Broadway Movie-Musical SOUL DOCTOR to be Shown in Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The Kwanzaa Film Festival presents a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day program, themed "A Kwanzaa Response to a Hanukkah Tragedy" with a program that focuses on African American-Jewish Relations. The feature presentation is this year's "Best Film" winner Soul Doctor - the Broadway movie-musical about the life of the 'rock star' rabbi Shlomo Carlbach and his history shaping relationship with music icon Nina Simone. The film will be shown on Monday, January 20th at 4pm at AMC Magic Johnson Harlem (2309 Frederick Douglas Blvd.) as part of their Gala Awards evening.
Soul Doctor tells the story of the beloved yet controversial father of popular Jewish music, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. A modern-day troubadour, Shlomo ignited the spirit of millions around the world with his soul-stirring melodies, transformative storytelling and boundless love. After his childhood escape from Nazi Germany, the young Rabbi formed an unlikely friendship with legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, who introduced him to soul and gospel music, and a Jewish music and cultural revival was born. Fusing his roots with his new inspiration, Shlomo created a revolutionary musical sound, writing songs that continue to be the main body of Jewish musical standards. The "Jewish Gospel/Soul" experience he introduced to the synagogue worship became the most popular synagogue services across all denominations of Jewish practice.
Soul Doctor show was originally workshopped at National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and subsequent New York productions included an off Broadway debut at The Museum of Jewish Heritage; showcase productions at Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Roundabout Theatre Company (which featured India Arie as Nina Simone), two sold out seasons at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, in New Orleans in 2009 and 2010, and subsequent runs at The Colony Theater in Miami in 2011, The Parker Playhouse in Ft Lauderdale in 2012, The New York Theatre Workshop in 2012, and Broadway in 2013 at Circle in the Square Theatre.
The show then played Montreal in Yiddish in 2014 and an off Broadway run in 2015. Soul Doctor was also the feature presentation at the "Israel at 70" Festival in Jerusalem, where the production was filmed.
With music by Shlomo Carlebach, lyrics by David Schechter, book and direction by Daniel Wise, and choreographed by Abdur Rahim Jackson (Alvin Ailey, Beyonce "Halo" music video and Superbowl Show), the film stars Tony Award® nominee Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita) as Shlomo and Nya (star of the recent Cleopatra, and the upcoming Broadway revival of Caroline or Change) as Nina Simone along with Charlotte Moore (Les Miz, ALW's Wizard of Oz), C.J. Tyson (Broadway's Wicked), Richard Cerato (Soul Doctor BDWY), Rebecca Kritzer (In The Hights), Yovel Moss, Emily Padgett (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Rock of Ages), Allison Poccia (Parks & Recreation), Toni Elizabeth White (Amazing Grace) Luke Wygodny (Once), Jordan Zell and Marc Zell.
Soul Doctor's creative consultant and additional material is by Neshama Carlebach.
Of the stage musical, The New York Times raved, "Inspiring and absorbing! A joyous Leaping Roar!," and The Wall Street Journal cheered, "exhilarating! riveting! Hilarious!" Time Out New York said, "a spectacular cross between Fiddler on the Roof and HAIR," and The Examiner exclaimed, "A certifiable hit...Genius! Five stars." The London Financial Times lauded, "While libraries have been written about the similarities of historical struggle between jews and African-Americans. I have never seen them put across more eloquently than in Soul Doctor."
The event will culminate with a performance of "I Had A Dream", performed by Stephon Ferguson, the only artist licensed by the King estate to perform the historic speeches. Mr Ferguson's riveting portrayal has brought Dr. King to life in theatres, public rallies and royal palaces throughout the world, including three presidential performances at the White House.
The Kwanza Film Festival was birthed out of a need to give voice to filmmakers creating works that embrace the cultural values of African Diaspora people of color." Said Ina Norris, the festival's founder. "After last month's surge of bloody attacks on a Jewish grocery and a Hannuka gathering, we felt compelled to organize a cultural event that celebrates Dr. King's powerful voice in the fight against anti-Semitism and his unique alliance with the Jewish community. This year's Best Film award winner "Soul Doctor" highlights the message fo racial unity."
"The Kwanzaa Film Festival's mission to promote unity, harmony and peace through the arts." The festival's managing director, Billy Robinson explained. "This year's award- winning Best Feature, "Soul Doctor" elaborates the impactful influence of Gospel & Soul on the post-Holocaust Jewish cultural revival and its popular music."
"Soul Doctor's writer/director Danny Wise said, "The award winning post production team was able to create a genuinely cinematic experience while maintaining the energy of the live performance; it's exhilarating to see the movie audiences singing and clapping to the music - dancing in the aisles at the end!"
Soul Doctor was originally produced on Broadway by: Jeremy Chess, Jerome Levy, Edward L. Steinberg, Robert Beckwitt, David Haft, Ken Abramowitz, Brian Murray and Joel Kahn. In Partnership with Michael Steinhardt.
For tickets to see Soul Doctor, please visit: www.SoulDoctorMovie.com
Soul Doctor will screen at AMC Magic Johnson Harlem (2309 Frederick Douglas Blvd.)
Admission is free, with a suggested $25 donation to Kwanzaa Film Festival