Musicals

The next big Jewish boyband?

By Jennifer Lipman, May 11, 2011
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Hertfordshire schoolboys Louis, Jake and Niall may not have marked their barmitzvahs yet, but they are already making waves in the world of rock music.

Their band, The Undecided, compete in the semi-finals of the annual Live and Unsigned contest this weekend. Watch them perform their track Soul for Rock'n'Roll and see what you think.

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Fiddler on the Roof writer dies

By Jennifer Lipman, October 27, 2010

The writer behind the stage and screen versions of the musical Fiddler on the Roof has died at the age of 98.

Playwright Joseph Stein, who won a prestigious Tony award in 1965 for the Broadway hit, had been suffering from prostate cancer. He died in New York.

Born to Polish immigrants to New York, he worked with Woody Allen and Mel Brooks, and wrote for both radio and television.

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West End show goes north

October 7, 2010

Local thespians were invited to share in the limelight when a hit London West End show was staged at a Manchester theatre.

The Jewish Theatre Company was approached by The Really Useful Company to provide supernumery actors for the crowd scenes for its production of Evita at the Lowry.

After rehearsals, six JTC actors appeared on stage and rubbed shoulders with the professional cast.

Howard Yaffe, publicity manager of the JTC, said: "We thought we would be asked just to do the walk-on walk-off crowd scenes, but were pleasantly suprised to be involved with two of the main numbers.

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On this day: George Gershwin is born

By Jennifer Lipman, September 26, 2010

The composer made just five dollars from his first song but later became an American musical legend.

Turned down for a job by Irving Berlin when he was 20, George Gershwin was told: “You’re meant for big things.” The prophecy came true.

The son of immigrants from Russia, Jacob Gershowitz left school at 15 and began writing popular tunes for Broadway musicals, concert hall shows and operas. In 1927 Fred Astaire took to the stage in Funny Face, a musical Gershwin wrote in collaboration with his elder brother Ira. It was one of several successes they had together.

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Barbra Streisand: Funny Girl clip

By Jennifer Lipman, August 11, 2010
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Barbra Streisand performs the classic song Don't rain on my parade from the Oscar-winning film Funny Girl

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Glee's Lea Michele sings Streisand

By Jennifer Lipman, June 14, 2010
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Glee's Jewish lead actress Lea Michele takes centre stage with her co-star Matthew Morrison to perform a rendition of 'Don't Rain on my Parade' at the 2010 Tony Awards ceremony.

The song comes from the musical 'Funny Girl', starring Barbra Streisand and Ms Michele is apparently in the running for the same role when the show returns to Broadway.

At the ceremony, another Jewish actress had reason to celebrate, with Scarlett Johansson winning best featured actress in a play.

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Marvin Hamlisch: I told Barbra Streisand to stop talking over my music

By John Nathan, August 21, 2009

The Oscar and Pulitzer winning composer Marvin Hamlisch talks to John Nathan about fame, ego and why he’s resigned to not being taken seriously

Marvin Hamlisch only has half an hour to talk. But he is one of life’s talkers and he says more in half an hour than a radio DJ in an entire afternoon.

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Enjoy musicals? Watch this man

By Benjamin Wolf, June 5, 2008

Alexander Bermange went abroad to get his break as a musical-theatre composer. But there are signs that he is going to be as big in the West End as he is in Frankfurt

The world of musicals — glamorous on the outside, competitive and demanding on the inside — is not always an easy place to be. To succeed there, you need passion, drive, luck and at least a modicum of talent. Alexander Bermange appears to have all these qualities. Born in 1976, he wrote his first musical, Nessie, in 1994, at the age of 17.

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They gave us Les Mis. Next up: Vichy France

By John Nathan, May 8, 2008

The new West End musical Marguerite takes a 160-year-old love story and updates it to wartime France. John Nathan asks its creators: will it be a hit?


The men behind the musical: co-writers Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg,
and lyricist Herbert Ketzmer

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Smash-hit dance show treat for care home

May 1, 2008

Eighty-one-year-old charity fundraiser Regina Waldman is to bring an international smash hit to a Leeds care home. The Spirit Of The Dance show is to be staged at Donisthorpe Hall in June. Leeds-born David King, the show’s producer, agreed bring the show to the North Leeds venue free of charge after Mrs Waldman met him in January. Mrs Waldman said: “This is the big one for Donny and me — it’s like having a corner of Las Vegas here in Shadwell.”

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