This New Year, Toronto welcomes the return of Olive Branch Theatre with A Night on Jewish Broadway - an exploration of the history of Broadway’s greatest Jewish songwriters and composers. The talented cast invites you into the stories of resilience from these Jewish roots of North American culture as well as their lasting impact on lovers of musical theatre everywhere, as the performers share stories from their own lives.
Modern musicals today may seem outlandish and daring, but Jews writing for American audiences back in early-mid twentieth century was a risky business, as immigrants paved their way to building communities in which they felt like they belonged - as cultural and political shifts threatened Broadway’s very existence. A Night on Jewish Broadway hopes that audiences walk away with not only similar determination and pride, but having learned and reflected on the importance of the tradition of theatre as we come out of an unprecedented 2 years. The show sheds light on how Broadway, and we as audience members, are reinvented again and again.
Jewish writers, prominent directors, and performers contributed to key changes over the decades. Golden Age musicals have become Hollywood movies and have produced eternal songs that are now reinveented and revived on the radio. The show is a celebration of Rodgers & Hammerstein, George and Ira Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Irvin Berlin and the timeless Stephen Sondheim whose brilliance brought massive change to musicals: more complexity, sophistication, with challenging verses that illuminate characters and move the story along.
It is said that adversity often births creativity.
When the plague hit London in the early 1600s, all theatres were shut down on and off for four years. During that time, Shakespeare wrote many of his greatest plays: Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Othello, the Scottish Play, & Antony and Cleopatra, to name a few. Broadway and theatres in Toronto faced devastation during the AIDS and SARS epidemics, and the current COVID pandemic draws parallels between how we recover from such hardships: by writing about, watching, and loving these Jewish creators who were inspired to embody the spirit of human resilience, who inspire us and new young artists today.
On January 14th-20th 2022, at the reimagined newly-constructed Leah Posluns Theatre, we again get the opportunity to sit in a group, with bated breath, as an actor breathes through the ebb and flow of emotions of passionate lyrics.
A Night on Jewish Broadway reminds us what exceptional onstage performances look like - how watching it live can be its own kind of powerful, spiritual ritual.
Something all of us can agree upon is that not only are arts institutions huge economic generators for cities, they are essential for the soul. The arts are not a luxury, they’re what keep us sane when we are at our lowest, they are what bring us back from the darkest points in time.
We here at Olive Branch Theatre can’t wait to welcome you back with open arms to the warmth of live entertainment that the whole family will enjoy.