishes its finest hour this weekend

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

For its second production of “Freedom,” the National World War II Museum elected to bring in one of the people responsible for its development, the only non-Jew within its group of four writers, Sean Patterson. But, not to worry, as Patterson will admit, there is more than enough Jewish material within its pages to make this an important work for viewing by...

Flawless direction guides SLT’s ‘A Grand Night for Singing’

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

It’s taken two years for the darkened stage of Tulane University’s Dixon Hall to be witness to the frenetic work of dozens of dedicated lovers of musical theatre, for the spotlights to find their marks and for the sounds of sweet music to fill that once empty space.

But, the long wait is finally over. Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane (SLT) came...

North Coast Rep revels with Tovah Feldshuh’s ‘Becoming Dr. Ruth’

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

Tovah Feldshuh has made a career of originating memorable roles of strong female characters on both the small and large screens, but the milieu where she has been especially captivating and probably feels most at home has been on the stage. It’s why her roles as Golda Meir (“Golda’s Balcony“), Leona Helmsley (“The Queen of Mean“) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (“Sisters in...

Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Songs for a New World’ freshly minted at Jazz Museum

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

Jason Robert Brown was all of 25 when he first propositioned Daisy Prince, the daughter of renowned Broadway producer Hal Prince, to take him on as a project in which he would supply the songs and she would direct.

For five years prior, Brown had plied his trade on and off-Broadway and on Madison Avenue, providing music for the soundtrack of his...

Updated ‘God of Vengeance’ casts light on Jewish double standard of the past

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

The story of “God of Vengeance” (“Got auf Nekome”), the three-act drama in Yiddish by Sholem Asch was famously recounted in 2017 with Paula Vogel’s Indecent. That remarkable Tony Award-winning work spoke about the playwright, the success of his work, its controversial 1923 Broadway run that was shut down due to alleged immorality and its ill-fated cast.

Directed by Bruce Bierman, the Yiddish...