Shlemiel the First received rave reviews when it premiered in 1994. Stephen Holden, New York Times, celebrated Shlemiel as "A comic ode to the rejuvenating power of the erotic imagination...propulsively tuneful music and dazzling lyrics.
A cast of eight, an unusual and innovative creative team and an eight musician live band bring the erotic, comic, surreal quality of Singer's story to life. Shlemiel takes place in Chelm, a village of fools. Half sad-sack clown, half accidental messiah, Shlemiel's charm is in his childlike innocence, and the charm of this musical is in its playfulness and unapologetic, unalloyed delight. It turns an already absurd world hilariously and redemptively, topsy-turvy.