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Jewish Themes in Mainstream Broadway Musicals: 1920-1960

Deborah Bletstein
Master’s Thesis for the Master’s Degree in Sacred Music
H.L. Miller Cantorial School
Jewish Theological Seminary


I would like to thank the following people for their assistance with my thesis:

Dr. Gerald Cohen, thesis advisor

Dr. R. Thomas Hunter, grammar and form consultant

Hazzan Henry Rosenblum, dean of H.L. Miller Cantorial School

Marty Jacobs, Broadway music librarian, MCNY

Gina Genova, former research assistant, Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, NY

Table of Contents


“The Roaring ‘20s”: The Variety Show Era………………………………......3

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?:” the ‘30s Depression-era……………..11

Wartime and the Rodgers and Hammerstein era of the ‘40s………………18

Nu? Yinglish, Assimilation and the Musicals of the ‘50s…………………23


Commentary on the Bibliographies…………………………………………...34

Bibliography of Musical Works………………………………………………...35

Bibliography of Books and Articles……………………………………………45


At the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, the Yiddish theatre of

Second Avenue displayed the talents of Jewish composers and lyricists, singers, actors

and dancers. These productions were a central fixture of the Lower East-side culture,

providing the primary form of entertainment for the New York Jewish community. By the

1960s, Jewish life had come to be popularized in mainstream Broadway theatre,

particularly with shows like Milk and Honey in 1961, book by Don Appell and music by

Jerry Herman, and most significantly, Fiddler on the Roof, book by Joseph Stein, music

by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, which opened in 1964, set in a shtetl, a poor

Jewish neighborhood, during 1905 Tsarist Russia.

During the period between 1920 and the late 1950s, Broadway musicals did not

publicize Jewish themes but rather buried them within the context of typically non-

Jewish mainstream story lines. Audience members had to be adept in absorbing the

subtle Jewish content via the characters, certain nuances in dialogue, and cleverly

crafted lyrics of well-placed songs within the shows. The place of Jewish content in

musical theatre reflected the Jewish American experience in general. Due to the anti-

Semitic climate in the United States throughout the decades between 1920 and 1960,

Jews faced numerous hardships, both personally and professionally. Early in their

careers, many prolific Jewish composers and lyricists such as George and Ira

Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Alan Jay Lerner, often chose to write in a non-Jewish

context for the sake of being employable during an era when being Jewish was frowned


Despite the success of some of the Jewish performers who crossed over into

mainstream Broadway roles, this time period rejected the display of blatant Jewish

themes. Jewish Broadway authority Andrea Most observes, “The Broadway stage was

a space on which Jews envisioned an ideal America and subtly wrote themselves into

that scenario as accepted members of mainstream American community.” (Most, We

Know, iv) However, the reality at the time was that the Jewish performer who made it

onto the Broadway stage did so largely as the comic relief, the loser, the one constantly

being poked and prodded at, and the scapegoat. Despite the distinction between

Yiddish Theatre of Second Avenue and the mainstream Broadway musicals of Forty-

Second Street, there was undoubtedly a Jewish influence on the conventional

Broadway musical reflected in its characters, story-lines, music and lyrics, based largely

on the fact that many Jews had a hand at writing the material.

This thesis will examine many of the instances where Jewish themes appear in

the mainstream Broadway musical during each decade from 1920 through 1960. There

will be a noticeable difference in the subtlety of Jewish ideas from shows in the earlier

periods, as opposed to the 1950s progressing towards the “Fiddler on the Roof era”

when Jewish themes become blatant. In addition to the search for specific Jewish

religious and cultural content, there will be emphasis placed on other variables including

the religious background of the authors and composers, political and social challenges

that affected the foundation these musicals were built on, and how all of these factors

influenced the authors’ treatment of the song lyrics and characters in these works.

Attention will be paid to whether or not there is an isolated incident of a character or

song appearing in the show, or if the occurrence of something Jewish succeeded in

affecting the overall tone, environment, or story line in which the show was based.

Two volumes of A Chronology of Musical Theatre by Richard C. Norton provided

a starting point to gain knowledge on relevant show and song titles. Support for claims

of a Jewish connection in Broadway shows throughout the time periods examined have

appeared in various books and articles on Broadway theatre and Jewish culture written

by authorities in the field. In addition, internet sources provided general historical

information on the decades. Finally, based on show and song titles collected from

Norton’s reference books, an extensive search for sheet music in show files at the

Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) sought to discover music that was suspected

of having Jewish influence or content.

“The Roaring ‘20s”: The Variety Show Era

The historical backdrop of the 1920s was diverse and significant in many ways.

In 1920, the first commercial radio broadcast aired, and towards the end of the decade

came the invention of talking picture shows or “talkies.” In 1923, ten years before

coming to power in Germany, Adolf Hitler’s failed “Beer Hall Putsch” landed him in jail,

and just two years later, he published the first volume of Mein Kampf, a combination

autobiography/political treatise, conveying his hatred for what he viewed as the two evils

in the world: Judaism and Communism. In 1924, J. Edgar Hoover was appointed the

first director of the FBI. Important innovations in health care took place in the 1920s

with the discovery of penicillin and insulin. Baseball player Babe Ruth, made a home-

run record in 1927, and later in the 1940s he was also included in a group of German-

Americans who spoke out in protest against the Holocaust.

In his book examining the musicals of the 1920s, noted Broadway historian

Ethan Mordden states:

“The 1920s represented a turning point in the history of the Broadway

musical, breaking with the vaudeville traditions of the early twentieth
century to anticipate the more complex, sophisticated musicals of today.
Productions became more elaborate, with dazzling sets, tumultuous
choreography, and staging tricks, all woven into tightly constructed story
lines.” (Mordden, Make Believe cover)

With regard to the music itself, author David Ewen states: “Most of the leading

popular song composers of the twenties brought to their writing a vigorous and varied

rhythmic pulse, strong and changing accentuations, alternating meters, distinct jazz

colorations.” (Qtd. Pessen 183) The 1920s were characterized by melodramas and

review shows. The main producers of these reviews were Florenz Ziegfeld (Follies)

George White (Scandals) and Earl Carroll (Varieties).

The Ziegfeld Follies, in particular, were an enormous part of theatre culture in the

1920s. The Follies launched the careers of many performers, particularly Jewish, of the

day. Despite not being Jewish himself, Florenz Ziegfeld was known for employing

Jewish performers like Nora Bayes, Sophie Tucker, Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor, Al

Shean, Ed Wynn, Belle Baker and Jack Pearl. Thus, Ziegfeld was instrumental in

bringing both Jewish performers and Jewish themes into mainstream theatre culture.

According to Mordden, “It was the performers, in fact, who kept reminding the

public who they really were, sitting across the footlights in [Fanny] Brice’s patently

Yiddish diction and true-to-life characters like Rose of Washington Square (who ‘Got no

future, but oy! What a past!’) or Second Hand Rose (‘from Second Avenue’).” (Mordden,

Make Believe 135) Consider an excerpt from the lyrics of “Second Hand Rose,” from

Ziegfeld Follies of 1921 which paints a scene from Jewish life on Second Avenue:

Father has a business, strictly second hand

Ev’rything from toothpicks to a baby grand
Stuff in our apartment came from Father’s store
Even things I’m wearing someone wore before
It’s no wonder that I feel abused
I never have a thing that ain’t been used
I’m wearing second hand hats, second hand clothes
That’s why they call me second hand Rose
Even our piano in the parlor
Father bought for ten cents on the dollar
Second hand pearls I’m wearing second hand curls
I never get a single thing that’s new
Even Jake the plumber, he’s the man I adore
Had the guts to tell me he’s been married before
Ev’ryone knows that I’m just second hand Rose from Second Avenue

Second Avenue was a hotbed of Yiddish theatre, Jewish life and culture in New

York. These song lyrics indicate the typical hardships of the poor Eastern European

Jewish family under pressure to make ends meet on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Rose’s father is characterized as the stereotypical mercantile owner. Rose dramatizes

the “woe-is-me” life of the poor, young Jewish girl struggling to hold on to her dreams of

a better life. The reference to “Jake the plumber,” implies “the nice Jewish boy next

door,” the prescribed Jewish value of marriage, and the unmistakable desire for every

young Jewish woman, and that of her family, to have her “married off.”

Ethan Mordden calls attention to an important point regarding the performance of

Fanny Brice as Second Hand Rose in The Ziegfeld Follies. Why was Fanny Brice using

Yiddish inflection in a non-Yiddish, non-Second Avenue production like The Ziegfeld

Follies on Broadway? Clearly, Brice drew upon her own Jewish background immersed

in Eastern-European dialect to give life to Rose—an unmistakably Jewish character--on

stage. The Rose of Second Avenue sketch is just one of many Jewish-themed

vignettes that were played out regularly in The Ziegfeld Follies and other variety shows

of the 1920s. It’s clear that the influence from Second Avenue Jewish life taking place

just southeast of Times Square was significant enough on the radar of both Jewish and

non-Jewish people for it to be alive and well on the Broadway stage.

Towards the later part of the 1920s, the Broadway show began to turn away from

revue-style to that of having a “book” or literally, a story, where there is development of

both a plot and characters. Andrea Most observes:

The musicals of the 1920s and 30s, many of them written and performed
by Jews from immigrant backgrounds, likewise suggest a vehement
opposition to rigid radical categorizations, advocating instead a more fluid
conception of identity. Emerging from immigrant families and desperate to
become Americans, Jewish performers in particular understood the crucial
importance of being able to adopt whatever personae they chose. (Most,
Big Chief 1)

Most calls our attention to two important shows during this period: Whoopee

(1929) by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn and Girl Crazy (1930) by George and Ira


Both musicals feature specifically Jewish comic characters who depend

on their witty performance skills to insure their survival. They are always
dressing up in order to get out of trouble. In a flash they don Indian
headdresses, blackface makeup or women’s dresses to outwit their
pursuers. Using these performance techniques, these self-conscious and
highly theatrical Jewish characters not only evade their would-be captors
but triumph over them. The unlikely presence of an urban Jewish
immigrant in the Wild West is funny then precisely because the Jew, with
his superior theatrical skills, is capable of outwitting and outperforming the
cowboys. (Most, Big Chief 2)

Whereas writers usually created fictitious characters in make-believe worlds, one

figure cited in The Bible that attracted interest from the Jewish composers and lyricists

of the period was Gabriel. The angel Gabriel holds significance in many different

religious traditions, but its origins are rooted in Judaism. Gabriel is found in the Tanakh,

the Hebrew Bible, in the book of Daniel, and also in the Talmud, the commentaries on

the Torah, in Sanhedrin 95b. In the Tanakh, Daniel describes his encounter with


While I, Daniel, was seeing the vision, and trying to understand it, there
appeared before me one who looked like a man. I heard a human voice
from the middle of Ulai calling out, “Gabriel, make that man understand
the vision.” He came near to where I was standing, and as he came I was
terrified, and fell prostrate. He said to me, “Understand, O man, that the
vision refers to the time of the end.” (Dan. 8:15-17)

The stories surrounding Gabriel enjoyed popularity on the Broadway stage in a

couple of musicals, the first, Merry-Go-Round in 1927 and later Anything Goes in 1934.

In Merry-Go-Round, music by Henry Souvaine and Jay Gorney, book and lyrics by

Morrie Ryskind and Howard Dietz there is a black spiritual, entitled simply, “Gabriel:”

Come ebryone to Black Man’s Hebben

Come get dere ‘bout half-past ‘leben
When Gabriel starts to blowin’ his horn
I’ll tell you it’s a sight worth seein’
Darky angels jubileen’
When Gabriel starts blowin’ his horn (and they say)
David does that do-do-do while playin’ on his harp
Dat’s de cue for you-you-you to see you git der sharp
Come git gay in Black Man’s hebben
When Gabriel starts blowin’ his horn (hebben, hebben)

The lyric “Gabriel starts blowin’ his horn” could be connected to the sounding of

the shofar (ram’s horn) cited in The Book of Exodus when the Israelites heard from God

at the foot of Mount Sinai:

On the third day, as morning dawned, there was thunder, and lightning,
and a dense cloud upon the mountain and a very loud blast of the horn.
(Ex. 19:16)

In addition, the reference to David is clearly King David, the author of the Jewish

Tehillim, Psalms, who in these writings, spoke regularly of the playing of a variety of

instruments. Furthermore, the song lyrics, with their description of “Gabriel blowin’ his

horn” and “David playin’ his harp,” provide detailed references to the biblical use of the

horn and the harp, both primary instruments used in praise of God during Temple times,

and throughout the era of the psalmists, as illustrated in Psalm 150 included in the daily

morning service, P’sukei D’Zimra, Verses of Song:

Praise Him with blasts of the horn;

Praise Him with harp and lyre. (Ps. 150:3)

Even more intriguing is the lyric, “David does that do-do-do” which suggests the

idea of a niggun, a melody without words, basically sung on a syllable—an important

Jewish music practice still in existence today. With the blending of Jewish and African-

American influences in the song, “Gabriel,” one could go further and propose that this

might be an instance of “Jewish scat-singing.” Book-writer and lyricists Morrie Ryskind

and Howard Dietz were both Jewish. The references of both Gabriel and David in the

song lyric presuppose a familiarity with Tanakh such as would occur in the course of a

Jewish upbringing. Furthermore, this is a prime example of the connection between the

African-American and Jewish cultures and their musical traditions being popularized

during this time by many composers, including Harold Arlen, the son of a cantor.

The combination of Jewish and African-American cultures in the instance of the

show Merry-Go-Round highlights the fact that real-life content was now being portrayed

in the stereotypical make-believe world found in the Broadway musical. In her

dissertation on Jewish composers and lyricists in American theatre, Jill Yvonne Gold

Wright cites this relationship: “There is a long-time alliance between the music of the

Jews and that of the African-Americans.” (Wright 114) Consequently, Jewish

composers and lyricists were no strangers to depicting black culture in musicals, and in

particular for writing for white actors in blackface. Perhaps the prime example of a Jew,

and even more compelling, a Cantor in blackface, is Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer stage

production of 1925, and also the film, the first “talkie,” by the same title in 1927. The

unusual aspect of the song “Gabriel” from Merry-Go-Round by Jewish writers Ryskind

and Dietz, illustrates that one biblical idea had the ability to cross over different religious

and ethnic backgrounds.

Gabriel also appears in the prominent musical, Anything Goes in 1934, with

music and lyrics by Cole Porter, who “was acutely aware of being a Gentile in a world

that seemed to be dominated by Jews.” (Wright, 17) In a conversation with his friend

and colleague, Richard Rodgers, Porter told Rodgers that he had found the secret to

writing successful theater music. “’What is it?’ asked Rodgers. ‘Simplicity itself,’ said

Porter. ‘I’ll write Jewish tunes’” (Qtd. in Steyn 76-77)

Ethel Merman as the character, Reno, led the cast in one of the main production

numbers in Anything Goes, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow.” “’Blow’ fixes Merman as that singing

evangelist, profanely combining the two least harmonious forces, jazz and religion.”

(Mordden, Sing for Your Supper 72)

And now I'm all ready to fly,

Yes, to fly higher and higher!
'Cause I've gone through brimstone
And I've been through the fire,
And I purged my soul
And my heart too,
So climb up the mountaintop
And start to blow, Gabriel, blow

Blow, Gabriel, blow
I wanna join your happy band
And play all day in the Promised Land

Similarly to his colleagues Ryskind and Dietz, Cole Porter’s lyrics highlight the

events at Mount Sinai in the Tanakh. The Book of Exodus describes the Revelation at

Mount Sinai, when the Israelites, led by Moses, encountered the presence of God

through a dense cloud and the blast of a ram’s horn, or shofar, an instrument commonly

used in Jewish Temple practices, and still today during Jewish High Holy Day services.

God prepares Moses with instructions:

When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they [the Israelites] may go up
on the mountain. (Ex. 19:13)

And a few verses later, the miracle was revealed:

Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke, for the Lord had come down upon it in
fire; the smoke rose like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain
trembled violently. The blare of the horn grew louder and louder. As
Moses spoke, God answered him in thunder. The Lord came down upon
Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain, and the Lord called Moses to the
top of the mountain and he went up. (Ex. 19:18-20)

The productions of the 1920s officially began the kick-off to the Broadway theatre

phenomenon and some of its production elements are as relevant as ever today.

Beginning with Al Jolson’s monumental performance in The Jazz Singer, the shows of

this era illustrated the important connection between Jewish and African-American

culture, and brought this relationship to the forefront. The popular Jewish stars of the

day crossed over seamlessly from Second Avenue to the mainstream Broadway

productions and helped bring Jewish life to the American stage.

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?:” the ‘30s Depression-era

Anything Goes was one of the important Broadway musicals of the new decade

of the 1930s. The 1930s were fraught with a multitude of major historical events around

the world which influenced musical theatre. The Stock Market crash on October 29,

1929, known as Black Tuesday, launched The Great Depression--a complete

devastation to the American economy which continued throughout the next decade.

This had enormous impact on the musical theatre world’s ability to finance shows. Adolf

Hitler became Chancellor and the Third Reich emerged under his regime in 1933.

During this time, Hitler was already laying the groundwork for the greatest genocide

against humankind, the Final Solution, also known as the Holocaust, a deliberate

extermination plot against the Jewish people that was responsible for the murder of

more than 6,000,000 Jews throughout Europe. This was enacted years before Nazi

Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1 1939, which officially launched World

War II. During Hitler’s reign, “all compositions written by Jews or by those persons

suspected of being sympathizers were banned.” (FCIT)

Jews have historically been entrepreneurial, and have been both envied and

hated because of it. Despite the hardships of the American economy, some still found a

way to be successful in business. During the early 1900s, a young Hungarian-Jewish

immigrant by the name of Joe Leblang, owned a tobacco shop on the lower east-side,

where he received free theatre tickets in exchange for displaying show posters in his

store windows. Joe came up with an idea to send his brothers around town buying up

all of the other “freebies” at a cheap price and then selling them at half-price to

theatergoers. Shortly after, the Leblangs moved their operation to the basement of

Gray’s Drugstore at the corner of 43rd and Broadway, where theatres would now send

their unsold tickets to be sold at half-price an hour before curtain time, selling about

2,000 tickets per night. In addition, Joe and his wife, Tillie (also a Broadway show

producer) saved many of the financially ailing shows during the 1920s. At the time of

his sudden death of a heart-attack in 1931, Joe Leblang was reported to have left a

fortune of $15 million. Joe Leblang’s cut-rate theatre empire was likely the prototype for

today’s “TKTS,” a half-price box-office in Times Square run by the Theatre Development

Fund. (Eisenhour/NY Times)

Many of the productions of the 1930s illustrated a combination of Judaism and

American politics in the story lines. A musical at the beginning of the decade, Of Thee I

Sing which premiered in 1931, was created by a team of Jewish writers: Morrie Ryskind,

and George S. Kaufman, and Ira Gershwin and Jewish composer, George Gershwin.

“Of Thee I Sing becomes the first song-and dance show to win the Pulitzer Prize as the

best play—not just the best musical—of the season. With its 441 performances, it

would also become the longest-running book musical of the decade.” (Green 41) A

satire on American politics and focused on fictional presidential candidate, John P.

Wintergreen, Of Thee I Sing opened with a campaign song that reflected the cultural

dynamics of the foursome’s environment in New York:

Wintergreen for President!

Wintergreen for President!
He’s the man the people choose;
Loves the Irish and the Jews.

Author and composer Jack Gottlieb, who specializes in the Jewish connection to

American popular music, alerts us to the Jewish influence that appears elsewhere in the


Wintergreen admires girls who ‘are good at blintzes,’ but he prefers girls
who can ‘make corn muffins.’ Less direct, the vox populi refers to the
Supreme Court Justices as ‘the A.K.s who give the O.K.s.’ A.K.s is the
abbreviation for the Yiddish vulgarism alte kockers (old shitters), meaning
curmudgeonly old men. And when the French soldiers introduce their
ambassador, they sing: ‘A vous toot dir veh, a vous?’ mixing what sounds
like French for Yiddish: ‘Are you [vous] hurting?’ Or: ‘Where [vu] are you
hurting?’ (Qtd. in Gottlieb 8)

Like Of Thee I Sing, many of the musicals of the 1930s were politically based—

leftist to be exact--as were most of the Jewish artists of the day. Beth Wenger, author

of New York Jews and the Great Depression remarks, “Left-wing organizations

supported plays like The Cradle Will Rock and Pins and Needles, which popularized

their ideals. Jews were a strong presence in all phases of the left-wing movements,

from union organizing to theatre productions.” (Qtd. in Most, Making Americans 75)

While the shows of the 1920s were light on content and propelled by fantastic

performers, great music, and hot choreography, the shows of the 1930s made the

subject matter a priority and sought to make blatant statements about the complexities

of the political, economic and social hardships of the decade.

The most significant year of the decade was 1937, when three major shows were

premiered, The Eternal Road, The Cradle Will Rock, and Pins and Needles. The

Eternal Road, written by Kurt Weill who was the son of the cantor of the Neue Dessauer

Synagoge, premiered at the Manhattan Opera House on January 7, 1937. The show is

best described by Dr. Neil W. Levin, artistic director of the Milken Archive of American

Jewish Music:

The Eternal Road was the brainchild of the flamboyant impresario,

producer, promoter, and mainstream Zionist activist and leader, Meyer
Weisgal. He conceived the project with a threefold interrelated purpose:
to respond to the state-sponsored persecution of Jews in Germany
following the National Socialist Party electoral victory in 1933 with the

appointment of Hitler as chancellor; to relate through reenacted biblical
accounts the age-old historical wandering and suffering of the Jewish
people; and to suggest a messianic national hope, enshrined in the still
young Zionist enterprise. (Levin 8)

The unique aspect of The Eternal Road making it stand out on its own from all

other shows surveyed in this thesis is that the entire piece is Jewish-themed. It is a

biblical epic or pageant and according to Neil W. Levin has even been described as a

“Jewish passion play.” This is actually remarkable given the fact that in these earlier

decades, such a deliberate display of Jewish content had not been exhibited in other


It took only five weeks for Marc Blitzstein to write The Cradle Will Rock in 1936,

but no theatre company would touch the production due to the sensitive political

material it contained. It was finally picked up by FTP, the Federal Theatre Project, who

was also under scrutiny at that time by right-wing Congressman. The FTP was a

theatre initiative being funded by the WPA, the Works Progress Administration, to

sustain live theatre during the Depression era.

The Cradle Will Rock cast of characters included a Jewish musician named

Yasha and a Jewish immigrant couple, Gus and Sadie Polock. In scene five entitled,

“Drugstore,” the store is owned by Mr. Mister, but being run by Harry Druggist and his

son Stevie. A hit man comes in demanding to know if they’ve seen

Hit man: Do you know a Polock who comes here every Sunday?
Harry: A Polock?
Hit man: Sure, a punk, with his wife he comes here
Stevie: You know pop, he means that Polish fella

The hit man goes on to describe how the scenario will play out when the couple

arrives at the store. He tells Harry and Stevie not to say a word. When the Polock

leaves the store there will be a big noise outside. The hit man again reiterates that they

are to say nothing. He goes on to say, “when they ask you later who done it you say,

‘this here Polock.’” Obviously there is a play on words here with the Jewish couple

being named “Polock,” the slang used to describe for immigrants from Poland. The

characters described here are just a few of the array of personalities that contribute to

this allegory of corruption, corporate greed, and the social and political unrest of the


Under the direction of Orson Welles and producer, John Houseman, The Cradle

Will Rock was set to open on June 16, 1937, however, just six days prior, word came

from the WPA that due to “budget cuts” there would be no new show openings before

July 1st. The reality of course, was that the production was being shut down due to its

favorable communist slant. The production went on regardless that same evening at

the Venice Theatre, with Blitzstein himself at the piano, singing eight roles himself along

with some of the other actors singing their roles from the audience as Actor’s Equity

prohibited them from performing “on stage.”

Just a few months later, perhaps the biggest hit among the political theatrical

endeavors, Pins and Needles opened on November 27, 1937. The music and lyrics

were written by Harold J. (Jacob) Rome, with book and sketches by numerous Jewish

writers including Marc Blitzstein. The show was commissioned by the ILGWU, the

International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union, who had taken over the Princess building

which housed a theatre, for a meeting and recreation hall. This would be the first time

that complete unknowns, the garment workers themselves, would perform in a

Broadway production.

The show rehearsed at night and originally opened playing only on Friday and

Saturday nights due to the work schedules in the garment district. The cast was made

up of mostly Jewish garment workers, including Fred Schmidt, who played a character

named, Schmaltz, the Yiddish word for chicken fat. The production also included the

story of “Bertha the Sewing Machine Girl” in a burlesque number entitled, “It’s Better

with a Union Man.” In an article published in the Jewish newspaper, The Forward,

Michael Bronski remarked: “Rome portrayed the plight of working women and men—

almost always with a Yiddish intonation and a Jewish sense of humor—but never

looked for sympathy, only respect.” (Bronski 2)

One of the most striking of the political and social statements offered in Pins and

Needles is in the lyrics of “Four Little Angels of Peace” which Mordden states,

“presented winged replicas of Anthony Eden, Hitler, Mussolini, and an unnamed

Japanese warlord, all bragging of the enormities they’ve committed.” (Mordden, Sing for

Your Supper 189) The song’s Anti-Semitic Hitler rant is as follows:

Though I fall for the urge

Of a nice bloody purge
And living my way I was carrying on
Though I clean up my Schmutz
Would I hear Nazi putz
It is all for the sake of the Aryan
My ambitions are small
I want nothing at all
My plans wouldn't be any littler
Now that Austria's Nazi
It will be hazy-gazy
To put the whole world under Hitler

The creators of Pins and Needles continued to revise the sketches and musical

numbers throughout the run of the show. One of the important songs added by Harold

Rome two years after the premier, entitled “Mene, mene, tekel,” continued to address

Nazism while also describing the demise of King Belshezzar’s reign. An excerpt of the

lyrics reads:

He was a tyrant took delight in

Startin’ wars and doin’ fightin’
Sons of Israel he called scamps
Sent them all to makin’ bricks in concentration camps

Mene, mene, tekel, tekel, tekel

Mene, mene, Upharson
Says so in the bible
Right there in the bible

The tribes of Judah from below

Heard the saxophones and trumpets blow
Sore and weary laid them down
While Belshazzar’s party kept a goin’ to town

The King of Babylon was slain

But the children of the Lord remain
All his idols turned to rust
Crumbled are his kingdom and his powers to dust

Pins and Needles was so successful that the garment workers eventually quit

their day jobs and began a regular eight-show per week schedule. The show moved

over to the much larger Windsor Theatre, and by the end of its run in 1940 Pins and

Needles had undergone four permutations and closed at 1,108 performances. The

common thread binding all of the shows of the 1930s Depression era, is unmistakably

the economic and political issues that faced the American people and in many specific

instances, American Jews.

Wartime and the Rodgers and Hammerstein era of the ‘40s

Moving into the new decade, the 1940’s began with most of Europe and Asia

embroiled in World War II (1939-1945). On December 7, 1941 the United States

entered the war when Japan launched a surprise attack on America’s Pacific naval fleet

at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The entire country mobilized to defeat Germany, Italy, and

Japan. The entertainment industry followed as well with patriotism as the common

theme. Nazi Germany’s mass genocide of the Jews, known as the Holocaust, also took

place during World War II. The Nazis formally launched their “Final Solution of the

Jewish Problem” at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 where fifteen mid-

level government officials worked through the enormous logistics of exterminating over

six million people.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration (1933-1945) did little to

intervene in the Holocaust believing that a rapid end to the war was the best remedy.

Furthermore, his administration discouraged European Jewish immigration to the United

States due to widespread anti-Semitism there. Roosevelt, however, employed more

Jews in high-level government positions than any other president before him. In August

of 1945 the U.S. brought the war with Japan to an end when it dropped an atomic bomb

on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This precipitated a nuclear arms race and the

beginning of the so-called “Cold War” between the United States and the Soviet Union,

which lasted more than forty years (1945-1989).

In 1946, with the return of millions of war veterans, the U.S. experienced two

phenomena, the post war “baby boom” and the greatest economic expansion in its

history. American industry was in full gear supplying eager consumers with housing,

automobiles, and every manner of both necessities and luxuries that the war-starved

economy had denied them. On November 29, 1947 the United Nations voted to

partition The British Mandate of Palestine creating the State of Israel. Israel declared its

independence on May 14, 1948 (5 Iyar, 5708). The British Mandate of Palestine ended

on May 15, 1948 and the Israeli War of Independence with the Arab countries began. A

formal armistice was agreed to in 1949.

The 1940’s were a time of great suffering for people around the globe. The

Jewish people especially suffered with the onslaught of the Holocaust. One of the great

tragedies of this time was the loss of Jewish music. The Nazis burned down almost

every synagogue and Jewish school in Europe. They burned countless numbers of

Torahs, books and scores of Jewish music also went up in flames. The Holocaust

Museum in Farmington Hills, Michigan, with the help of local cantors, is attempting to

organize and restore a large collection of Jewish sheet music that was saved from the


The decade of the 1940s marked a dramatic shift in both the ideology and

execution of the musical. In Beautiful Mornin’, Mordden explains:

The 1940s is in certain ways the unique decade in the musical’s history…it
was the first to leave substantial documentation in the form of cast
recordings. This was also the first decade to produce an impressive
amount of undisputed classics regularly performed today. (Mordden,
Beautiful Mornin’ 3)

Irving Berlin, born Izzy Baline, the son of a cantor and the Jewish composer

responsible for one of the most famous non-Jewish holiday tunes, “White Christmas,”

showed a connection to his Jewish roots in other facets of his work. Berlin himself said:

“I suppose it was singing in shul [synagogue] with my father that gave me my musical

background. It was in my blood.” (Qtd. in Gottlieb 161) In Berlin’s 1940 musical

comedy, Louisiana Purchase, the song, “What Chance Have I (with Love),” sung by the

character Senator Oliver P. Loganberry, references Sampson, (note the slight variation

on the spelling of the biblical figure, Samson, from Tanakh):

What chance have I with love

Look at what it did to Sampson
‘Til he lost his hair he was brave.
If a haircut could weaken Sampson
They could murder me with a shave!

It’s likely that Berlin’s Jewish upbringing provided him with knowledge of the

famous biblical story of Samson and Delilah from the Book of Judges in the Hebrew

Bible. Samson, confiding in Delilah in Judges 16:17, proclaims: “No razor has ever

touched my head, for I have been a nazirite to God since I was in my mother’s womb. If

my hair were cut, my strength would leave me and I should become as weak as an

ordinary man.” There is not even a hint of subtlety in Berlin’s lyrics as he describes the

tragedy that is to befall on Samson at the command of Delilah:

Sensing that he had confided everything to her, Delilah sent for the lords
of the Philistines, with this message: ‘Come up once more, for he has
confided everything in me.’ And the lords of the Philistines came up and
brought the money with them. She lulled him to sleep on her lap. Then
she called in a man, and she had him cut off the seven locks of his head;
thus she weakened him and made him helpless: his strength slipped away
from him. (Judges 16:18-19)

In the story, the Philistines go on to seize Samson, gouge out his eyes, and

enslave him. The fact that this degree of content could be expressed in a musical—a

comedy no less—illustrates the expanded dimensions that the shows of the 1940s were

willing to take on. The productions of the 1940s reflected the seriousness of the times:

economic depression, war, and political instability. Furthermore, Berlin, Morrie Ryskind

(book), and Buddy DeSylva (story) gave audiences a history lesson about political

corruption with the story of Huey Pierce Long, Jr., governor of Louisiana from 1928-32,

and later a U.S. Senator. The days of Vaudeville and the Variety Show fluff had truly


A few months later on Christmas Day of 1940, Pal Joey, based on a series of

short stories by John O’Hara originally run in The New Yorker, with music and lyrics by

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, opened on Broadway. The posters billed it as “An

uninhibited musical comedy.” One of the songs, entitled, “Zip,” is a brilliant poetic

rambling of political, religious, social and cultural accounts, including these lyrics:

I have read the great Cabala

And I simply worship Allah
Zip! I am just a mystic

This brief lyric not only speaks of a Jewish idea, that of Kabbalah, Jewish

Mysticism, but also of a neighboring Middle-Eastern religion, Islam, and the worship of

Allah, Arabic for God. The mystical theme carries over into another one of the major

musicals of the decade, Carousel, written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein,

which opened on Broadway in April of 1945. One of the lesser known songs in the

show, “The Highest Judge of All,” reveals these lyrics:

Take me beyond the pearly gates

Through a beautiful marble hall
Take me before the highest throne
And let me be judged by the highest judge of all.

This song lyric resembles the principle of a pre-Kabbalah Jewish mysticism

following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. called heichalot, palaces.

The title, heichalot, derives from the divine abodes seen by the practitioner following

a long period of ritual purification, self-mortification, and ecstatic prayer and

meditation. In their visions, these mystics would enter into the celestial realms and

journey through the seven stages of mystical ascent: the Seven Heavens and seven

throne rooms.

God as judge on throne appears in places throughout Tanakh, including the Book

of Isaiah:

In the year that King Uzzah died, I beheld my Lord seated on a high and
lofty throne; and the skirts of his robe filled the Temple. (Isaiah 6:1)

Moses Maimonides, known to Jews as the Rambam, a 12th century rabbi,

physician, and philosopher also addresses the concept of God on throne in his treatise

The Guide for the Perplexed. Translated from the original Arabic, Maimonides wrote:

Since men of greatness and authority, as e.g., kings, use the throne as a
seat, and “the throne” thus indicates the rank, dignity, and position of the
person for whom it is made, the Sanctuary has been styled “the throne”
inasmuch as it likewise indicates the superiority of Him who manifests
Himself, and causes His light and glory to dwell therein. (Maimonides 21)

Another significant Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of the decade, South

Pacific, was based on James A. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Tales of the

South Pacific. The musical was considered revolutionary due to its radical treatment of

racial issues on the Broadway stage. Andrea Most points out:

Rodgers and Hammerstein use the different backgrounds of the

characters as a way of promoting racial tolerance. By offering a character
who has never been a racist (Emile), one who discovers he’s a racist
(Cable), and one who successfully overcomes her racism (Nellie),
Rodgers and Hammerstein aim to show they ways in which, through
education and love, prejudice can be overcome. (Most, Making Americans

The relationships throughout the musical are completely determined by racial

prejudices. Cable refuses to marry Liat due to race and Nellie breaks off her

engagement to Emile for the same reason. Andrea Most describes the character of

Emile, reasoning that there is a Jewish connection:

Who is Emile in the American landscape of the 1940s? A political fugitive,
a radical antifascist, an intellectual with a high-culture background—in
fact, Emile strongly evokes the European (mostly German) intellectuals
who fled to America in the 1930s and 1940s to escape Nazi persecution.
Many of these refugees were connected with the worlds of theater, film,
music, and literature, and most were Jews. (Most, Making Americans 170)

Rodgers and Hammerstein “have been credited with ‘irreversibly changing the

face of American musical comedy.’” (Qtd. in Most, Making Americans 103). This

historic partnership’s impact on the decade was monumental due to their string of hits

Oklahoma (1943), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949). They would continue to

influence the musical theatre climate of the 1950s with The King and I (1951) and The

Sound of Music (1959).

The shows of the 1940s crossed over into pageantry; with much more elaborate

scores, and particularly in the case of South Pacific, began to employ opera singers.

Race, religion, war, politics, and all of the hot-button issues of the day (including the

Jewish themes, now more than ever due to Hitler and the Holocaust) were now being

exposed on the American stage. The musicals of this decade have been sustained well

via musical scores and cast recordings, and are often revived on Broadway today.

Nu? Yinglish, Assimilation and the Musicals of the ‘50s

The 1950s were a very tumultuous time in American history in which numerous

remarkable things took place politically and artistically. The decade began tragically

with the Korean War on June 25, 1950. The threat of communism spreading in the

United States spawned the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy investigations, which

began in February of 1950. This was heightened in 1953, when Americans witnessed

the conviction and execution of American Communists, Julius Rosenberg and Ethel

Greenglass Rosenberg for their conveyance of nuclear secrets to the Russians. This

had a particularly negative impact on Jews in the United States because it fueled the

implication of a strong Jewish connection to communism.

The decade continued with the surprise launching of the Russian satellite Sputnik

I on October 4, 1957, coupled with the failed two Project Vanguard attempts, which

caused a panic about the inadequacies in American education. In February of 1959,

the world watched Fidel Castro’s Communist take-over of Cuba at the young age of 32.

The new decade rang in with the excitement of the election of John F. Kennedy as

President in November of 1960.

The 1950s were no less exciting theatrically than they were politically. The

decade opens with Tony Award Winning, Guys and Dolls, by Frank Loesser. It’s likely

that the character, Nathan Detroit is Jewish, due to his frequent displays of “Yinglish”

Yiddish mixed with English (also referred to as “Yingish” throughout Jack Gottlieb’s

work) for example, in the song "Sue Me,” he sings the lyric, “All right already, I’m just a

no-goodnik. All right already it’s true. So nu?”

My own grandfather, of blessed memory, an uncultured man but steeped in

Yiddishkeit, Jewishness, thought the song “A Bushel and a Peck” from Guys and Dolls,

was Jewish, and he often sang it to me as a child: “I love you a bushel and a peck, a

bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” The influence of this random piece of

musical culture is remarkable given that a non-theatre-going man somehow absorbed

song lyrics from a Broadway musical, and integrated them into his interaction with his

grandchildren, genuinely believing them to be part of his heritage. In fact, it could very

well have been the intent of the composer or lyricist to create this kind of atmosphere:

If a creative artist produces something which in kind, in content, and in

form corresponds to his cultural community, so that through that product
he can be accepted as belonging to, or in affinity with, that community,
then the product can be regarded as belonging to that particular group.
(Rothmüller 286-287)

The King and I, music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar

Hammerstein appeared on the musical theatre scene in 1951. The King and I focuses

on themes of education and multiculturalism. A governess is brought to Siam to teach

the many children of the king. The children naturally fall in love with their new

governess and learn many things from her about the outside world. This aspect of the

children is not unlike the cloistered Yeshiva students immersed in Talmud and not being

aware of the culture of the surrounding communities. Andrea Most comments:

Rodgers and Hammerstein chose to rewrite the Jewish immigrant myth as

a model for other immigrant groups. In doing so, they asserted not only
that Jews born in the United States were fully assimilated Americans, but
that their assimilation experience could set the standard for the making of
new Americans. By shifting the elements of the Jewish immigration story
onto Asian subjects The King and I rejects the image of the Jew as alien
threat and argues that the Jewish model of immigration and assimilation is
actually the best template for creating Americans and hence defeating
Communism. (Most, Making Americans 186)

The king’s children, in an effort to please their new governess, decide to produce

a play based on the book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. In the

children’s interpretation, the story begins with the most evil king in America, Simon

Legree, in the kingdom of Kentucky. Eliza, her lover George, and their baby are slaves

who live in the house of Uncle Thomas. King Simon decides to sell George and send

him away to the faraway province of “Oheeo.” As a result, Eliza takes her baby and

flees the kingdom to be reunited with George. In the scene called “Ice Skating Dance,”

Eliza approaches a river and prays to the god Buddha to help her cross it. God then

freezes the river over allowing Eliza to pass. King Simon and his slaves and dogs race

across the river in hot pursuit. The lyric reads, “Buddha has called out the sun! Sun

has made the water soft. The wicked Simon and his slaves fall in the river and are

drowned.” This is a direct retelling of the story of Moses and the Israelites crossing the

Red Sea found in the biblical Book of Exodus.

Moses held out his arm over the sea, and at daybreak the sea returned to
its normal state, and the Egyptians fled at its approach. But the Lord
hurled the Egyptians into the sea. The waters turned back and covered
the chariots and the horsemen—Pharoah’s entire army that followed them
into the sea; not one of them remained. (Ex. 14:27-28)

The scene of the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt in the 1956 film, The Ten

Commandments, is one of the most spectacular in all of film. Elmer Bernstein, the

prolific Jewish film composer, composed the music for the film. Along with many in

Hollywood, Bernstein faced censure during the McCarthy era of the 1950s. He was

"gray-listed" (not banned, but kept off major projects) due to sympathy with left-wing

causes, and had to work on low-budget science fiction films such as Robot Monster and

Cat-Women of the Moon. The McCarthy investigations ruined the lives and careers of

many people in the entertainment industry. The infamous “black lists” prevented many

Jewish artists from working in various facets of mainstream society.

Debuting on Broadway in 1956, Candide, a story by Lillian Hellman, was set to

music by Jewish composer, Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Richard Wilbur, John

Latouche and Stephen Sondheim. It was based on a satirical work by the philosopher

Voltaire. Mordden remarks, “There is no question that Voltaire was one of the world’s

great liberal pioneers. When new, the novel Candide was dangerous, democratic, and

rational, and Lillian Hellman and Leonard Bernstein fixed on it as the source of a show

they would write to defy McCarthyism as Voltaire had defied the hypocrites of his day.”

(Mordden, Coming Up Roses 172)

From an instrumental standpoint, Leonard Bernstein shows a connection to his

Jewish roots by inserting shofar calls in a number of places in the score. “In Bernstein’s

Candide, trumpeters are instructed to play “like a shofar.” A battle scene is announced

by a fanfare blast of tekiah gedolah [the big blast], the same configuration that opens

the Overture to Candide, probably Bernstein’s most performed concert work.” (Gottlieb


There are also some compelling Jewish ideas in the lyrics. In the song, “The

Best of All Possible Worlds,” from Candide the lyrics are undeniably biblical:

T’was Snake that tempted Mother Eve

Because of Snake we now believe that though depraved
We can be saved from hellfire and damnation
If Snake had not seduced our lot, and primed us from salvation
Jehovah could not pardon all the sins we call cardinal
Involving bed and bottle

This is another example in which the song lyrics cross over religions. In the

Hebrew Bible in the Book of Genesis, the serpent’s temptation serves to test Eve, as

seen in instances throughout Tanakh, where God imposes tests to determine whether

or not His instructions will be obeyed and the people will fear Him. In Christianity, the

story of Adam and Eve forms the basis for the Christian doctrine of original sin.

Candide also addressed assimilation, an issue of great significance to the Jewish

community, and other religious and cultural groups. Encyclopedia Britannica offers this

definition of assimilation:

The process whereby individuals or groups of differing ethnic heritage are
absorbed into the dominant culture of a society. Usually they are
immigrants or hitherto isolated minorities who, through contact and
participation in the larger culture, gradually give up most of their former
culture traits and take on the new traits to such a degree that socially they
become indistinguishable from other members of the society.

In the number entitled, “I Am Easily Assimilated,” the lyrics expressed the ever-

present cultural assimilation in the 1950s:

It’s easy, it’s ever so easy!

I’m Spanish, I’m suddenly Spanish and you must be Spanish too
Do like the natives do
These days you have to be in the majority
I am easily assimilated

According to Ethan Mordden, “’I Am Easily Assimilated,’ the Old Lady’s

opportunistic credo, is all-basic Candide, Bernstein’s campy genius (he wrote the lyrics)

gaming with something really dangerous—the self-satisfaction of the Jewish immigrant

who has no idea that Hitler is in the wings.” (Mordden, Coming Up Roses 180) As

Jews, businessmen and artists, Bernstein and Sondheim were clearly in touch with the

trend of assimilation during the 1950s, when Jews in all walks of workplace and social

circles went as far as changing their names to blend in with the rest of society. In fact,

Andrea Most adds:

Jewish writers and composers developed a new genre of musical theatre

best described as musical comedy, which uses comic structure, love plots,
tacit and overt ethnic characters, and the distinct separation of dialogue
and song to respond to and represent theatrically the experience of
Jewish assimilation in America. (Most, Making Americans 3)

Today, even more so than in the 1950s, assimilation has grown and now

presents the most immediate danger to the continuity of the Jewish people. The

Council of Jewish Federations' 1990 National Jewish Population Survey reports that of

5.6 million Jews, 2 million American Jews live in households identified as non-Jewish,

and since 1985, 52% of Jews are intermarried. (Buchwald)

West Side Story opened on Broadway 1957 based on a conception by Jerome

Rabinowitz, better known as Jerome Robbins, who also directed and choreographed

the production. The book was written by Arthur Laurents, with music by Leonard

Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, all of whom are Jewish. Although most of

us are familiar with the well-known love story amidst conflict between two New York

gangs, one White and the other Puerto Rican, the original intent for a cultural clash was

quite different as Ethan Mordden explains:

West Side Story owns an especially dispiriting gestation story, because it

very nearly never happened. It started as an updated Romeo and Juliet
called East Side Story, about friction between Jewish people and
Catholics. It was Jerome Robbins’ idea, and, from the start, Leonard
Bernstein was to write both lyrics and music to Arthur Laurents’ book. But
in fact there was no story there, for the Jewish East Side of memory had
vanished long before—and where, today, in New York, was there a
Jewish-Catholic hostility? On the contrary, the cultural assimilation of
Jewish and Catholic immigrants and their issue was a New York success
story. (Mordden, Coming Up Roses 238)

In fact, Bernstein’s own diary entry in early 1949 confirms the original idea:

Jerry R. [Jerome Robbins] called today with a noble idea: a modern

version of Romeo and Juliet set in slums at the coincidence of Easter-
Passover celebrations. Feelings run high between Jews and Catholics.
Former, Capulets, latter: Montagues. Juliet is Jewish. Friar Lawrence is
the neighborhood druggist. Street brawls, double death—it all fits. But it’s
all much less important than the bigger idea of making a musical that tells
a tragic story in musical comedy terms. (Qtd. in Whitfield 81)

Consequently, the four Jewish authors maintained their intention of the Jewish-

Catholic conflict throughout West Side Story in a variety of ways. There is true art in

using language to create an atmosphere in a brilliantly subtle way in a song lyric. They

began by giving one of the gangs a “J” name—slang often used to denote a Jew. In the

lyrics of the song, “When You’re A Jet,” there is an interesting parallel between the

feeling of community in a gang and the essential framework of community that Jews


When you're a Jet,

If the spit hits the fan,
You got brothers around,
You're a family man!

You're never alone,

You're never disconnected!
You're home with your own:
When company's expected,
You're well protected!

Then you are set

With a capital J,
Which you'll never forget
‘Til they cart you away.

The sense of community is illustrated in the lyrics when the Jets speak of

brotherhood, family, and unity via a common identity. The Jewish influence throughout

the show carried on and even ventured into the mystical as illustrated in the lyrics of

“Something’s Coming” from West Side Story, which declare a potentially Messianic

theme of Redemption throughout:

Could be! Who knows? There’s something due any day; I will know right
away soon as it shows. It may come cannonballin’ down through the sky,
gleam in its eye, bright as a rose! Who knows? It’s only just out of reach,
down the block, on a beach, under a tree. I got a feelin’ there’s a miracle
due, gonna come true, comin’ to me! Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something’s coming, something’ good, if I can wait! Something’s comin’, I
don’t know what it is but it is gonna be great! With a click, with a shock,
phone’ll jingle, door’ll knock open the latch! Something’s comin’, don’t
know when, but it’s soon--catch the moon, one-handed catch! Around the
corner, Or whistling’ down the river, Come on--deliver to me! Will it be?
Yes, it will. Maybe just by holdin’ still it’ll be there! Come on, something’,
come on in, don’t be shy, meet a guy, pull up a chair! The air is hummin’,
and something’ great is comin’! Who knows? It’s only just out of reach,
down the block, on a beach. Maybe tonight.

Historically, Jews have been waiting for and continue to hope for the coming of

the Messiah who is to bring with him/her olam haba, the world to come, and a time of

eternal life when the dead will be resurrected. The lyrics of “Something’s Coming”

create that mystical feeling of the unknown—we believe something good is coming, but

we don’t know exactly what it is, when it will come, or how precisely it will be revealed to

us. Certainly, someone like Leonard Bernstein who was brought up in a Jewish home

would know of this phenomenon as much as he would know about the melodies of the

traditional High Holy Day music and the sound of the shofar.

As seen in Guys and Dolls, Bernstein and his lyricists had a similar sense of

humor with his use of “Yinglish” in West Side Story, this quite derogatory, as in the

song, “Gee, Officer Krupke,” when the character, Action sings:

Dear kindly social worker, they say go earn a buck

Like be a soda jerker, which means like be a schumck

In Yiddish, the word schumck literally meaning penis, refers to a fool, jerk, or

contemptible person. This reference and many other instances of Jewish influences

that bleed into what is supposed to be a “White/Puerto Rican story” cannot be passed

off as insignificant. In fact some of these instances in West Side Story are far less

subtle than early decades as the show edges close to the early sixties when Jewish

themes in Broadway musicals became obvious.

Furthermore, as in the case of Candide, Bernstein uses shofar calls in

Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. In his book, Jack Gottlieb shows a total of

four musically notated examples of these shofar calls: two in Candide, one in Jubilee

Games (Mvt. 1) from Concerto for Orchestra, and one in West Side Story. “This is proof

positive for those who always suspected that the whistles alerting the gangs in West

Side Story are based on shofar calls. There is no doubt that two of Bernstein’s most

acclaimed shows begin with a Jewish call to worship.” (Gottlieb 180)

When reflecting on the overall climate of the Judaism in the musicals of the

1950s, one can find an interesting paradox. On the one hand, the Jewish references

were no longer subtle as in earlier decades—quite the contrary—they were often

pushed front and center. On the other hand, from a cultural standpoint, many Jews

were opting for assimilation and sometimes trying to hide their identities altogether, to fit

in to a society that never fully accepted them in the first place. This is reminiscent of the

shows of the 1920s and 1930s when it was not “fashionable” to exhibit Jewish ideas in a

deliberate manner.


This thesis proves that there is plentiful evidence of Jewish theme and content

existing in mainstream Broadway shows from the 1920s through the late 1950s,

particularly when penned by Jewish authors and composers. Each decade put its own

unique stamp on the Broadway musical in terms of the social, political, and economic

influences. The roaring ‘20s brought Vaudeville and the variety show—productions that

were low in content but high on spectacle. The popular performers of the day drew the

big crowds, as did the flashy sets, costumes and choreography. George and Ira

Gershwin were the predominant Jewish writing team of the era. By the 1930s, politics

became the driving force behind the ideas that were brought to the Broadway stage.

Cole Porter was one of the dominant artists of the day; however, Jewish composer Marc

Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock was one of the most memorable shows the decade

produced. Economically the decade was a disaster and show attendance was down.

This carried over into the 1940s and was further aggravated by World War II and the

Holocaust. However, advances in technology in the 1940s became a factor in

preserving many of the classics we now cherish today. Ethan Mordden remarks: “it was

the decade in which the musical’s artistry changed most decisively and even most

suddenly, in what we might call ‘the Rodgers and Hammerstein revolution.’” (Mordden,

Beautiful Mornin’ 3)

Finally, despite McCarthyism in the 1950s “the musical then was central to

American culture.” (Mordden, Coming Up Roses 3) Rodgers and Hammerstein II were

still a force, but the big names that emerged were Leonard Bernstein and Stephen

Sondheim. Candide and West Side Story were two of the most important shows of the

period, and were paramount to bringing the issues of race, religion, and culture out from

hiding in the previous decades to the forefront in the 1950s.

In all of the works examined, the influence of Jewish culture either in the

upbringing or in the overall environment of the artists carried over significantly into the

premise of these shows and was also reflected in specific characters, lyrics, melodies,

or other subtle Jewish ideas present in otherwise non-Jewish productions. As

expected, the shows that appeared in the later decades revealed more obvious Jewish

content, particularly in the 1950s as the timeline edged closer to the 1960s which finally

brought Jewish life front and center in the productions of Milk and Honey and Fiddler on

the Roof.

Commentary on the Bibliographies

The use of historical information derived from books and articles on Broadway

theatre and Jewish culture, as well as internet findings and recordings of soundtracks

proved to be the most useful and revealed the majority of relevant references used to

support the thesis. Gina Genova, former research specialist at the Milken Archive office

in New York City suggested contacting Marty Jacobs, the musical theatre librarian at the

Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), which houses an extensive collection of files

on Broadway shows. While the research of show files at MCNY was interesting, most

songs on the list compiled were unavailable, and many that were found, proved to be

inapplicable or unsupportive of the overall thesis topic. However, a number of pieces

were collected and have since been filed with Dr. Neil W. Levin at the Milken Archive

office. The research completed at MCNY is provided in detail in the bibliography of

musical works at the end of this paper.

Bibliography of Musical Works
All music, if available, acquired from Museum of the City of New York (MCNY),
Musical Theatre Collection, other sources noted.


Show: Poor Little Ritz Girl, (song by the same name) book by George Campbell/Lew
Fields, music by Richard C. Rodgers/Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Lorenz M. Hart/Alex
Notes: Music not available.

Show: Mary, starring George M. Cohan’s Comedians, book by Otto Harbach/Frank

Mandel, music by Louis A. Hirsch, lyrics by Otto Harbach
Songs: “That May Have Satisfied Grandma,” “Money, Money, Money”
Notes: Songs have Irish content only.

Show: Her Family Tree, book by Al Weeks/’Bugs’ Baer, music and lyrics by Seymour
Song: “The Gold Diggers,” “Why Worry,” (scene outside of Noah’s Ark)
Notes: These songs not available, MCNY has only, “As we sow, so shall we reap.” The
song entitled, “Gold Diggers,” also appears in a show by the same name from 1923.


Show: Love Birds, book by Edgar Allen Woolf, music by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by
Ballard MacDonald
Song: “Girl like Grandma”
Notes: Music not available.

Song: “Irene Rosensteen” music by Malvin Franklin, lyrics by Alex Gerber, song added
to the 2nd engagement in a scene called “The Delicatessen Shoppe” from The
Broadway Whirl, a musical review.
Notes: Music not available.

Song: “Take Me Down to Coney” music/lyrics by Lew Pollack/Ed Rose/Richard A.

Whiting from Ziegfeld Follies of 1921
Notes: This song not available, song entitled, “Second Hand Rose” acquired.

Song: “An Interview with Irving Berlin,” music/lyrics by Irving Berlin from Music Box
Review (1921-1922)
Notes: Music not available.


Song: “My Yiddisha Mammy” music/lyrics by Jean Schwartz/Eddie Cantor/Alex Gerber,

listed as one of Eddie Cantor’s “specialty songs” added later to Act 1 of Make It Snappy,
musical review.
Notes: This song not available, but MCNY has “Sophie” and “The Sheik of Araby,”
neither have Jewish content.

Song: “The Samson and Delilah Melody,” music by Frank H. Grey, lyrics by Bide Dudley
from Sue, Dear.
Notes: Music not available.

Show: George White’s Scandals of 1922, book by George White/W.C. Fields/Andy

Rice, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva/E. Ray Goetz/Arthur
Francis. Scene 1: Garden of Eden, possible song “Neath the Shade of the Old Apple
Tree,” Scene 2: The Modern Eves (no songs listed).

Song: “There’s an Eve in Ev’ry Garden,” music by Milton Schwarzwald/Tom Johnstone

from Molly Darling, book by Otto Harbach/William Cary Duncan.
Notes: This song not available, MCNY has “Only When All Your Castles Come
Tumbling Down,” lyrics by Arthur Francis. No Jewish content.

Song: “Forbidden Fruit,” a duet dropped during the run of The Yankee Princess, book
by William Le Baron, music by Emmerich Kálmán, lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva.
Notes: Music not available.

Show: The Clinging Vine, book/lyrics by Zelda Sears, music by Harold Levey. Songs:
“Grandma,” “Roumania.”
Notes: These songs not available, but “Omar Khayam was Right” was acquired.

Song: “The Upper Crust,” music by Harry Tierney, lyrics by Joseph McCarthy from
Glory, musical comedy.
Notes: This song not available, MCNY has “Glory.” No Jewish content. MCNY info
suggests a show year of 1923.


Song: “(And) Her Mother Came Too,” sung by Jack Buchanan, an actor/singer dubbed,
“The British Fred Astaire.” Music/lyrics by Ivor Novello from Jack and Jill, but originally
written and performed in the London Revue, A TO Z.
Notes: Music not available. Show date may be 1921.

Song: “There Is Nothing Too Good for You,” music by George Gershwin, lyrics by
Buddy G. DeSylva/ E. Ray Goetz from George White’s Scandals (1923).

Song: “(Since Ma Is Playing) Mah Jong,” music/lyrics by Con Conrad/Billy Rose,
performed by Eddie Cantor in Kid Boots, book by William Anthony McGuire/Otto
Notes: This song not available, but “Reuben, Reuben, where have you been?”


Song: “Don’t Send Me Back (to Petrograd),” music/lyrics by Irving Berlin. Performed by
Fanny Brice in Music Box Review (1924-1925).
Notes: Music not available. This song may have also appeared in the 1925 production,
Lady Be Good.


Song: “Nobody But Fanny,” music/lyrics by Con Conrad/Al Jolson/Buddy G. DeSylva,

from Big Boy, book by Harold Atteridge.
Notes: Music not available. Al Jolson appeared in Blackface, show is not Jewish.

Songs: “Irish Jewish Jubilee,” music/lyrics by Bert Kalmar/Harry Ruby and “The Lady
Osteopath,” music/lyrics by Blanche Merrill from Puzzles of 1925, musical review.
Notes: Music not available.

Show: Tell Me More! Book by Fred Thompson/William K. Wells, music by George

Gershwin, lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva/Ira Gershwin. Songs: “Mr. and Mrs. Sipkin,”
When the Debbies Go By.”
Notes: MCNY had a number of songs in file, but none have Jewish content.

Show: Kosher Kitty Kelly, (song by same name), book/music/lyrics by Leon DeCosta.
Notes: Program in file lists show year as 1925. Lyrics to this song are ironically, not
Jewish: “Pretty Kitty Kelly, your big Irish eyes.”

Song: “Bertie,” music by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Clifford Grey from Ziegfeld Follies
of 1925 (Summer Edition).
Notes: Music not available.

Song: “My Doctor,” music by Vincent Youmans, lyrics by Otto Harbach from No, No
Notes: Music not available. Show contains a song entitled, “Santa Claus.”

Song: “The Cossack Love Song,” music by George Gershwin/Herbert Stothart from
Song Of The Flame, book/lyrics by Otto Harbach/Oscar Hammerstein II.
Notes: The above listed song is also known as: “Don’t Forget Me.” The program lists
the show year as 1926. Many songs in file but none have Jewish content.


Songs: “Kosher Kleagle,” music by Philip Charig, lyrics by J.P. McEvoy and “Tabloid
Papers,” music by Con Conrad, lyrics by J.P. McEvoy from Americana (1926).
Notes: Music not available.

Song: “Reuben,” from Twinkle, Twinkle. Book/lyrics by Harlan Thompson, music by

Harry Archer.
Notes: Music not available.

Show: Betsy, book by Irving Caesar/David Freedman, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics
by Lorenz Hart. Songs: “The Kitzel Engagement,” “Stonewall Moscowitz March,” The
Tales of Hoffman,” “Leave It to Levy.”
Notes: Music not available.


Song: “Mockowitz, Gogelich, Babblekroit & Svonk,” (The Four Lawyers) from Merry-Go-
Round, book/lyrics by Morrie Ryskind/Howard Dietz, music by Henry Souvaine/Jay
Notes: This song not available but “Gabriel” lyrics were acquired.

Show: Funny Face, appeared as Smarty at the NY Alvin Theatre with Fred Astaire.
Includes well known songs as “S’wonderful,” and “How long has this been going on.”
Notes: Song entitled, “The Babbitt and the Bromide” acquired.


Show: Hold Everything, book by Buddy G. DeSylva/John McGowan, music/lyrics by

Buddy G. DeSylva/Lew Brown/Ray Henderson. Songs: “We’re Calling on Mr. Brooks,”
“You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” “Genealogy.”
Notes” Acquired “You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” also known as “You’re My Necessity
(I’d Be Lost without You).”
Song: “Jericho,” music by Richard Myers, lyrics by Leo Robin from Hello Yourself!!!!
musical review.
Notes: Show not in archive, may have also been known as Hello Hero!!


Show: Whoopee!, book by William McGuire, music by Walter Donaldson, lyrics by Gus
Kahn, produced by Florenz Ziegfeld.
Notes: Vocal selections available at NYPL Performing Arts Branch. Call number: Mus
784 D, second floor.


Song: “Mademoiselle in New Rochelle,” from Strike Up The Band, book by Morrie
Ryskind, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
Notes: Music acquired.

Song: “Sam and Delilah,” sung by Ethel Merman, who portrayed Kate Fothergill in Girl
Crazy, book by Guy Bolton/John McGowan, music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira
Notes: This song acquired. Girl Crazy also included the popular Gershwin songs: “I’ve
Got Rhythm,” “But Not for Me,” and “Embraceable You.”

Song: “I’m One of God’s Children,” from Ballyhoo, book/lyrics by Harry Ruskin/Leighton
K. Brill, music by Louis Alter, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II/ Harry Ruskin.
Notes: Music acquired.


Song: (Yiddish) Folk Song (“The Cantor”-Ohf Shabbes) performed by Al Jolson in The
Wonder Bar, book by Irving Caesar/Aben Kandel, music by Robert Katscher, lyrics by
Irving Caesar.
Notes: This song not available but file contains, “Trav’lin All Alone.”

Song: “I Found a Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten Cent Store,” music by Harry
Warren, lyrics by Billy Rose/Mort Dixon from Billy Rose’s Crazy Quilt.
Notes: This song was in file but did not have Jewish content.

Show: The Singing Rabbi, book by Bores and Harry Thomashefsky, music by J.
Rumshinsky/Harry Lubin, lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert.
Notes: Music not available.


Song: “Satan’s Little Lamb,” music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by E.Y. Harburg/Johnny
Mercer from (J.P. McEvoy’s) Americana.
Notes: Music not available.

Song, “I Got Religion,” music by Vincent Youmans, lyrics by Buddy G. DeDylva,

performed by Ethel Merman as Wanda Brill in Take A Chance.
Notes: This song not available but “Eadie Was a Lady” from Act II acquired.


Song: “All the Mothers of the Nation,” music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin
from Let ‘Em Eat Cake, book by George S Kaufman/Morrie Ryskind.
Notes: Music not available, a war themed show.


Song: “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” music/lyrics by Cole Porter. Performed by Ethel Merman
in Anything Goes.
Notes: Music available on 2nd floor, NYPL Performing Arts Branch.

Song: “The Stein-Way,” by William K. Wells from Calling All Stars, musical review.
Notes: Music not available.


Song, “Send for the Militia,” music/lyrics by Marc Blitzstein from Parade, a satirical
Notes: Music not available.

Song: “Adam and Eve,” music by Pearl Lippmann, lyrics by Arthur Lippmann from
Continental Varieties of 1936.
Notes: Music not available.


Song: “It Must Be Religion,” music/lyrics by Forman Brown from New Faces of 1936.
Notes: Music not available, but file contains, “My Last Affair,” no Jewish theme.


Show: The Eternal Road, music by Kurt Weill.

Notes: Music readily available, recording at Milken Archive.

Song: “Goodbye Jonah,” from Virginia, music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Albert
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.


Show: No More Peace, an anti-war comedy, music by Max Hirschfield, lyrics by W.H.
Auden. All characters listed in cast have biblical names.
Notes: Music not available.


Song: “I’ll Pay the Check,” music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Sung by
Ethel Merman as Jeanette Adair in Stars in Your Eyes, book by J.P. McEvoy.
Notes: Show referred to as a “Musical Jamboree.” Music acquired.


Show: Panama Hattie, book by Herbert Fields/Buddy G. DeSylva, music/lyrics by Cole

Porter. Songs: “My Mother Would Love You,” “I’ve Still Got My Health,” both sung by
Ethel Merman.
Notes: Music not available.


Show: No For An Answer, book/music/lyrics by Marc Blitzstein.

Notes: Music not available.

Show: Lady in the Dark, book by Moss Hart, music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
(Show also listed in 1943)
Notes: Script and entire vocal score is in file at MCNY.

Show: Let’s Face It, book by Herbert & Dorothy Fields, music/lyrics by Cole Porter.
Notes: Acquired a number of songs, unsure of Jewish content. Songs: “You Irritate Me
So,” “I Hate You Darling,” “Farming,” and “Ace in the Hole.”


Show: Of V We Sing, multiple composers/lyricists. Songs: “Queen Esther,” music by

George Kleinsinger, lyrics by Beatrice Goldsmith. “Gertie, the Stool Pigeon’s Daughter,”
music by Ned Lehack [Lehak], lyrics by Joe Darion.
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.

Shows: Keep ‘Em Laughing and Top-Notchers, assembled by Clifford C. Fischer, shows
share many of the same songs, opened one month apart.
Notes: Neither shows in archive at MCNY.

Show: By Jupiter, book/music/lyrics by Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart. Starred Ray

Notes: Show has theme of Greek Gods, not Jewish. Some songs in file.

Show: This is the Army, conceived by, music/lyrics by Irving Berlin.

Notes: Songs available are: “I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen,” and “This is
the Army, Mr. Jones.” Neither have Jewish content.

Show: Let Freedom Sing, music/lyrics mostly by Harold Rome. Song: “Mittel Europa,”
music/lyrics by Jay Gurney/Henry Myers/Edward Eliscu. Notes: No Music available.

Show: Oy Is Dus A Leben! (Oh, What a Life!), based on the life of Molly Picon and
Jacob Kalich. Book by Jacob Kalich, music by J. Rumshinsky, lyrics by Molly Picon.
Notes: Title song was acquired in two versions with different Yiddish lyrics.


Show: Something for the Boys, book by Herbert & Dorothy Fields, music/lyrics by Cole
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.

Show: Artists and Models (of 1943), music/lyrics by Dan Shapiro/Milton Pascal/Phil
Charig. Songs: “Swing Low, Sweet Harriet,” “Ile of Manasooris.”
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.


Show: Bloomer Girl, book by Sig Herzig/Fred Saidy, music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by
E.Y. Harburg. Songs: “It Was Good Enough For Grandma,” “Simon Legree.”
Notes: Appears to have been a black show. The above songs were not available but
the file contains, “The Eagle and Me,” and “Right as the Rain.” Note that the character
Simon Legree appears in The King and I.


Show: The Day Before Spring, book/lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick
Loewe. Notes: No music available.


Show: A Flag is Born, play by Ben Hecht, music by Kurt Weill.

Notes: No music available.

Show: Naughty Naught, book by John Van Antwerp [Jerrold Krimsky], music by Richard
Lewine, lyrics by Ted Fetter.
Notes: No music available.

Show: Park Avenue, music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, book directed by
George S. Kaufman.
Notes: The only song available is: “There’s No Holding Me,” no Jewish content.

Show: If the Shoe Fits, book by June Carroll/Robert Duke, music by David Raskin, lyrics
by June Carroll.
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.


Show: Barefoot Boy with Cheek, book by Max Shulman, music by Sidney Lippman,
lyrics by Sylvia Dee.
Notes: No music available.


Show: Make Mine Manhattan, sketches/lyrics by Arnold B. Horwitt, music by Richard

Lewine. Song: “My Brudder and Me.”
Notes: This song acquired and also, “Phil the Fiddler.”


Show: Lost in the Stars, book/lyrics by Maxwell Anderson, music by Kurt Weill.
Notes: Title song available and script is in file at MCNY.


Show: Happy as Larry, book/lyrics by Donagh MacDonagh, music by Mischa & Wesley
Notes: No music available.

Show: Great to be Alive!, book by Walter Bullock/Sylvia Reagan, music by Abraham

Ellstein, lyrics by Walter Bullock.
Notes: Three songs are in file: “It’s a Long Time Till Tomorrow,” “What a Day!” and
“Dreams Ago.” None have Jewish content.

Show: Call Me Madam, book by Howard Lindsay/Russel Crouse, music/lyrics by Irving

Berlin. Starring Ethel Merman.
Notes: Acquired song, “The Hostess with the Mostes’ on the Ball.”


Show: Bagels and Yox, songs by Sholom Secunda/Hy Jacobson, additional lyrics by
Millie Alpert.
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.

Show: Borscht Capades, directed by Mickey Katz, music for dances by J. Rumshinsky.
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.


Show: Wish You Were Here, book by Arthur Kober/Joshua Logan, music/lyrics by
Harold Rome.
Notes: Program lists show year as 1953. Only title song available, no Jewish content.

Show: The Fifth Season, by Sylvia Reagan.

Notes: No music available at MCNY. NYPL CATNYP lists a show year of 1953,
availability unknown.

Show: Two’s Company, music by Vernon Duke (Sheldon Harnick), lyrics by Ogden
Nash (Sammy Cahn, Sheldon Harnick).
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.


Show: The Flowering Peach, book by Clifford Odets, incidental music by Alan
Hovhaness. Act II is set in Noah’s home; the ark.
Notes: Show not in archive at MCNY.

Bibliography of Books and Articles

Buchwald, Rabbi Ephraim. Simple to Remember: Judaism Online.


Bronski, Michael. Love’s Labor’s Lost. http://www.forward.com/articles/8600/

Eisenhour, Jerry. Joe Leblang’s Cut-Rate Ticket Empire and the Broadway Theatre
1894-1931. http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/03/07/opinion/08oped.ready.html

Encyclopedia--Britannica Online Encyclopedia


Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT). A Teacher’s Guide to the

Holocaust. http://fcit.usf.edu/Holocaust/arts/music.htm

Green, Stanley. Ring Bells! Sing Songs! Broadway Musicals of the 1930’s. New York
City: Galahad Books, 1971.

Gottlieb, Jack. Funny, It Doesn’t Sound Jewish: How Yiddish Songs and Synagogue
Melodies Influenced Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and Hollywood. State University of New
York in association with The Library of Congress, 2004.

JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh: The traditional Hebrew text and the new JPS translation,
2nd edition. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 1999. Daniel 8:15-17, 9:21;
Exodus 14:27-28, 19:13, 16, 18-20; Isaiah 6:1; Judges 16:17-19; Psalms 150:3.

Levin, Neil W. Program notes from the sound recording: Weill, Kurt, The Eternal Road
(highlights). Milken Archive of American Jewish Music, 2003.

Maimonides, Moses. The Guide for the Perplexed. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul
Ltd., 1904.

Mordden, Ethan. Beautiful Mornin’: The Broadway Musical in the 1940s. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1999.

Coming Up Roses: The Broadway Musical in the 1950s. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1998.

Make Believe: The Broadway Musical in the 1920s. New York: Oxford University
Press, 1997.

Sing for Your Supper: The Broadway Musical in the 1930s. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1997.

Most, Andrea. “’Big Chief Izzy Horowitz’: Theatricality and Jewish Identity in the Wild
West.” American Jewish Historical Society, 2000.

Making Americans: Jews and the Broadway Musical. Cambridge: Harvard

University Press, 2004.

“We Know We Belong to the Land:” Jews and the American Musical Theater.
Michigan: UMI Dissertation Services, a Bell & Howell Company, 2001.

Norton, Richard C. A Chronology of American Musical Theatre, vol. 2 (1912-1952) and

3 (1952-2001). New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Pessen, Edward. “The Great Songwriters of Tin Pan Alley’s Golden Age: A Social,
Occupational, and Aesthetic Inquiry.” Illinois: The Board of Trustees of the University of
Illinois, 1985.

Rothmüller, Aron Marko. The Music of the Jews: An Historic Appreciation. Rev. ed.
South Brunswick: A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc., 1967.

Steyn, Mark. Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now. New York:
Routledge, 1999.

Whitfield, Stephen J. In Search of American Jewish Culture. New Hampshire:

Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England, 1999.

Wright, Jill Yvonne Gold. Creating America on Stage: How Jewish Composers and
Lyricists Pioneered American Musical Theater. Michigan: UMI Dissertation Services, a
ProQuest Company, 2003.