“There’s a big affinity between the Jewish wail that you hear in the temple, and the black spiritual or the blues. I think a lot of it has to do with the minor key. I think it also has something to do with bent notes and altered chords.”
-David Lehman, Poet
“I mean, the Jewish thing, it’s all minor. Because you know, Jews and their misery. The Blacks, amazingly, always had a little faith and hope, so they’re at odds. Not the Jews.”
-Grammy, Emmy, Tony winning, and multi Oscar nominated American composer, lyricist, arranger and performer Marc Shaiman
Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy
For generations of Jewish songwriters, the bright lights of Broadway have been a catalyst for transformation. New York’s musical theatres offered a chance for those who had fled persecution and oppression to make it big in America.
On Broadway, the idea of outsiders beating the odds could be dramatised in a uniquely American art form, with melodies derived from Jewish prayers inspiring catchy new songs that tens of millions around the world would come to embrace. imagine… looks at the unique role Jews have played in creating the modern American musical, from Porgy and Bess to West Side Story and Cabaret.