Based on the life of a Jewish Rabbi Shlomo Carlebache, the Broadway Production ‘Soul Doctor’ is quite innovative and entertaining. The director of the play Daniel Wise actually invited a prominent orthodox rabbi Shlomo Riskin to one of the shows. As it turned out the guest was quite impressed with the play and when he met Eric Anderson, the star playing Carlebach in the show, he praised him in Hebrew. Wise had to tell him that Anderson is not really Jewish. The level of efficacy projected by Eric Anderson as well other actors justifies the soaring popularity of the play as it goes to theaters around the country.
Taking details from the life of infamous Jewish Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, The Soul Doctor beautifully projects the life-tale of the singer, composer and religious teacher. The presentation of Shlomo’s character with a strumming guitar, always singing songs about peace, love and harmony is of particular interest to the modern day flower-power generation. It is not every day that such unique productions come out. Therefore, Soul Doctor tickets are selling fast as even the regular theatre folks are excited for the play.
A Brief Production History
Although the roots of the play can be traced back to 2008 in New York City, it is the 2010 premier in New Orleans that is most remembered as the musical’s first appearance. Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in New Orleans staged the debut performance of the play followed by more shows in New York again. In 2011 the musical moved to Miami where it garnered huge popularity in The Colony Theatre and then to Fort Lauderdale where it was performed at The Parker Playhouse. The year 2012 also saw Off-Broadway productions of the play staged in New York City and now in 2013, Broadway has once again produced the Soul Doctor to be presented in New York City. The play primarily consists of two acts with a good many musical numbers in both. Soul Doctor has received much critical acclaim throughout its productions. The storyline is as much commended as the music of the play. Some reviews have also compared it to Fiddler on the Roof and Hair but the overall response is of great praise for this incredible piece of art.
About the Protagonist
The character of Shlomo Carlebach is that of the actual Jewish rabbi, composer, singer, songwriter and religious preacher who is also known as ‘Reb Shlomo’. Innovative in his own manner, the rabbi created a distinctive music style by combining the traditional Hasidic Judaism with the prevailing musical trends of the day. His warmth and skills in personal interaction earned him much fans and followers. His vast career spanning over four decades includes more than 25 albums and thousands of melodies that are still popular and inspiring to millions of people. Shlomo Carlebach is also considered the pioneer of Ball teshuva movement that is “returnees to Judaism”. Daniel Wise has indeed done a phenomenal job of writing a beautiful story and directing an incredible play out of it. One needs to buy Soul Doctor tickets and watch the performance in person to truly appreciate it.
This awe-inspiring story of courage and perseverance is based in the era of sixties. The play begins with a Shlomo Carlebach’s concert, who has returned to his city after a very long time. As the story progresses, the plot turns back in time when Carlebach was a kid and when he witnessed a Jewish man’s murder in Nazi-occupied Austria. The occurrence of the incident made little Shlomo pledge that he would always side with freedom, and the channel he adopted was music. Carlebach becomes a rabbi following in his father’s footsteps, but changes his course after meeting with a legendary Jazz singer. He remains an orthodox preacher but becomes a musician of his own manner. He embraces the modern styles of music and writes songs that describe his own feelings towards the persecution of the innocents. Although his deviant choices create ramifications within his family, he stays steadfast to the path he chooses. The play also shows him performing with several legends from the music world.