RMJHS Annual Livingston Lecture
(Monday) 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
300 S Dahlia St Ste 300
Jews on Broadway: From Shtetl to Sondheim Over the course of at least half a
Jews on Broadway: From Shtetl to Sondheim
Over the course of at least half a century, from roughly the First World War until the Vietnam War, a rich and distinctive music lent coherence to the culture of a disparate and diverse nation. This music began on Tin Pan Alley in New York City before ascending to Broadway theaters and then to the sound stages of Hollywood. The songwriters who created this music and who sustained its tradition were overwhelmingly Jewish—or, if they weren’t, they were inspired by the sublime legacy of those figures who emerged from this tiny minority. How did Jewish composers and lyricists shape the music that kept the nation’s culture together? How did their talent make Broadway so influential?
Stephen Whitfield has held the Max Richter Chair in American Civilization at Brandeis University, where he taught from 1972 until 2016 and won two teaching awards. He has served as a visiting Fulbright professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, and has taught American Studies at the Sorbonne as well as Jewish Studies at the University of Munich. Whitfield is the author of nine books, including most recently Learning on the Left: Political Profiles of Brandeis University (2020).
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