Back by popular demand, SOUL DOCTOR: The Shlomo Musical, a theatrical production celebrating the life and music of Shlomo Carlebach, will return to New Orleans for a limited engagement at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, before heading to Broadway in 2011. Performances will begin on Saturday, November 6th and run through Thursday, November 11th.
SOUL DOCTOR tells the true story of one of the most beloved and controversial personalities of the post WWII generation, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. The father of contemporary Jewish music, he ignited the spirit of millions around the world with his melodies, storytelling and teachings. He created a new genre of Jewish music - partially influenced by the black spirituals and his relationship with a then-unknown Nina Simone - that inspired millions and changed the modern Jewish experience. He is often credited with helping to revive the Jewish experience in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
"After a successful premiere run in May and an outpouring of support and enthusiasm, we are thrilled to bring this not-to-be missed production of SOUL DOCTOR back to New Orleans," said writer/producer Daniel S. Wise. "New Orleans is an incredibly unique place where music and soul are vital to the history, culture and survival of the city. Through the power of music, the city has emerged from great catastrophe. Music continues to bring life, spirit and rejuvenation to the people of New Orleans, which Shlomo Carlebach did for people and communities throughout the world."
The pre-Broadway production is a musical celebration of 30 of Carlebach's soulful and joyous melodies which features a company of Broadway veterans led by Ben Crawford (Star of Broadway's SHREK and Les Miserables) as Shlomo, Rosalind Brown (ONE MO' TIME, FOOTLOOSE) as Nina Simone, Tony Award nominee Eleanor Reissa (MY FAIR LADY, THOSE WERE THE DAYS) as Shlomo's mother, and Jamie Wax (GOIN' TO JACKSON) as Reb Pinchas. The New Orleans Ensemble features Donovan Bendana, Frances Bordlee, Turner Crumbley, L.R. Davidson, Tucker Godbold, Jeffrey Gunshol, Richard Hutton, Chase Kamata, Sal Mannino, Maddie Mateer, Kenneth Thompson, Dwayne Sepcich and Emily Bennett Walker.
Director Holly-Anne Ruggiero said, "Le Petit Theatre is the perfect venue to share Rabbi Shlomo's uplifting and soulful melodies and celebrate the revitalization of this vibrant and renewed city. We are honored to once again bring Shlomo's message of hope and rejuvenation to the New Orleans community and all of its musical theatre fans."
SOUL DOCTOR features music by Carlebach; a book/libretto by Daniel S. Wise (RENT World Tour); direction by Holly-Anne Ruggiero (JERSEY BOYS, 700 SUNDAYS); musical score and orchestration by two-time Drama Desk Award winning composer Steve Margoshes (FAME, THE WHO'S TOMMY, SOMKEY JOE'S CAFÉ, Elton John'S AIDA); musical direction and arrangements by two-time Grammy Award nominee Seth Farber; lyrics by David Schechter; choreography by Gerry McIntyre (ONCE ON THIS ISLAND); and additional material by Carlebach's daughter, Neshama Carlebach.
The production team includes Jeremy Chess and Daniel S. Wise, in association with Jerome Levy, Edward L. Steinberg and Joel Kahn, and general management by Frankel-Green Theatrical Management, whose Broadway producing credits have garnered over 37 Tony Awards, including for HAIRSPRAY, THE PRODUCERS, STOMP, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC.
Shlomo Carlebach is known as one of the most pivotal, unconventional and controversial Jewish personalities of the post WWII generation. As a child, he narrowly escaped from Hitler's Germany. Once in America, his next dramatic journey took him from the traditional yeshiva world to becoming the first emissary of the Chabad movement. In his astonishing rise as a music star in the 1960's folk scene, he shared the stage with legends like Bob Dylan, Nina Simone and the Grateful Dead. He reinvented the Jewish experience with "The House of Love & Prayer", his hippie commune in San Francisco. Beloved and controversial, Shlomo traveled the world, mending broken hearts through his boundless love and joyous music.