No Yenta for Yentl

In one of her rocking tunes for YENTL (the play, adapted by Leah Napolin from I.B. Singer’s Yiddish story — not the Streisand movie), Jill Sobule throws FIDDLER a sweetly sardonic smooch. It comes in an anthemic number in which Yentl/Anshel declares, “I Hate Girl Things”: Studying beats sewing any day. “Matchmaker, matchmaker,” Sobule sings, catching the Bock-and-Harnick cadence for just a phrase even as she tweaks the lyric, “don’t waste your time.” I had the good luck to hear a one-night-only concert version of this YENTL at Joe’s Pub in NYC, with Sobule’s folk, R&B, and NOLA inflections backed by the terrific band — adding some shtetl strains into the mix —ISLE OF KLEZBOS. The full show will open the 2014-15 season at Theater J in Washington, DC. If you catch it there, you’ll hear the fly-by homage  from one very new kind of musical based on a Yiddish story to the great Golden-Age musical based on some Yiddish stories.  (Sobule gives Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes  a nod, too, in a wonderfully suggestive version of “If I Had a Hammer.” I’m sure Bashevis would have approved.)
Here’s a sample of the song cycle —  the contemplative  “Candle.”




One thought on “No Yenta for Yentl

  1. This wonderful song from the batch of wonderful songs in the theatre j production is a standout. It seems only a matter of time before s star discovers it and makes it a national favorite. I wish I had it on cd for myself.

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