Shalom Life | February 27, 2015

Smoked Meat, Musicals and Schwartz's

Add a side of theatre to that corned beef on rye with mustard and you've got a new musical about Schwartz's deli.

By: Sarah Bauder

Published: March 31st, 2011 in Culture » Stage » News

Smoked Meat, Musicals and Schwartz's

Montreal landmark and famous deli, Schwartz’s, has been serving loyal customers since 1928. On Thursday, it can serve a song and dance as well, in the form of a new musical.

Schwartz’s: The Musical is based on Schwartz’s Delicatessen: The Story, by Montreal Gazette journalist Bill Brownstein. The musical was the creative brainchild of musician/composer/playwrights Rick Blue and George Bowser and artistic director of the Centaur Theatre, Roy Surette.

"Of course it was crazy, a really stupid idea. Eventually as time went on and I told the idea to other people I realized it was crazy enough to work and it seems like everybody agrees. "In fact, we were in Toronto and it was an ex-Montrealer who came over to us and said 'You're doing a play about Schwartz's! Do you realize how important this is? You better not screw this up,'” explained Blue.

Set in 1998, the musical’s story surrounds a Toronto businessman who attempts to buy Schwartz’s and subsequently franchises the business.

"The idea is that Toronto is where the business deals are made — over your head and without consultation — so it's an easy place to situate a bad guy because everybody goes 'Oh yeah, it's all about the money,'" Bowser said.

In addition to the aforementioned musical and book, several documentaries have been made about the iconic institution. Established 83 years ago by a Romanian-Jewish immigrant named Reuben Schwartz, the deli has had a colourful history throughout the decades.

Schwartz’s: The Musical runs from April 1 to April 24 at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal. For further info and tickets, call (514)288-3161 or www.centaurtheatre.com.

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