By Stephanie Lewis
I made a deal with a Broadway producer that I tweak famous shows (making them more Jewish) if he modifies Fiddler on the Roof to make it more gentile. Seemed a fair trade, right? Here’s what I did:
Katz — Explores the nine lives of petty (or shall we say catty?) females (all married to men with Jewish last name ‘Katz’) discovering how they always manage to land on their feet. But by the end of the 2nd act, Curiosity killed the Katz and the cast!
Blessed Side Story — Jewish grandkids with terrible allergies listen to their relatives singing, “G-d Bless You!” in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Polish, and Russian whenever they sneeze. Gesundheit much?
The Music Man-ischewitz — Owner of the famed Kosher food company quits to become a musician. Forget 76 Trombones — 613 Piano keys anyone?
Miriam Poppins — Israeli nanny floats from the sky holding oversized Shabbos candlesticks, coaxing two tots into downing their medicine with a spoonful of shakshuka.
The Sound of Mitzvahs — Zero nuns so there’s nobody to solve the problem of Maria. But the hills are alive with the sound of mitzvahs.
The Pushke of the Opera — This phantom Tzedakah box wears a white mask, but the scarier thing is … you don’t get tax deductions.
Brei Brei Birdie — Jewish ornithologist discovers a rare species that (during Passover!) hatches eggs in nests already scrambled with Matzo.
Ima (Mama) Mia — Jewish moms sing songs written by devoted husbands who formed a popular 70’s band called “Abba” — because that’s what their children call them in Hebrew, of course!
Les Mashuganables — Nutty people dress in rags thinking the sadder the show and the more people who suffer and die, the more awards they’ll win. Correct!
Beauty and the Brisket — Be our guest at this delectable dinner with gorgeous side dishes. With lyrics like, “Try the kosher stuff, it’s delicious. Don’t believe me? Ask the fleishig dishes!” — it’s sure to be a real mashgiach crowd-pleaser.
Little Shop of Haggadahs — store selling easy to follow pamphlets making it simple to lead a Passover Seder with everyone literally on the same page.
Hello Bialy! — The “hole” premise of this show can be summed up as “what’s the difference between a bagel and a bialy?” And if you know the answer then sing along – “Well Hello Bialy, you’re looking swell, Bialy! It’s so nice to have you back where you belong!” Note: Originally “Hello Deli!” but my fave restaurant refused to serve me corned beef on rye if I stole their name for my musical.
Shalomalot — Spoof on Spamalot which was a spoof on Camelot which means nobody in the show knows whether they’re coming or going since Shalom means both hello and goodbye.
Annie Get Your Gelt — A poor Jewish cowgirl celebrates Chanukah wanting a new horse, but only receives gelt. And 8 pairs of new socks.
Man of La Mensch-a — Still working on a good plot, err plotz!
You’re a Big Macher, Charlie Brownberg — “Good Grief” replaces “Good Shabbos!”
The Rocky Haftorah Picture Show — It’s a rocky start but can the Bar Mitzvah boy make it through his Haftorah before pelted with candy?
The Wizard of Oy! — If I only had a brain, I could think up something far better than, “I don’t think we’re in Tel Aviv anymore, Toto.”
Here’s what the Broadway Producer did:
Fiddler on the Spoof — Tevye is dressed in a red Santa suit high atop a roof (and not because Fiddler is giving him a violin lesson up there!) about to slide down the chimney laden with gifts.
Uh, I don’t think so …. the deal’s off … But that’s show biz, folks!