BWW Feature: MAC Award Nominee Ari Axelrod Brings A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BROADWAY Online In Live Performance
One of the most significant shows to emerge from the most recent cabaret season comes to the internet this weekend as Ari Axelrod prepares for a live online performance of A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BROADWAY. Many members of the club and concert communities are providing online entertainment - some have chosen the living room concert format, one where they perform a series of songs in real time, with accompaniment provided either through tracks or by live musicians in whatever way best suits them, be it in person or via technology. Other performers are presenting videotaped productions of their shows, sometimes in Watch Party format so that they can socialize with their audience during the screening. It's a new world for live entertainers and each artist is finding that which, best, works for them.
Mr. Axelrod has chosen to present that which most authentic to his artistic mission statement: a live performance of a pre-existing show that would normally be presented in a live theater setting, but which now has no other place to be seen but online.
His favorite things in life, Ari Axelrod insists, are Broadway and being Jewish. People who know him accept this as fact while knowing that his dog, Leo, is actually the love of his life and that being a Jewish Broadway buff, while important, is a close second to the puppy named after Mr. Bernstein (the one that wrote West Side Story, not the character from Victor/Victoria). In his quest to celebrate his two (non-canine) passions, Axelrod created the show that has garnered so much praise and so much buzz that he had bookings to perform the one-man musical exploration in clubs around the country. Now that airplane travel and venue performing has been rendered impossible, Axelrod is taking his act to the airwaves before taking himself on the road. One day before piling into his car with Leo and his flat-mate Mike Stapleton for a cross-country roadtrip, Ari will present the entirety of A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BROADWAY via Zoom. While isolating in Ann Arbor with family, the two besties decided to present the show that has been hailed as one of the best of the season. Stapleton, an accomplished pianist and Axlerod's musical director for his BRIDGING THE GAP classes, is also his full-time musical director when he performs. The road trip is their reward for three months of proper shelter in place etiquette and a chance to get some summertime activities in while continuing to isolate in the privacy of Axelrod's automobile.
Choosing Zoom over a live stream event is Axelrod's way of presenting his act without losing the connection to the audience. Acknowledging that every artist has their own style and goals, Axelrod finds that connection to be the lynchpin in maintaining the intimacy of cabaret. Known for reaching out to his public during shows, for speaking directly to the front row, for even leaving the stage to wander the room and sing directly to members of the crowd, Mr. Axelrod intends to use his Zoom room performance to have a dialogue with his guests about Sondheim, Gershwin and, yes, Leonard Bernstein (his idol) and other Jewish composers whose faith has informed their artistry. The substantive nature of Axelrod's work combined with his irrepressible good humor and wit are what have set him apart as a new force with which to reckon in cabaret, earning him close friends in the industry like Faith Prince, Christine Ebersole and Alix Korey (who he plans on visiting out of state during his road trip -- while wearing his mask, of course). After playing to standing room only crowds in venues in New York and other states, Axelrod says he is looking forward to having A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BROADWAY reach audiences around the world, thanks to this new format of presenting cabaret to the public, until it can be done in person once more.
A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BROADWAY will be presented this Sunday, June 28th at 7 pm EST. To register for entry into the Zoom room, simply fill out THIS form. Tickets are $10 and 10% of all ticket sales will be donated to the Anti-Defamation League.
Click HERE to read Broadway World Cabaret's review of A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BROADWAY
From This Author Stephen Mosher
Stephen Mosher is the author of The Sweater Book (a collection of his photography featuring celebrated artists from the entertainment communities of New York, Los
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