Cantor’s Column – July – August 2017

Celebrating Broadway

Cantor Ilan Davidson

As I write this article, all over the United States, and much of the world, people are awaiting with great expectation the 71st  Annual Tony Awards. This highest theatre accolade in the United States was established to honor the best of the best on Broadway. Seventy-one years later, theatre attendance and productions have grown, often with cult followings. Touring companies take Broadway shows all over the nation to sell-out audiences, who otherwise might not be able to get to New York and see these productions.

At least in major cities, live theatre attendance has grown exponentially over the past decade, with school theatre programs bursting at the seams, and the arts in general, celebrating a Renaissance. When I was a child, my mother taught me that our bodies crave what they need. Hollywood provided the opportunity to escape with film, orchestra halls have always provided cathartic release through music. Now we can see the theatre opening its doors to the masses and leading people into the works of Tolstoy, the lives of passengers from 9/11, and the experience of a socially awkward High School student, while at the same time renewing some greats of the past.

At the 2017 Tony Awards, over 24 awards were presented for excellence in theatre. There are so many shows today that plays and musicals must be honored separately. And at Temple Beth El, we now have more students involved in theatre than in my entire tenure as cantor. So, it makes sense that in our “Concerts Under The Stars” series, we will celebrate Broadway’s greatest melodies of our time. On July 23, at the home of Randy and Bruce Ross, we will enjoy an entire night of this year’s Tony-nominated music. On August 19, at the home of Gale and Eliot Swartz, we will celebrate the music of a Broadway and film great, Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Prince of Egypt, Pocahontas, Wicked, Godspell).

Don’t miss these incredible nights, featuring many of my colleagues, as we celebrate the theatre and all it offers us.