Jewish Broadway: From Shtetl to Sondheim

Stephen Whitfield
Stephen Whitfield
Brandeis University

Stephen Whitfield is an American Studies professor emeritus at Brandeis University. His teaching awards include the Brandeis Student Union Teaching Award and the Louis Dembitz Brandeis Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Professor Whitfield has taught as a Fulbright visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and as a visiting professor at the Sorbonne and the University of Munich.

Overview

Jewish Broadway

The Jewish dominance of American popular music lasted about half a century, from roughly the First World War until roughly the Vietnam War. During that period, Jewish immigrants and their progeny played a decisive role in the shaping of musical taste and in helping to enable a disparate population to cohere around a harmonious culture.

From Tin Pan Alley, these songwriters established the Broadway musical and then extended it to the Hollywood musical, installing standards that managed to be immensely popular as well as sublime. The distinctive contribution of Jews to the nation’s culture heritage merits serious analysis as well as retrospective appreciation.

Learn more about Broadway by checking out other great videos at OneDayU, including ‘The Flu Epidemic Of 1918, ‘From Page To Stage& ‘Hamilton: Fact or Fiction’ all on-demand now.

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