By: Paulanne Simmons
When your first name is Dudu and you’re addressing an English-speaking audience, explanations are in order. Therefore, at the very top of Jerusalem, the concert Dudu Fisher is bringing to the Museum of Jewish Heritage this March, he lets everyone know Dudu is a nickname for his given name, David. He also happily declares that he likes nothing better than singing.
With Tomer Adaddi at the piano and a videoscape behind him, Fisher intermingles his personal story with the story of the city of his birth, Jerusalem. Both stories are plentifully illustrated by song.
If the center of the concert is Jerusalem, Fisher informs his audience that they are the center of Jerusalem. He had everyone spell out the name to prove his point, illustrated on the video screen: J E R U S A L E M.
Many of Fisher’s songs celebrate Jerusalem and its importance to Jews. But other songs are more of a surprise. A young fan of Elvis Presley, Fisher paid tribute to his hero with “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Jailhouse Rock.”
After seeing Les Miserables in London, Fisher told his agent he wanted to play Jean Valjean. His agent was skeptical at first but managed to get him an audition. In the middle of chanting the High Holy Day prayers in the Catskills (Fisher is also an accomplished cantor), his agent called to to tell Fisher he’d clinched the role.
When Fisher sang “Bring Him Home,” accompanied by videos of American soldiers returning home to their families, there were few dry eyes in the audience. Another extremely moving episode was when Fisher explained how 16 members of his family were hidden in a bunker by a Ukrainian family during World War II. The emotional reunion in Israel of his father with his best friend, one of the children in the family, on his father’s 80th birthday proved how enduring friendship can be.
Several times during the concert, Fisher made it clear he never let his career interfere with religious observance, even if that meant putting in jeopardy his dream of playing Jean Valjean on Broadway. So it came as no surprise when he ended the concert with the classic, “My Way.”
Jerusalem is presented by the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, in association with National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, Sunday, March 27 at 3pm, Monday, March 28 at 7:30pm and Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30pm, (866) 811-4111 or visiting www.nytf.org.