Theater tickets for any kind of show – be it Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, or community theater – are never a bad idea for a holiday gift. However, for Hannukah in particular, it may be worth considering tickets to a number of new Jewish-themed shows in the New York area.
Fiddler on the Roof: Universally considered one of the greatest musicals ever written, the 1964 musical, which adapts the Yiddish folk tales of Sholem Aleichem into a brilliant tribute to Shtetl culture and parable of cultural change, has received prominent productions in recent years, including a 2015 Broadway revival and a Yiddish-language Off-Broadway revival. This month, it is being staged by New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse with a Broadway-caliber cast that includes Jordan Gelber (“Avenue Q”) as Tevye, Jill Abramovitz (“Beetlejuice”) as Golde, and Alexandra Socha (“Head Over Heels”) as Tzeitel. The production will feature Jerome Robbins’ ironic original dance choreography. Through Jan. 7, papermill.org.
Spamalot: The 2005 Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of the 1975 medieval times-meets-slapstick comedy film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” which is currently receiving an ebullient Broadway revival, contains a second act showstopper, “You Won’t Succeed on Broadway,” with the punchline “if we don’t have any Jews.” The song is silly, feel-good pep rally (full of klezmer sounds, “Fiddler,” Yiddish expressions, and shout-outs to Jewish celebs) that also acknowledges the historical role of Jews as the writers and creators of numerous Broadway musicals. spamalotthemusical.com.
I Can Get It For You Wholesale: Classic Stage Company is currently presenting a rare Off-Broadway revival of this dark and intriguing 1962 Broadway musical, which is set among a Jewish population in the Garment District during the Depression and has Yiddish-inflected lyrics and sequences that include a Bar Mitzvah ceremony and traditional Shabbat dinner. The production incorporates book revisions by John Weidman (whose father, Jerome Weidman, wrote the original book) and is led by a strong cast that includes Santino Fontana, Judy Kuhn, Sarah Steele, Julia Lester, and Adam Chanler-Berat. Through Dec. 17, classicstage.org.
A Prayer for the French Republic: Joshua Harmon’s three-hour, time-shifting drama, which Manhattan Theatre Club premiered Off-Broadway two years ago and will now present on Broadway, depicts assimilated Jews in Paris as they confront anti-Semitism during World War II and 70 years later with the rise of far-right politician Marine Le Pen. After their son is injured in a hate crime, the members of an upper-middle-class family (joined by a distant, college-age, female cousin, who is spending a year abroad) question whether they should move to Israel. Previews begin Dec. 19, manhattantheatreclub.com.
Harmony: after a quarter century of development, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s original bio musical about the Comedian Harmonists – an all-male, half-Jewish, half-Gentile, German musical group that achieved international fame in the late 1920s and early 1930s – has finally made it to Broadway. harmonyanewmusical.com.
Cabaret: The 1966 musical, which depicts Berlin in the early 1930s during Hitler’s rise to power and boldly explores the growth and effects of anti-Semitism, will receive a new Broadway revival in the spring based on an intimately scaled London revival. Eddie Redmayne will play the mysterious Emcee (the role originated by Joel Grey and more recently played by Alan Cumming). The cast will also include Gayle Rankin, Ato Blankson-Wood, Bebe Neuwirth, and Steven Skybell. Begins previews on April 1, kitkat.club.com.