musicals

Unleashing The Atomic Era

New rock musical focuses on moral dilemma of Hungarian Jewish scientist who invented the nuclear chain reaction.

07/01/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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Once unleashed, some genies are almost impossible to put back in their bottles. The unsung Hungarian Jewish genius Leó Szilárd invented the nuclear chain reaction, patented the idea of a nuclear reactor and convinced Albert Einstein to endorse the Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb — only to campaign unsuccessfully for it not to be dropped on Japan.

Scene from “Atomic,” which features a huge “cube matrix” metal tower meant to suggest the periodic table. Carol Rosegg

Carole King Musical Doesn’t Sing

Despite a strong performance from Jessie Mueller, ‘Beautiful’ never quite coheres.

01/14/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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If ever pop music could be said to define a generation, it was in the 1960s, a time of social ferment set to the beat and rhythm of youth. Carole King, working with her husband Gerry Goffin, helped to set the tone for that era with her catchy tunes about the elusiveness and slipperiness of love. In “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” which opened last Sunday at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, King’s music shines through the decades. But the musical itself, which stars Jessie Mueller in a scintillating performance as the composer, never quite coheres into a satisfying show.

Jessie Mueller as Carole King and Jake Epstein as Gerry Goffin in “Beautiful.” Joan Marcus

She Moved The Pop Music Earth

How a Brooklyn girl named Carol Klein bridged cultures in the ’60s and rewrote American popular song.

01/08/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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She took an unconventional route to superstardom, but it was a soulful road that Carole King traveled.

Born Carol Klein in Brooklyn in 1942, she did not set out to become a performer. In “Beautiful,” the new musical about King that opens this Sunday on Broadway, King’s career as a budding songwriter comes to the fore. Starring Jessie Mueller (“On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”) as King, the musical opens a window on a pivotal 1960s era in pop music in which a group of mostly Jewish composers and lyricists wrote for mostly black performers, changing the face of American culture in the process.

King of American Pop: Play looks at her career. Getty Images

Harvey Milk, The Musical

07/24/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

He was a martyr to the cause of gay rights. When Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first openly gay public official, was gunned down by a fellow city supervisor in 1978, the nation was forced to confront its own discrimination against homosexuals. Now comes a new musical, “A Letter to Harvey Milk,” based on Lesléa Newman’s 1988 short story of the same name, about the friendship between a Holocaust survivor and his young lesbian writing teacher.

Michael Bartoli as Harvey Milk in “A Letter to Harvey Milk.” Peter James Zielinski

Love And Marriage, Song And Dance

From speed dating to weddings, three New York Musical Theater Festival productions give a 21st-century Jewish spin on romance.

09/20/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

From the rival lovers in “Oklahoma” to the interracial relationships in “South Pacific,” romance has always been a major theme of the Broadway musical. Now come three new productions in the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) that give a 21st-century Jewish spin to themes of love and sex.

The cast of “My History of Marriage.”
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