Two voices on the horizon for Beth Or’s Weekend With The Stars
Weekend With The Stars
The Dayton Jewish Observer
Last musical by ‘Fiddler’ team inspires one-man show
How does one man perform an entire Broadway musical, taking on the parts of all 20 of its characters?
Area theatre fans will get the chance to find out when Bernie Dean presents Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock’s 1971 Tony Award-winning musical The Rothschilds as part of Temple Beth Or’s Weekend With The Stars.
The last show by Bock and Harnick — composer and lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof — The Rothschilds looks at the lives of the founders of the international banking family.
Mayer and Gutele Rothschild and their five sons rose from the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt, Germany in the early 19th century and helped ease the difficult conditions of Jews across Europe. Later, the Rothschilds’ descendents would become key supporters of early Zionist settlement efforts in Palestine.
“When I first saw it on Broadway, I was blown away,” said Dean, a veteran of summer stock, who has performed the piece in venues around the country.
He realized that the show wouldn’t have the same success as Fiddler on the Roof.
“It’s about the ghetto system,” he said. “Fiddler tried to give a universal message. Rothschilds dealt with history and how they rose from poverty. It’s kind of hard stuff to take if you’re not Jewish.”
Three years ago, Dean began gradually putting his one-person Rothschilds together. “I did it first for my congregation. I did the voices and characters and did the complete musical score and dialogue until it clicked. Everybody just loved the show.”
He’s even performed the show for Rothschilds lyricist Sheldon Harnick at Harnick’s temple in the Hamptons.
Dean said that afterward, Harnick told the audience, “To my amazement, I did not know how one person could do something I intended for a full cast.”
A native of New York, Dean began his show business career at the age of 6, heard every week as a soloist on the New York Jewish Hour Radio Show.
In addition to a one-man version of the musical 1776, he regularly performs concerts of Jewish music and opera.
Grammy winner blends traditional melodies and modern rhythms
Temple Beth Or’s Weekend With The Stars will begin and end with singer, musician and Grammy Award-winning composer Doug Cotler.
Currently the cantorial soloist at Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, Calif., Cotler has recorded and released nine albums of original Jewish music, including Funny Jewish Songs and Listen.
With his father, a cantor, providing his training from the age of 9, Cotler’s professional career began at 14, singing in southern California synagogues and JCCs. When Cotler’s father passed away, he assumed his father’s position as cantor at a large Reform congregation near San Francisco.
A veteran performer at CAJE and the Union of Reform Judaism national and regional conventions, he presents more than 100 concerts a year.
Cotler won a Grammy in 1984 for Manhunt, a song featured on the hit album and film Flashdance.
His symphony, The Golem, has been performed by the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra.
At Temple Beth Or, Cotler will sing during Shabbat services on Friday, Nov. 3 and will perform in concert on Sunday, Nov. 5.
A Weekend With The Stars at Temple Beth Or, 5275 Marshall Rd., Washington Twp. Call 435-3400 for tickets.
• Doug Cotler: Fri., Nov. 3, 8 p.m. Shabbat service; Sun., Nov. 5, 1 p.m. concert with lunch available for purchase beginning at 12:15 p.m. Adults $10, children $5, family $25, preferred seating $18.
• Bernie Dean in The Rothschilds: Sat., Nov. 4, 8 p.m. with dessert reception to follow. Tickets $36, patron seating $50.
$100 weekend sponsorships include lunch and preferred seats for both events.
© 2006 The Dayton Jewish Observer