Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy Airs on PBS Tonight

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy poster PBSFans of Broadway and those who work in the theater industry have often remarked on the major impact that Jewish people have had on the musical artform (there’s an entire song about the phenomenon in the musical Spamalot). Michael Kantor’s new documentary, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, now explores this connection in depth. The 90-minute program airs tonight, January 1, on PBS as part of the network’s popular “Great Performances” series. (Check local listings for exact times.)

Broadway’s own Joel Grey (Cabaret, Chicago) narrates Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, and the documentary includes footage from Broadway musicals as varied as Fiddler on the Roof, The Producers, Funny Girl, and Wicked, along with interviews with many of Broadway’s most notable writers and composers. Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Kurt Weill, and Leonard Bernstein are among the many Broadway titans featured.

The documentary closely examines the unusual fact that during the early decades of the development of American musical theater, Broadway shows were almost exclusively created by Jewish Americans. Broadway performers, writers, and producers like Harold Prince, March Shaiman, Phyllis Newman, John Kander, and Mel Brooks are among the many interviewed for the documentary to talk about the past and continuing influence that American Jews have on Broadway theater.

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Pawdesh Salawi

Broadway Theatre Writer at New York Show Tickets Inc.
Pawdesh has been writing about Broadway ever since seeing her first show on the great white way in 2001. Now she sees over one hundred Broadway (and off-Broadway) shows a year. She is also a member of the Drama Desk and would love to vote on the Tony's one day. The Office Voted Her Most Likely To: Marry rich and divorce young