Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy
Watch the Full Film

Watch the full film Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy.

Why has the Broadway musical proven to be such fertile territory for Jewish artists of all kinds? From Broadway’s golden age, names like immediately come to mind. More recently, Broadway babies such as Stephen Schwartz, Marc Shaiman and Andrew Lippa represent a sampling of the Jewish talents who continue to leave their mark on musical theater. Filmmaker Michael Kantor focuses on this central question, combining interviews with performance footage, including many of the rousing anthems and timeless ballads America has loved for a century.

Major funding for this program was provided by the Patty and Jay Baker Foundation, Judith B. Resnick, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, The Barbara and Buddy Freitag Family Fund, The Laurents / Hatcher Foundation, The National Museum of American Jewish History, The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Philanthropic Fund, The Shubert Organization, The Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation, and The Raymond Tye and Family Charitable Trust.

Major funding for Great Performances is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Vivian Milstein, The Agnes Varis Trust, the Starr Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and PBS viewers.

Corporate support is provided by Stuart Weitzman and Family.

  • Judy Cohn

    Please let me know when will this be shown in Dallas, TX.
    Thank you!

  • Elizabeth Weingarten

    Can I buy the DVD? I could not find it in the PBS Shop Listings.

  • Ira Goldberg

    Please let me know the mailing address to order the DVD of
    this prgram. It is NOT on the “shop.pbs” site.


  • barbara lowenbaum

    how do i purchase the CD?


    Presenting history accurately is important and the responsibility of any good production . Broadway,as we know it today,was influenced and borrowed much from so many artists and cultures. Murray and Kearn opened the first theater in NY, followed by PT Barnum’s first ever 3000 seated musical theater. Gilbert and Sullivan, London’s century old musical theater, Harlem’s great musicians and culture, and many other countries and cultures all were models and influential in creating Broadway!

  • Scott Terle

    What a great show!!

  • D Schwartz

    Please let me know how to order a DVD copy of this show.

  • Mary

    CE LOOKER: The fact that this particular program concentrated on the Jewish contribution to the Broadway Musical does not mean that this was done at the expense or exclusion of any other contributions to Broadway!?

  • RMiller

    Will the show be repeated and if not, where is it available to purchase?

  • John K. Ireland

    I watched this show last night. It was simply wonderful.

  • Charmaine Schonblom

    I would love to buy this for my friend in Boston. I think there was a 1-800 number after the show I watched but I missed it. Can you tell me how to purchase this?
    Thank you

  • Minna

    Terrific show! The music and the stories were wonderful. Thank you for airing on KQED.

  • Melvin R. Loeb

    If you find out how to buy this would you please let me know?

  • Naomi Lieberman

    What a fantastic show. Thanks so much for airing it!!

  • Cara

    This appears to cut off right in the middle. It was at 50 minutes, but it was in the middle of an interview clip. Did anyone else experience this?

  • Trevor

    It played through for me, Cara. Wonderful show. Thanks for making it available online, PBS.

  • Michael

    I got through 12 minutes. Quite an achievement to have made Broadway musicals and their Jewish creators boring. Thanks, filmmakers, that took some doing. Please, more talking heads sitting by pianos saying commonplaces. Zzzzzzzzzz.

  • Jeanne Bashein

    Please let me know when this will air again… There is a senior center here who are all asking- for those who have missed the program… Thank you

  • janetlaw

    Only caught a few minutes here and there – great stuff especially the very old clip of Fanny Brice – priceless! So glad part of my taxes goes to support this.

  • Karen Zisser

    They offered it after the show aired. Sadly I did not get the phone number down fast enough. I will call directly.

  • jgb

    Anyone who loves “everything jewish” will lovvvvvve it – as for many of the rest of us, it really is tedious. Kids don’t get to spend that kind of money, living out their fantasies and moulding their world for self-gratification, ego – and money.
    What about the other productions and their legacy?? or is all about one genre, select group?

  • jgb

    It does not matter who paid for the production, or does it? It got financed, and it seems to me that, when you have the money, you can get things paid for, one way or another.
    Law of supply and demand.

  • Zoraida

    I would also like to purchase the DVD,

  • Elias R Halac

    I would like to buy the video of the show.Can not find the way to do it, would you help me?
    Thank you

  • Carol Olmert

    Great program and very educational! Not to be missed!

  • Wilma Greenfield

    Where can I buy the DVD? I loved it – outstanding!!

  • Bob Gernon

    What a wonderful presentation. Congratulations.
    The Jewish people and culture are central to western civilization and this program illustrates the unique role Jews have played in packaging and presenting our shared values and experiences. It goes very deep and yet is so much fun.

  • Janice

    How dare you?

  • Susan Sacks

    Please rerun this show in AZ – we missed this and we love to see it. Thanks!

  • Susan Sacks

    i would also like information on purchasing the DVD.

  • Gerry Mandel

    I recorded this show on my DVR, watched it, saved it, will watch it again. What a fascinating history of an important part of our culture, beautifully conceived and produced with some amazing footage I’ve never seen before. There should be a special Tony award to the people responsible for this magnificent program. Now excuse me, but I have to go listen to some Broadway music.

  • gerry benson

    where can i buy the DVD please?

  • Cindy Rubin

    This was a great show! I caught this in the middle but did a search to record it when it came on again here in Northern CA. The show is almost 1 1/2 hours, so I am not sure what is missing from this 50 minute free version.

    Anyway, I went to the end of the show because I saw an address to order the DVD and I wanted to share it with the readers here.

    For Mail Order:
    Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy
    P.O. Box 2284
    South Burlington, VT 05407

    By Phone:

    DVD is $39.99 plus shipping


  • lisa

    i got cut off also and want to know where the rest of it is. at one point it says it is a 90 minute show but says 50 minutes at the bottom.

  • Jim Marks

    Re: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy:
    Not aavailable in Blue ray, or on the website today (Jan 4 2013), I ordered the DVD for $29.99, for shipment on January 29, 2013; via the WNET store (”Shop 13″), Call 888-625-5360.

  • Stanley

    The premise of this program was to explore the statistical over-representation of Jewish composers and lyricists in the history and evolution of the Broadway musical, and that is what it accomplished rather well. Its purpose was not to examine the totality of influences that have shaped Broadway musicals, and although this would be a worthy enterprise, it is unfair to criticize the program for not being what it never claimed nor was intended to be. But for folks interested in learning about the influence of Jewish composers and lyricists, it was a gem.

  • Stanley

    It’s hard to imagine a program whose premise was to explore the reasons for the statistical over-representation of Jewish composers and lyricists in the history and evolution of the Broadway musical without hearing the analysis and experiences of those who were directly involved with the craft — the so-called talking heads whose insights I found to be both informative and enlightening as well as entertaining. The program was not intended to be a review of historical and contemporary performances (although such were included) but rather to show how and why there has been and continues to be such a prevalence of Jewish influence and contributions to Broadway musicals. It was not at all boring to viewers such as myself who were interested in discovering and learning about this subject.

  • Kendall Munson

    Thanks so much for the order info, Cindy! Its a show I definitely want to add to my DVD library!

  • Nancy in NC

    Order DVD for $39.99 plus shipping at 800-336-1917

  • LeeZee

    I hope you’re not a dancer, JGB, because you’d be tripping over your prejudice and bias. Methinks thou doth protest too much and I detect a wee bit of jealousy, envy and sour grapes. This program had a particular focus and it succeeded wonderfully well in presenting it. Far from boring, tedious or pedantic, it was immensely entertaining, titillating and enjoyable. How come you watched it all if it was so distasteful for you? Instead of being a cry-baby, why don’t you get some funding and create the program you want to see. Easier to kvetch than to produce, eh what? Try Kickstart. I might even contribute a buck towards your enterprise.

  • A Person

    The video was very interesting! I learned a lot of new things and about how jews played an important role in broadway history. I never new that the song “God Bless America” was written by a jewish man!

  • Paul Noble

    I turned on the TV part way through, then watched it on my iPad in its entirety – both in glorious HD, but why, oh why in January 2013 is it only available for purchase, like so many PBS HD productions, only in standard definition DVD? And at $39.95 plus shipping?!

    PS: I’m personally very pleased to pay a monthly subscription to get all PBS content on demand but no doubt your member stations are fighting that idea tooth and nail.

    PPS: what a wonderful, wonderful production!

  • Wallace Sterling

    A brilliant and moving production….revealing so much in the way of Broadway history. I had a chance to see the original WEST SIDE STORY at the old Winter Garden Theatre with Carol Lawrence and Larry Kirt (I later staged WSS in Akron with the story conflict between whites and African Americans (the student body was essentially African American). I am proud to say I also staged OKLAHOMA! and SOUTH PACIFIC (also at area high schools). I even worked several summers at CAMP PARADOX in upstage New York (Adirondacks) which had a Richard Rodgers Hall (theatre); he had been a camper and counselor there. CAMP PARADOX was mentioned several times in the program (unfortunately this summer camp for Jewish boys no longer exists). All these matters really brought this great script close to home. Thanks GREAT PERORMANCES.

  • Dania

    I wasn’t able to watch it, because I am back to Israel, and your channel is to available here. Why isn’t it available online anymore as published at the specific button (“Watch the Full Film”)? I would very much appreciate it if you would make it available online once again. Thanks.

  • david ernst

    Dear Dania,

    Our programs available online are restricted to the United States and its territories. We’re glad you enjoyed the program.

  • Rebecca Zahavi

    Why wasn’t Marvin Hamlisch even mentioned? Strange oversight in an otherwise detailed and interesting production.

    p.s. Sort of puzzling that a few people commented that “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy” focused on Jews. Who did they think it was going to be about?

  • Eric Edwards

    I was thoroughly enjoying this program when it suddenly stopped 50 minutes into the show. Yet the title above the video says “Watch the full film Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy”. I watched the entire two hours of “Downton Abbey” Season III: episode I on the website. So, why was “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy” truncated?

  • John Morrow

    If you have a streaming device, this documentary looks great on a large TV. Also saves you waiting for it to be shown in your area, or waiting to buy the DVD.

    I’m streaming it from this website on my iPad to an Apple TV box, which is hooked up to a 60″ flat panel TV. It’s not in Dolby Surround, but it’s in stereo and sound great thru a sound system!

    I’ve sent this to all my theatre pals, and even tweeted to a few *stars* I follow on Twitter. It’s wonderful.

  • david ernst

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for your comment. We’re looking into the error! It should be the complete program. We’ll let everyone know when it’s up and running.

  • Eric Edwards

    John, As a gift, I was given a 37″ flat screen TV for Christmas, As a gift to myself, I purchased a transmitter/receiver that allows me to watch any video that is streaming on my computer on to my television set. No longer do I have to sit in a desk chair watching TV programs that I missed when on-air, but rather in my recliner on a TV set that has a much larger screen than the computer. I love it! I only wish that the Met Operas were available on the PBS site, where they would be free, instead of the Met’s own website where I have to pay for a subscription.

  • david ernst

    We’re told the video’s back up and running! Thanks for your patience.

  • David

    For Broadway junkies, any show about the history of Broadway is worthwhile. The over representation of Jews in musical theatre is truly remarkable. Who said “boring?” One would hope that those in the business will follow up with many more “filmed” Broadway shows like Phantom – 25th Anniversary at Royal Albert Hall, Memphis, and Rent. You are so close to the action that you will need a tower to wipe away the spittle. Sadly, I missed Porgy and Bess and would love to see Golden Bay with Sammy Davis, Jr., that I saw in 1964.

  • Ethan

    It’s quite irritating that this cannot be ordered online, only by phone or mail. Are we living in the 1950s??

  • Sylvia

    Purchase info given at the end of the show: Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy, PO Box 2284, South Burlington, VT 05407 $39.99

  • Jen in Oz

    Where can I get a copy of this programme? I’m in Australia so we don’t generally have access to PBS shows :-(

  • Bernie Schultz

    Incredible! Thank you! And to think I saw some of these great musicals when they first hit Broadway!
    My next birthday celebration – Dinner at home with the medelach and “Broadway Musicals:’
    A Jewish Legacy.” Oy, mama – “If you could see (it) now.”

  • Adam

    This show was a fine tribute to the Broadway Musical I cannot understand why the DVD it is not available to buy on-line.

  • Sherrie

    Will the show be rebroadcast in the SoCal area? I recommended it highly to friends and would like to let them know when it will be on again.

  • Hana Roth Seavey

    The musical comedy UNDER HER HAT! is being developed in the strong Jewish tradition of Broadway theatre. The story follows a Jewish-American woman and a Chinese-American man, hat-makers in a global economy that faces downturn. An ABBIE’S IRISH ROSE love story, UHH thematically has something to say about business in America and its cross-generational, cross-gender, cross-ethnicity couples. Thanks for the incredible program, re-watching.

  • Dan

    Was not able to view on iPad. Is it available for viewing?

  • Mel Beggs

    This was fabulous and well worth the time, but I couldn’t email this page or the video to myself or others. Facebook worked but not email.

  • Anya Aaronson

    Dead pent focus background, appreciate it for information. “Necessity is the mother of delightful chances.” by Score Twain.

  • Lasse

    Yes, any live stream or download?
    Regards Lasse

  • david ernst

    Hi Lasse,

    There is a full stream of the program available, right above on this page. However, streaming is only available in the United States and its territories.

    GP Team

  • Joyce Gerber

    A Jewish Legacy to pass onto my children and grandchildren.

  • Aaron

    Will this play in Los Angeles?

  • Francine Singleton

    I missed part of Broadway Musicals. Hope it will be broadcast again on KVIE.

  • james

    just came across this website, while looking for musicals in London. Interesting website come back for more info. good work. Many Thanks

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