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Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy


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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: May 7, 2013
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BDSRB2S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,767 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

BONUS FEATURES

Bonus disc with additional interview clips and performances (3 hours)

16-page viewer’s guide featuring reflections on Jewish Broadway, with an introduction by Executive Producer Barbara Brilliant

Biography of narrator Joel Grey


SDH subtitles

Editorial Reviews

Recent Peabody Award winner as seen on PBS

Performances by Matthew Broderick, Kelli O'Hara, Zero Mostel, Nathan Lane, Barbra Streisand, Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth, and many more

Engaging, humorous, and provocative, Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy examines the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical. The film showcases the work of legends such as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim. Interviews with songwriters and luminaries including Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Schwartz, Harold Prince, Arthur Laurents, Charles Strouse, and Mel Brooks provide insight, alongside standout performances and archival footage.

Narrated by Tony® and Academy Award® winner Joel Grey, this entertaining documentary mingles cultural history with illuminating perspectives on the origins and meanings of some of Broadway's most beloved songs, stories, and shows.

Customer Reviews

Very interesting and entertaining.
Rusty Groffman
I originally saw this program on PBS and enjoyed it very much.
HK
GREAT, though I'm no Broadway musicals expert.
Harold Wolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 10, 2013
GREAT, though I'm no Broadway musicals expert. This DVD made me want to watch musical after musical after musical. This DVD documentary considers a number of significant and much acclaimed shows. My experience with musicals has been enjoyable, but never one presented in NYC. It is not a definitive list but the people behind the productions discussed do tend to be heavily Jewish, the reason for the special emphasis and look at one nationality's impact on the art form. Note the emphasis is more on Jewish artists' (acting, writing, composing, directing) culture, not religion.

With narration by Joel Grey, it begins with early Yiddish theater--quickly the Broadway American Musical began to draw inspiration heavily from the NYC Jewish population. In 1920s 1 in 4 of NYC population was Jewish, partially explaining the heavy participation in musical production. Of course there are exceptions noted on this documentary. A major one being Cole Porter, who actually had 3 shows flops initially. Porter actually told Richard Rogers he was planning to write Jewish tunes--a sure method, accord to Porter, toward musical theater success. Cole Porter scores big in the 1930s.

An abundance of delightful archival footage of NYC and the theater district, Times Square is used. Also footage of old classic performance bits, even including the Marx Bros. For many Jews a name change was necessary to find success, i.e. Israel Baline (Irving Berlin); Jacob Gershowitz (George Gershwin); Isidone Hochbery (Yip Harburg) who wrote "The Wizard of Oz" lyrics, combining with composer Hyman Arluck (Harold Arlen). Jewish Kurt Weill changed from Germany's top theater composer to NYC due to Hitler.

SDH SUBTITLES provided.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Gellon on November 13, 2013
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The actual DVD Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy was very interesting, although the accompanying DVD with extended interviews was not so exciting. However as this is a bonus DVD it would not stop me from recommending people to buy the DVD's as the main DVD is terrific.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Britman 48 on May 10, 2013
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It's an interesting documentary on the subject and the interviews are insightful but the lack of clips of full musical numbers is very disappointing and lets face it, most composers do not have the voice to sing their music. Disk 2 is supposed to have 3 hours of additional content including performances, however, unless they are hidden in an "easter egg" I have not found them,
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nancy on May 30, 2013
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This is a terrific DVD, saw it first on public television and loved it then. Highly recommend it for education and entertainment.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donald Singer on May 14, 2013
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This is a great story about telling great stories! And it is beautifully done. It pulled me in and I did not want to leave - even at the end!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jack on June 9, 2013
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Poor quality color. Bonus disc is really a stretch at 3 hours. This SHOULD have been a winner. The Jewish legacy on B'way is remarkable. This compilation does not do it justice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Caryn K. on November 1, 2013
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Speedy delivery, great DVD and a special gift for my parent who are that generation... especially the positive focus on Jewish culture thank you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jon Wynne on April 14, 2014
One might think the title of this documentary to be presumptuous, to say the least, but in reality, Broadway musicals ARE almost exclusively a Jewish legacy. Even one of the few notable exceptions to the overwhelming numbers of Jewish composer/lyricist/authors, Cole Porter, has a tenuous Jewish connection, or so say the makers of this clever, inspired and thoroughly entertaining documentary. (Porter tried to write “Jewish music”).

There are times when a film’s premise is clearly intended as a political statement (witness Michael Moore’s fabricated diatribes). Had that been the case here, the film would have run the risk of being tedious. Fortunately the filmmakers understand they are on solid ground and simply delight in telling their story.

When you think about it–and this film does get you thinking–the Broadway musical as an art form is pretty amazing. The Broadway musical as cultural expression and metaphor through which sensitive subject matter can sometimes be explored, is truly remarkable. This film is masterful in the way it layers revelation upon revelation while it takes the viewer on a brisk and illuminating history of the Broadway musical.

Along the way there are a number of interviews with key creators, as well as some wonderful excerpts from Broadway shows, including Hugh Jackman singing “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’” from “Oklahoma!”. My favourite was Zero Mostel singing “If I Were A Rich Man” at the 1971 Tony Awards. Mostel originated the role of Tevye in “Fiddler On The Roof” and was deeply hurt not to be cast in the film version, which was happening around the time of this televised performance. (Apparently Mostel lost out on the film because of his habitual improvising).
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