BWW Reviews: New British Musical CONFESSIONS OF A RABBI'S DAUGHTER Makes LA Debut
Emily Rose has been traveling around the United States presenting her fictionalized one-woman musical CONFESSIONS OF A RABBI'S DAUGHTER. The show enjoyed a performance at the York New Musical Festival, a successful run in the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, and an Off-Broadway run before making its current LA debut at the Complex in Hollywood this weekend.
According to Ms. Rose, the story is not autobiographical and is based on several of her close friends' lives. As told through original songs, with music and lyrics written by Ms. Rose, the daughter of a rabbi, Rachel, falls in love with her best friend, Sarah, while being engaged to the perfect match - another Rabbi's son. The central character is then torn between the demands of her Orthodox Jewish upbringing and her heart when on the eve of her wedding she realizes she must choose between what she has been raised to do and what she really wants to do.
Rachel struggles with what her religion has taught her and a distant father who does not show her the love and attention she needs. While she knows a woman who fears the Lord will be praised, Rachel has a mind of her own and admits she could start wearing trousers but has better things to do. Rachel shares that everyone she meets asks her what kind of man her father really is but she has no idea what to tell them. She quotes his sermons in her sleep but rarely has conversations with him while awake. She hopes that marrying a rabbi will help her get to know her own father, and that if she gets to know him perhaps he will get to know her. And all she really wants to be is a woman of valor like her own mother.
But of course, that marriage never takes place as Rachel follows her heart and pursues a loving relationship with Sarah. Both women are forced into taking teaching positions at non-Jewish schools and Rachel, much like Chava in Fiddler on the Roof who elopes with a Russian solider, is banished from her family.
Ms. Rose is most endearing when singing her original songs, all of which will tug at your heartstrings. Accompanied by a recorded piano soundtrack, the emotional depth presented will draw you into the internal struggles Rachel must face as well as the joy she experiences during Kiddush, the special ceremony performed at the beginning of the Sabbath (and on other holidays) normally recited by the father of the household while holding a cup of wine.
At the end of the show, Rachel sings about having any regrets for the decisions she has made. When she answers with "maybe sometimes but almost never," you will certainly feel the pain as well as the joy in her heart. After all, as she states, "Daddy was not perfect and neither was my world." But when she recites Kiddush on her own for the first time, all seems right with the world.
Ms. Rose will soon be attending NYU and I hope she will continue to develop this play as a full musical production with a more in-depth story including the other characters she merely describes in her current hour-long show. There are rich scenes to be written and songs to be sung between Rachel and her parents, Sarah, and her rabbinical almost-groom.
CONFESSIONS OF A RABBI'S DAUGHTER performances are at the Complex, located at 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood, CA 90038 on:
Thursday March 27 at 8.30pm
Saturday March 29 at 8.30pm
Sunday March 30 at 2pm
Sunday March 30 at 8.30pm
And you can buy tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/613659
You can listen to songs from the musical here: https://soundcloud.com/confesssions
And find out more from the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ConfessionsOfARabbisDaughter?fref=ts
And on Emily's website: www.songsofemilyrose.co.uk