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‘Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy’ Airs on PBS New Year’s Day

The special features Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and more.

By: Ashley Baylen
Published: January 1st, 2013 in Culture » TV » News
A young Barbra StreisandPic: Tumblr

On January 1st, 2013, PBS will bring in the New Year with a 90-minute documentary special entitled ‘Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy’ as part of the ‘Great Performances’ series.

Created by Michael Kantor and narrated by Joel Grey, ‘Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy’ “explores the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. Featuring interviews and conversations with some of the greatest composers and writers of the Broadway stage, ‘Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy’ showcases the work of some of the nation’s pre-eminent creators of musical theatre.”

Many legendary Broadway Jews are featured in the special, including Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne, and many more.

Additionally, the documentary includes interviews with Arthur Laurents, Sheldon Harnick, John Kander, Andrew Lippa, Stephen Schwartz, Phyllis Newman, David Shire, Stephen Sondheim, Mel Brooks, and more. Rare footage of Irvin Berlin singing ‘God Bless America’, rehearsals for Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Gypsy’, and William Tabbert performing ‘You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught’ with Richard Rodgers on the piano are included.

According to PBS, the special is the “first of its kind to examine the phenomenon that, over the 50-year period of its development, the songs of the Broadway musical were created almost exclusively by Jewish Americans. These are the popular songs that our nation took to war, sang to their children at bedtime, and whistled while waiting for the bus; taken in total they comprise the vast majority of what is now commonly referred to as ‘The American Songbook.'”

‘Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy’ will be aired January 1, 2013 at 9:30 EST. For more information visit pbs.org/gperf.

Related articles: Broadway, Musicals, Jewish, PBS, Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, Gershwin, Sondheim, Richard Rodgers
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