Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Soul Doctor, a musical based on the life of Shlomo Carlebach, the charismatic rock star singing rabbi, is now in previews at the Circle in the Square theater on Broadway. It will have its formal opening on August 15. The show had previous short runs off-Broadway and in Florida and New Orleans, but now it's ready for prime time.
We were in the audience last night attending one of the preview performances and joined other attendees in singing and clapping to the familiar Carlebach songs, even though most of them were rendered in English translation. The cast was energetic, ebullient, and talented, and painted a convincing portrait of the rabbi who came to America from Vienna as a baby, was nurtured in a traditional Yeshiva environment, and left it to embrace a Hasidic outlook with music at its core.
The musical uses Carlebach's friendship with Nina Simone, the African-American singer, songwriter, and pianist as the focal point of the story. They have a chance encounter when they are both trying to find their musical direction early in their careers, and renew their friendship along the way to fame and broad recognition of their talents.
Carlebach is shown singing his songs in Brooklyn, Greenwich Village, San Francisco, Jerusalem, and Vienna. His role is played by Eric Anderson.
Tickets are listed on the show's web site at $135, but they can be ordered from BroadwayBox.com for $69 from now through August 14, and for $85 from August 15 through September 29. There are no Sunday performances. We enjoyed the show and recommend it for a fun evening. It runs three hours, including a 15 minute intermission.
We found a video with a behind-the scenes look at a rehearsal and interviews with some of the cast members.
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)