Soul Doctor

Soul Doctor - Journey of a Rockstar Rabbi is a Broadway musical that details the life of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, with music and lyrics by Shlomo Carlebach and David Schechter, and book and direction by Daniel Wise.[1][2] The Soul Doctor show debuted at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in New Orleans, and had subsequent runs at The Colony Theater in Miami, The Parker Playhouse in Ft Lauderdale, and The New York Theatre Workshop in New York City.[3][4] The Broadway production started previews in July 2013 with its official opening night taking place August 15, 2013 at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre.[5][6][7]

Soul Doctor
Journey of a Rockstar Rabbi
Soul Doctor.jpg
2013 Broadway Playbill
MusicShlomo Carlebach
LyricsShlomo Carlebach, David Schechter
BookDaniel Wise
BasisThe life of Shlomo Carlebach
Productions2008 New York City
2010 New Orleans
2011 Miami
2012 Off-Broadway New York City
2013 Broadway
2014 Montreal
2014 Off-Broadway


This coming of age story of courage and inspiring perseverance opens in 1960s Vienna, where Shlomo Carlebach is giving a concert, having returned to the city for the first time in decades,[8] and then transitions back in time to Nazi-occupied Austria when Shlomo, as a child, witnessed the murder of a Jewish man singing in the streets. This experience causes Shlomo to make a pledge to always stand up for freedom of expression through music. To escape persecution, the Carlebach family moves to the Upper West Side in New York City where Shlomo is a Yeshiva student studying the Talmud and memorizing the Torah, following his father's footsteps to become a Rabbi.[9]

Shlomo's path soon changes when he meets the legendary jazz singer Nina Simone in a Greenwich Village night club. She not only teaches him about her gospel and jazz musical roots, but also recounts how her people, like Jews in Europe at the time, were being persecuted in the U.S.[10] Inspired by the music of Simone, Shlomo begins to break Orthodox tradition by obtaining a guitar. He is soon writing songs and playing his music for audiences including women and non-Jews in clubs around New York City. Shlomo embraces pop music and hippiedom over established scholasticism despite ramifications within his family. In the late '60s he moved to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco where a "House of Love and Prayer" becomes his home with a following that keeps growing. During this period he played concerts alongside acts such as Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Pete Seeger and Jefferson Airplane.[11]

He and Nina Simone end the show back in Vienna, performing a concert in memory of the Jewish singer he saw gunned down in the street by Nazis.

Shlomo's inspired life was driven by his talent, heart and optimism. His inspirational message is clearly heard through his own songs throughout Soul Doctor, an uplifting musical for people of all ages, religions and backgrounds. His personal pledge to stand up for freedom of expression through the power of music soars with the spirit instilled in him from lessons learned throughout his unique and interesting life.[12]


New Orleans (2010)Edit

Soul Doctor debuted at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in New Orleans on November 8, 2010 following previews in New York City.[13]

Miami and Ft. Lauderdale (2011-2012)Edit

Soul Doctor had consecutive runs at The Colony Theater in Miami and The Parker Playhouse in Ft Lauderdale from December 25, 2011 - January 29, 2012.[14][15][16]

New York City - Off Broadway (2012)Edit

Soul Doctor had a run at New York Theatre Workshop from July 30 - August 19, 2012.[17][18]

New York City - Broadway (2013)Edit

Soul Doctor opened at Circle in the Square Theatre on August 15, 2013.[19] Producers announced on October 8, 2013 that Soul Doctor will end its Broadway run Oct. 13 at the Circle in the Square.[20]

Montreal (2014)Edit

Soul Doctor was performed in Yiddish at The Segal Centre for Performing Arts by the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre from June 8 to June 29, 2014.[21]

New York City – Off Broadway (2014)Edit

Soul Doctor had a newly re-imagined run at The Actor's Temple in New York City. Directed and choreographed by Mindy Cooper, this production starred Josh Nelson and Dan'Yelle Williamson as Shlomo Carlebach and Nina Simone respectively. Other cast members included: Jacob Heimer (Eli Chaim), Debra Cardona (Mother), Don Meehan (Father), Anthony Laciura (Reb Pinchas/Moisheleh), Hayden Wall (Young Shlomo), Rosalie Graziano (Young Eli Chaim), Dianna Barger (Ruth), John Plumpis (Milt Oken), Jesse Swimm (Blind Guitarist/Dr. Joel), Lee Hollis Bussie (Bandleader), Janelle McDermoth (Pastor), Matthew Dunivan (Swing). The production started previews on November 28, 2014, with an official opening on December 14, 2014. Soul Doctor had its closing night on January 25, 2015.

Jerusalem, Israel (2018)Edit

Soul doctor was recently played at Bet Shmuel in Jerusalem from 7 June 2018 to 28 June 2018.[22]

Musical numbersEdit

Critical receptionEdit

The Soul Doctor musical was reviewed by many publications following its openings in New York and Miami.[23] Barbara Siegel in Theatre Mania wrote in her review: "The story is going to be compared to The Jazz Singer, but the engaging and often moving new musical has a good deal more thematic depth that its predecessor."[24] Lisa Klug's review in concluded: "With plenty of good Jewish perspectives on the comedy of life, it had me laughing, singing and clapping ... it's so good ... [and] is only going to get better and better."[25]

Frank Scheck, in The New York Post, praised Eric Anderson's performance, writing: "Eric Anderson beautifully suggests Carlebach's soft-spoken, gentle appeal, as well as the charisma that jolted him to stardom. Erica Ash is equally superb as Simone, whether quietly conveying the singer's fierce dignity or delivering stunning versions of signature classics such as "Sinnerman."[26] Jason Zinoman also praised Anderson's performance in The New York Times, writing: "Transforming from a mild-mannered rabbi into a kinetic dynamo, Anderson imbues his numbers with their own arc, often starting in a meditative mood before slowly building to a joyous, leaping roar."[27]

Following its 2013 opening on Broadway, the Soul Doctor show was reviewed by The New York Times, Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, and Newsday, all of whom applauded Anderson's performance as Carlebach while comparing the show to Fiddler on the Roof and Hair, and giving overall mixed to positive reviews of the musical.[28][29][30]

Principal roles and original castEdit

Character Original actor[31]
Shlomo Carlebach Eric Anderson
Nina Simone Amber Iman
Mother Jacqueline Antaramian
Father Jamie Jackson
Eli Chaim Ryan Strand
Moisheleh Michael Paternostro
Ruth Zarah Mahler
Reb Pinchas Ron Orbach
Young Shlomo Teddy Walsh
Young Eli Chaim Melana Lloyd
Nazi Colin Campbell McAdoo
Holy Hippie J.C. Schuster
Holy Beggars Dianna Barger, Tara Chambers, Maria Conti, Alexandra Frohlinger, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, Dillon Kondor, Vasthy Mompoint, Ian Paget, Heather Parcells, Eric J. Stockton, Richard Cerato, Afra Hines


  1. ^ Daniel Wise Theatre Credits
  2. ^ Lisa Alcalay Klug (August 14, 2012). "Shlomo Carlebach's life comes to the stage in 'Soul Doctor'". Archived from the original on November 4, 2012.
  3. ^ Andrew Gans (May 3, 2010). "Soul Doctor, with Crawford and Ackerman, to Premiere in New Orleans Prior to Broadway".
  4. ^ Staff (July 25, 2011). "Shlomo Carlebach Bio-Musical Soul Doctor to Play New York Theatre Workshop".
  5. ^ Patrick Healy (May 29, 2013). "'Soul Doctor' to Bring a Singing Rabbi to Broadway". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Patrick Healy (August 23, 2012). "'Soul Doctor,' Musical About Singing Rabbi, Eyes Next Stage". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Staff (August 23, 2012). "Soul Doctor Musical Eyes Broadway Run at Circle in the Square Theatre".
  8. ^ Charles Isherwood (August 15, 2013). "Rabbi With a Beat and Tie-Dyed Prayers". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Tom Sellar (August 21, 2013). "Soul Doctor: Shalom, Love, and Understanding". The Village Voice.
  10. ^ Josh Ferri (July 31, 2013). "Love, Prayer, LSD and Nina Simone: Get to Know Soul Doctor's Rock Star Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach".
  11. ^ Keith Staskiewicz (August 15, 2013). "Soul Doctor". Entertainment Weekly.
  12. ^ Marilyn Stasio (August 15, 2013). "Broadway Review: 'Soul Doctor'". Variety.
  13. ^ Z Event Page Archived 2013-09-04 at
  14. ^ Kenneth Jones (December 15, 2011). "With a Dream of Broadway, Soul Doctor Musical Will Star Gary Morris, Liz Larsen, Eric Anderson and More".
  15. ^ Event Page
  16. ^ Theater Mania Event Page
  17. ^ Kenneth Jones (July 25, 2012). "Soul Doctor, the Rockin' Rabbi Musical, Will Play Off-Broadway Starting July 30 With Eric Anderson".
  18. ^ Theater Mania NYTW Event Page
  19. ^ Harry Haun (August 16, 2013). "PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Soul Doctor — Shlomo in Slo-Mo".
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Official Press Notes Archived 2013-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Siegel, Barbara (13 August 2012). "Soul Doctor, review". Theater Mania.
  25. ^ Klug, Lisa (9 August 2012). " A Spoon Full of Shlomo".
  26. ^ Scheck, Frank (16 August 2012). "SA rocking tale of '60s star sung in Shlomo". The New York Post.
  27. ^ Zinoman, Jason (15 August 2012). "TReligious Roots Tangle With the Groovy '60s". The New York Times.
  28. ^ Review Roundups (August 15, 2013). "Review Roundup: SOUL DOCTOR Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!". Broadway world.
  29. ^ Charles Isherwood (August 15, 2013). "Rabbi With a Beat and Tie-Dyed Prayers". The New York Times.
  30. ^ Steve Parks (August 14, 2013). "'Soul Doctor' review: Rock-Star Rabbi". Newsday.
  31. ^ Cast of Soul Doctor Archived 2013-08-19 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit