And then there was the music. The musicians were excellent, and the sound was fantastic. I was particularly impressed with the young chassidishe violinist who read and played his parts with the confidence of an experienced musician. Music is always enhanced by visuals, whether it is the soft candlelight of a kumzits or the smoke and laser lights of a stage show. And, as Lipa knows very well, costumes are extremely important too.
A musical is where all of these elements come together, and when they come together well, they produce art of the highest order; much more than the sum of their parts. Was Lipa successful in accomplishing this? “Lipa On Broadway” delivered some of the most spectacular visually-enhanced music in the history of Jewish music. My personal favorites were the Rebbe and chassidim singing “Kol Haneshama” and the robot-like costumes and dance movements in “Can You Hang Up The Phone” – and I don’t even like that song!
Lipa may not be a real psychologist, but he did a really good job reflecting some important issues we as a community have to face. He may not be a credentialed rebbe, but in “Lipa On Broadway” he is teaching us by example how to channel creativity towards avodas Hashem without letting the harsh judgments of others get in the way.
About the Author: Rabbi Shmuel Skaist, a close talmid of R’ Shlomo Friefeld, zt”l, is a speaker and musician and has been teaching Torah and been involved in kiruv across the U.S. and Israel for 25 years. He is the rosh yeshiva of The Yeshiva at IDT and a senior lecturer at Ohr Naava.
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