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Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy

Yiddish, American Culture, Art, Jewish Film, Music
Michael Kantor
90 minutes


*WINNER 2013 Peabody Award

*Official Selection Toronto Jewish Film Festival

*Official Selection Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

*Official Selection Seattle Jewish Film Festival

*Official Selection San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

"Historically fascinating and grandly entertaining, it's a tune-filled dissertation on the incalculable influence of Jewish composers - from Irving Berlin to Stephen Sondheim to Stephen Schwartz - and Jewish musical idioms on the evolution of a great American art form."
- Peabody Award committee

"A truly mesmerizing documentary to watch." - Jose Sol, Pop Matters

"Exceptional" - Sharon Greenthal, The Huffinton Post

"What makes Kantor's film compelling is an almost musicological study of the composers' work to show how they incorporated Jewish songs into what would become America's greatest hits." - David Wiegand, SF Gate


Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy explores the unique role of Jewish composers and lyricists in the creation of the modern American musical and many of the songs that comprise "The American Songbook." Over the fifty-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. A virtual behind-the-scenes-of-Broadway, it is an engaging, humorous, and provocative film, mixing and mingling ethnic cultural history with entertaining perspectives on the origins and meaning of some of Broadway's most beloved songs, stories, and shows.

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 including Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George and Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Kurt Weill, Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Bock, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz, Jules Styne and many others.

Featured Performances and Interviews

Dynamic footage includes performances by stars such as:

Barbra Streisand
David Hyde Pierce
Matthew Broderick
Kelli O’Hara
Zero Mostel
Betty Comden
Adolph Green
Nathan Lane
Al Jolson
Fanny Brice
Joel Grey
Dick Van Dyke
Kristin Chenoweth
Idina Menzel

Featuring interviews with:

Sheldon Harnick
John Kander
Andrew Lippa
Stephen Schwartz
Phyllis Newman
Charles Strouse
Harold Prince
Maury Yeston
Mary Rodgers
Ernie Harburg
Marc Shaiman
David Shire
Stephen Sondheim
Mel Brooks
Stephen Schwartz



Michael Kantor
Director/Producer/Writer Michael Kantor created the landmark six-part PBS documentary, Broadway: The American Musical, which was nominated for 5 Primetime Emmy awards in 2005. It won two Emmys, including Outstanding Nonfiction Series. osted and narrated by Julie Andrews, this hi-definition series was a co-production of Mr. Kantor's company, Ghost Light Films, Inc. and Thirteen/WNET, NHK, and BBC in association with Carlton International. Ten years in the making, The Wall Street Journal called Broadway "a vivid history of America itself in the last century" and People Magazine cited it as one of the "Top Ten TV Triumphs of 2004."


Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy - Educational Use


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