Soul Doctor Returns April 3: "You don’t have to be Jewish to love Shlomo — but it helps"
March 6, 2018
The biographical musical Soul Doctor tells the incredible story of real-life “singing rabbi” Shlomo Carlebach and his unlikely friendship with Nina Simone, the high priestess of soul. A smash hit off Broadway, this spirited San Diego production begins Tuesday, April 3 and will run for three weeks only at the Lyceum Theatre in downtown San Diego.
Soul Doctor takes the audience on an exhilarating musical journey and explores the dramatic life of a cultural icon set in the transformative era of the Love generation. It tells the fascinating story of the father of popular Jewish music, 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.
Carlebach is credited with popularizing Jewish music to appeal to young people. Starting in the turbulent 1960s, he infused traditional songs and those he wrote himself with folk, jazz and gospel elements. The book by Daniel Wise skims the surface of Carlebach’s life story, focusing on his “peace and love” philosophy, intriguing musical journey, and lifelong conflict with his father and other disapproving Orthodox community elders.
The storyline also includes Carlebach’s close relationship to Nina Simone and her influence on his ultimate transformation. The show explores the relationship between Shlomo and a Simone, the legendary jazz singer and civil rights activist who introduced Shlomo to gospel music. Together their music became an important voice of social change.
Soul Doctor not only dramatizes his life as a Rabbi who traveled the world healing souls through his message of love and compassion, but it also provides timely insight into his unusual forays in interracial understanding. Carlebach’s expansive perspective of Judaism and his open acceptance of less religious, secular Jews and the disaffected youth of the ‘60s was a monumental shift in the Jewish outreach movement and he left a legacy of soulful, loving music and a renewed Jewish community.
The full cast has been announced and includes Tony Award-nominated Josh Young as Shlomo and Israeli singer and recording artist Ester Rada as legendary Jazz singer Nina Simone. It also features the triumphant return to San Diego of the young local actor Dylan Hoffinger.
Most recently, Josh Young originated the role of “John Newton” in the Broadway World Premiere of Amazing Grace. He received a Tony® Award nomination and Theatre World Award for his critically acclaimed Broadway debut as “Judas” in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar. He appeared in two seasons at Canada’s prestigious Stratford Shakespeare Festival and performed the role here at La Jolla Playhouse. Josh has performed in North America’s finest regional theaters, with Symphonies around the world and has been involved in concerts and new works with NYC’s Lincoln Center, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Transport Group and The New York Musical Theater Festival. Josh is the co-founder of Cutting-Edge Composers, a concert and weekly web series on broadwayworld.com,created to give exposure to musical theatre’s next generation of songwriters.
Ester Roda will feel right at home when the tour lands in her homeland of Israel later this year. A bombshell of charisma, talent and genuine musical eagerness, Rada is not just one of Israel’s biggest success stories in recent years, but a worldwide sensation. Her concert and recordings feature a showcase of talent spanning from Ethiopian-jazz to American funk, from smooth R&B to a pulsating Afrobeat with a hint of Middle Eastern flavor that provide a foundation for her thrilling, soulful voice. Among her wide ranging influences are Miss Simone herself, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, Sharon Jones, James Brown, Mos Def, Common, The Roots, Beastie Boys, Amy Winehouse, Marc Ronson and The Dap Kings.
Cast as Young Shlomo is Dylan Hoffinger, who San Diego audiences may remember from many local roles. In 2012, he was awarded a coveted Craig Noel Award from the San Diego Critics Circle for Outstanding Young Artist/Sandra Ellis Troy Scholarship for a body work that included roles in Parade, Cygnet Theatre; Harmony, Kansas, Diversionary Theatre; and regional premieres of Hairspray and The Who’s TOMMY.
Lyceum Stage 79 Horton Plaza, San Diego 92101 April 3-22, Tuesday-Sunday. Prices range from $25-$95. Student, Military and Senior Discounts available. Group sales available by contacting the box office. If you experience any difficulty purchasing your seats, please contact the Lyceum Theatre Box Office at 619-544-1000. Special concierge night Thursday, April 5.
Tickets and info at www.sdrep.org/showinfo.php?showid=351
For more information, please visit www.souldoctorbroadway.com