Saturday, August 17, 2013

Soul Doctor @ The Circle in the Square Theater

The new Broadway musical Soul Doctor is an exhilarating musical journey through the triumphs and tribulations of a cultural phenomenon. It tells the fascinating story of the father of popular Jewish music, Shlomo Carlebach, and his unlikely friendship with Nina Simone. A modern-day troubadour, Shlomo ignited the spirit of millions around the world with his soul-stirring melodies, trans formative storytelling and boundless love.  After his escape from Nazi Germany, the young Rabbi befriended the legendary jazz singer Nina Simone who introduced him to soul and gospel music. With the high Priestess of Souls  as his inspiration, Shlomo created a joyous new sound with melodies that fused his roots with American popular music. With his meteoric rise as a "Rock Star Rabbi, he struggled to harmonize his traditional beliefs with the "free love" generation of the 1960s. Today, his uplifting music and message help to define America most defiant era.

Soul Doctor is the first inspiring celebration to hit the stage since Hair in 2009. Leading the cast is Eric Anderson fresh out of Kinky Boots, Anderson is back to the role the won him the 2013 Drama Desk Nomination before the Broadway transfer. Anderson perfectly embodied Shlomo and delivered a stunning performance but unfortunately his singing was not leading man material, the audience was looking for something a little more demanding. Amber Iman, who is making her Broadway Debut, steals the light for Anderson in her role of Nina. Iman brings such warmth and sass to stage and steal focus whenever she is onstage. Soul Doctor is a true ensemble piece with killer movement and constant audience interaction, it was hard not to love this show!

The award-winning design team for Soul Doctor includes scenic design by Neil Patel ([title of show]), costume design by Maggie Morgan), lighting design by Jeff Croiter (Newsies) and sound design by John Shivers (Kinky Boots) and David Patridge.  Orchestrations and additional arrangements are by Steve Margoshes, music supervision and arrangements are by Brian Koonin and music direction and arrangements are by Seth Farber.

Soul Doctor has music by Shlomo Carlebach, book and direction by Daniel S. Wise, lyrics by David Schechter and choreography by Benoit-Swan Pouffer, the acclaimed former artistic director of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.  Circle in the Square Theatre is located at 1633 Broadway, entrance on 50thStreet between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Dont miss this celebration of a true legend! 

Review By: James Russo

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