Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Very Musical "Stars of David"


All Hail “The Stars of David”

By Skip Sheffield

It is no secret that Jewish people are disproportionately represented in movies and entertainment. That fact is celebrated in the musical revue “Stars of David,” running through Jan. 4 in the Amaturo Theatre of Broward Center for the Arts. The show will play Kravis Center in West Palm Beach Feb. 17-March 15.
The show is based on a book by Abigail Pogrebin and conceived by Aaron Harnick. It stars two of South Florida’s most popular Jewish entertainers: Avi Hoffman and Patti Gardner, and two relative newcomers, Cassie Levine and Mike Westrich.
It is not just entertainers who are the “Stars of David,” it is political figures, lawyers, scientists and financiers. It is no secret that Jewish people tend to be over-achievers. It is a kind of survival mechanism.
The songs of “David” are by a variety of composers; some little-known (Gaby Alter, Abigail Pogrebin and Gordon Greenberg) and others famous (David Shire, Richard Maltby, Jr. and Michael Feinstein). The songs are clever and witty, and except for the theme song “Stars of David,” they are aimed at specific Jewish personalities such as Leonard Nimoy, Aaron Sorkin, Joan Rivers, Norman Lear, Fran Drescher and Gloria Steinem. One of the funniest songs, “Who Knew Jew,” is dedicated to Gwyneth Paltrow. No, I didn’t know. Gwyneth looks as goy as me. Then again one of the most famous and beloved Jews who is not included in this show is Paul Newman, who certainly is one of the most handsome Jewish actors in history. Woody Allen isn’t included either. He may not be as handsome as Newman, but he has made millions of people laugh.
The more I have learned about Jewish people and the older I get, the more my admiration for “the chosen people” has grown. The deal was sealed when I was invited by Ben-Gurion University back in 2008 to visit the State of Israel. The miracles that have been accomplished in that desert country are astounding. I saw first-hand how Israelites live in a constant state of preparedness for surprise attacks, yet go on about their everyday life as if everything was perfectly normal. The scientists and educators of Israel who make medical and technological breakthroughs on a regular basis are to me the true “Stars of David.”
Tickets are $45. Call 800-745-3000 or go to www.ticketmaster.com or wwwbrowardcenter.org.

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