By Paulanne Simmons
Although “White Christmas” is certainly appropriate for the season, as Alexis Fishman
said at the beginning of her show, Boychiks of Broadway, “It was not the
first song you were expecting to hear.” However, the truth is “White Christmas”
was written by that most Jewish of Broadway composers, Israel Isidore Baline,
a.k.a Irving Berlin.
And, as Fishman pointed out, many of the best Christmas songs were written by Jews:
“Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),”
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and so many, many more.
If Fishman began her show at Pangea in the holiday spirit, the rest of the evening
was devoted to a traditional Broadway repertoire. Fishman has a vibrant voice
and a versatility that allows for a great variety of singing styles.
From Broadway’s Golden Age, she chose Bernstein/Comden & Green’s “Some Other
Time” from On the Town and a whirlwind 18 song medley that included
Frank Loesser’s “Luck Be a Lady,” George Gershwin (Gershowitz) and DuBose
Heyward’s “Summertime,” and Rodgers and Hart’s “Bewitched, Bothered and
Bewildered.” For Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s duet from Fiddler on the
Roof, “Do you love me?,” Fishman selected a partner from the audience.
Reading from cue cards, he did quite well, and both performer and guest
received a hearty round of applause.
Of course there was lots of Sondheim: “Now You Know” from Merrily We Roll Along,
“Sorry Grateful” from Company and “Moment in the Woods” from Into
the Woods. Despite Fishman’s powerful voice and persuasive personality,
after three such songs, Sondheim’s persistently neurotic questioning was
But happily all that Sondheim was followed by Tracy Stark’s relaxing piano
interlude of Broadway favorites from shows with Jewish composers: Oklahoma!,
A Chorus Line, Les Miserables, Rent and many etceteras.
Fishman devoted her considerable talents to a few of the more contemporary songwriters as well. The audience enjoyed her gorgeous renditions of Jason Robert Brown’s “Anywhere But Here” “ and Scott Whitman and Marc Shairman’s “They Just Keep Moving the Line,”
Perhaps the whole meaning of the show was best summed up by the last song, from Spamalot:
You may have dramatic lighting,
Or lots of horrid fighting,
You may even have some white men sing the blues!
Your knights might be nice boys,
But sadly we’re all goys,
And that noise that you call singing you must lose.
So, despite your pretty lights,
and naughty girls in nasty tights,
and the most impressive scenery you use…
You may have dancing mana-mano,
You may bring on a piano,
But they will not give a damn-o
If you don’t have any Jews!
Pangea is located at 178 2nd Ave., www.pangeanyc.com.
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