Photo Coverage: Ari Axelrod Brings All The Feels To The Beach Cafe with A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BROADWAY
There were tears, laughs, sighs and cries, and a couple of standing ovations last night as Ari Axelrod debuted his much-praised A CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BROADWAY for a captivated full house at the intimate Beach Cafe. This show unlike any other melds great American music with one actor's charm and talent, all the while focusing the deeper subject of Judaism. In discussing the contributions to the American Musical Theater of Irving Berlin, Jerry Herman, Cole Porter, Bock & Harnick, Stephen Schwartz, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jason Robert Brown, and The Gershwins, Axelrod illustrates the heavy underlying presence of the Jewish culture, including the inherent struggles that come with the faith. Anti-semitism in a cabaret room - who'd've thunk it? Axelrod, though, is the new wave of cabaret creator and he is here to celebrate, investigate, and illuminate.
The show (reviewed by this journalist last year) has only grown with each of Axelrod's performances, as has (if even possible) Mr. Axelrod's level of comfort with his audience. Last night's performance was one of those rare moments in a cabaret room when the audience truly did feel that they were hanging out in a friend's living room and it is only due to Axelrod's completely stalwart knowledge of who he is and what he wants to do: to provide quality entertainment designed to make people feel AND think.
This brief recap of his show would be incomplete without mentioning the contributions of his director, the incomparable Lina Koutrakos, and his musical director, the mind-blowing Mike Stapleton. They, with Ari Axelrod, make up a dream team that the cabaret world will be hearing from again, and a lot.
Dave Goodside, owner of The Beach Cafe
Photos by Stephen Mosher