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Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy

Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy

On DVD: 
Tuesday, May 7, 2013

~Bonus Disc With Additional Interviews and Performances

~16-Page Viewers Guide

~Biography of Narrator Joel Grey

You don’t have to know a lot about Broadway to watch Broadway Musicals” A Jewish Legacy. The documentary is jam packed with educational history of the medium, its writers, actors, actresses, songwriters, directors, and more, but the doc goes just beyond Broadway to provide you with some interesting tidbits on American History as inspired by Broadway.

Frasier’s David Hyde Pierce brings us in with introduction (even ending on a song). As the doc rolls on we first learn about Jewish immigration and how most of the music we know and love from Broadway was inspired by old Jewish songs that songwriters recalled from their childhoods. With so many interviewees we get many renditions of songs on the piano, most of which are played in contrast with the new compared to the old folk original. It’s an interesting lesson on music from Broadway, a bit of background on the composers, as well as a look at their inspirations coming from outside of their cultural heritage and the ties therein. There affinity for America is well understood and well examined as well.

I guess I’ve never really thought about where the idea’s for some Broadway plays come from. To be honest, no one has ever put it into this kind of perspective before. Broadway was, and is, a venting mechanism for the Jewish culture. A place where their stories can be told, their traditions shared, but most importantly of all, a place to showcase the tragedy of their lives and the power of hope and love (in most cases) that brings opportunity from tragedy. The message can be straight forward or in a metaphorical sense, but in any case the stage is the endless canvass in which that message can be shared.

Going beyond the documentary you get a bonus program that contains over 3 hours of additional interviews and performances. Time ran short for me on this bonus program but with the main program having shown me some pretty interesting points of view as well as historical pieces of significance, I look forward to getting a look at the bonus program in full.  

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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