Is A Musical Made Up Of Jewish-Penned Songs A Jewsical?
You Won’t Succeed on Broadway If You Don’t Have Any Jews at St James Theatre celebrates more than 80 years of Jewish musical theatre. Inspired by the phrase first coined by Monty Python in Spamalot, it’s part potted history of Broadway and part musical review. The rambunctious young company Collaborative Artists Ltd present a hugely entertaining romp through some of the 20th century’s most famous offerings including Summertime, There’s No Business Like Show Business and Over The Rainbow.
Performing with a live band against a New York back drop, flashing light bulbs and an over-active smoke machine, the company is made up of singers, dancers and X-Factor runner-up Lloyd Daniels. They are a precociously talented, apparently tireless troupe and impressively versatile. During the course of the evening they perform famous songs from across eight decades, all of which were penned by Jewish songwriters and composers. A string of iconic tunes are covered including everything from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma (Oh What A Beautiful Morning) to Fame from the 1980s hit of the same name. Soloists bravely tackle some of the highest notes in showbiz including I Could Have Danced All Night from My Fair Lady and Le Miserables’s I Dreamed A Dreamed.
The production is amplified as all the singers wear headsets, which seems a bit unnecessary in such a small space and some of the numbers are too thickly layered with wide-eyed cheesy schmaltz (ehmm Lloyd Daniels… but he’s actually a very good singer). The range covered is incredibly diverse however including maverick Stephen Sondheim’s hilarious Getting Married Today, Disney classic Be Our Guest and a sexy mash-up of sultry hits from Chicago.
Each singer gets a chance to shine and the energetic company even has space for an encore with a new number inspired by their tongue-in-cheek title. Expect to leave with ears ringing, heart racing and toes tapping all the way home.
You Won’t Succeed on Broadway If You Don’t Have Any Jews runs at St James Theatre until 5 September. Tickets £15-35. Londonist saw this play on a complimentary ticket.
Last Updated 28 August 2015