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7 Jewish highlights from the new Museum of Broadway

(New York Jewish Week) — There’s a reliably funny Twitter account called @JewWhoHasItAll, which imagines a universe where nearly everyone is Jewish and those who aren’t are the outliers. 

That’s the sensation I got on a visit to the Museum of Broadway, which opened last month. A three-story tribute to the Theater District located in its very heart, it is organized around a series of rooms dedicated to landmark musicals and plays, and the majority bear the stamp of Jewish creators: Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein’s “Showboat,” Richard Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”, Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.” 

Other projects dedicated to the history of Broadway aren’t shy about noting the over-representation of Jews in the business. “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy,” a documentary that seems to run on a nearly endless loop on my local PBS station, notes that “over the [first] 50-year period of its development, the songs of the Broadway musical were created almost exclusively by Jewish Americans.”

If the Museum of Broadway acknowledges this, I didn’t notice. Some might take this as an omission or a snub, the way critics objected when a new museum about the history of Hollywood initially overlooked the essential Jewish contribution to the movie business. But in this case, the Jewishness of Broadway is taken as a given. You’d have to be culturally illiterate not to notice how many of the most celebrated creators are Jewish: In addition to the musical tributes, there are wall placards singling out the contributions of Sondheim and the director Harold Prince, a corner devoted to “Fiddler on the Roof” and a gallery celebrating Joe Papp (born Joseph Papirofsky) and his Public Theater, that reliable pipeline of breakthrough Broadway shows. 

(There were, however, frequent mentions of the specifically African-American contributions to Broadway. That seemed a deliberate attempt to counter perceptions that Broadway is indeed the “Great White Way.”)  

The museum, whose opening was delayed by the pandemic, is a collaboration with Playbill, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (which is supported by a portion of the stiff $39 admission charge), the Al Hirschfeld Foundation, Concord Theatricals and Goodspeed Musicals. Its approach is chronological, with a timeline that pulls visitors from room to room, from vaudeville, through Broadway’s “Golden Age” and up to the present. Original costumes and props are on display in Instagram-ready settings that resemble the original sets for various shows. 

Among the paraphernalia and stagecraft are a number of Jewish highlights. Here are seven:

 

A whirligig of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals

A sample of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, on display at the Museum of Broadway. (NYJW)

Just past the cornstalks celebrating the ground-breaking 1943 musical “Oklahoma!” is a wall display showcasing the duo’s most important collaborations, including “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I,” “Flower Drum Song” and “The Sound of Music.” Rodgers, working with Hammerstein and before him Lorenz Hart, wrote more than 900 songs and 41 Broadway musicals. Combine that with Hammerstein’s work with Kern, and it is hard to imagine two more important figures in the history of musical comedy.

 

Jerome Robbins’ notes on “West Side Story”

Choreographer Jerome Robbins suggested a “seder” scene in an early conception of what became “West Side Story.” (NYJW)

Look closely at this list of proposed scenes for a musical based on “Romeo and Juliet” and you’ll see the word “seder.” Robbins, the choreographer, originally proposed that the show focus on a star-crossed love story between a Jewish girl and an Irish boy, but he and his fellow Jewish collaborators — composer Leonard Bernstein, lyricist Stephen Sondheim and playwright Arthur Laurents — soon felt the interfaith idea had already been exhausted in plays like “Abie’s Irish Rose.” When the show premiered in 1957, the gangs were Puerto Rican and a medley of ethnic whites.

 

Florence Klotz’s costume “bible”

Florence Klotz won six Tony Awards for her costume designs. (NYJW)

Costume designer Florence Klotz frequently collaborated with Prince and Sondheim. The museum displays her sketches for Sondheim’s “Follies” and “A Little Night Music.” Born in Brooklyn, Klotz would win six Tony awards. She died in 2006. The museum also includes an entire floor dedicated to the “backstage” talent: costume and set designers, stage managers, prop masters and writers.

 

A shrine to “Company”

A display at the Museum of Broadway celebrates a recent revival of “Company.” (NYJW)

Sondheim and Prince emerge as the museum’s lodestars. “Their intense and fruitful partnership and their creative trailblazing in [the 1970s] resulted in an extraordinary artistic innovation and a slew of provocative new works,” a wall card proclaims. “Company” (1970) was a largely plotless exploration of urban anomie. The museum calls it a “frank, even painful look at modern life,” perfectly attuned to the upper-middle class theatergoers who, it says, are the “backbone” of the Broadway audience. It’s the show people love or hate if they love or hate Sondheim. The “Company” exhibit includes photos of the original cast and spare set, and a backdrop that draws on the recent gender-bending revival.

 

A tribute to Joseph Papp

Costumes from productions that originated at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater on display at the Museum of Broadway. (NYJW)

Joe Papp flipped the script on how shows made it to Broadway: His Public Theater produced edgy off-Broadway plays that drew audiences downtown, and then successfully transferred that same buzz to the “Big Stem.” Papp, a son of Yiddish-speaking parents who grew up in a Brooklyn slum, founded the New York Shakespeare Festival. A section of the museum includes costumes and posters from important productions that originated at The Public — including wildly popular revivals of “The Pirates of Penzance” and “The Threepenny Opera” — and a dress Meryl Streep wore in her Broadway debut, in “Trelawny of the ‘Wells.’” Two other musicals developed at The Public — “Hair” and “A Chorus Line” — get their own tribute rooms.

 

Al Hirschfeld’s barber chair

A room at the Museum of Broadway includes works by the famed caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. (NYJW)

The museum has an entire gallery dedicated to the work of artist Al Hirschfeld and his caricatures of Broadway stars and productions from 1923-2001. His pen-and-ink drawings were a visual shorthand for “Broadway,” and it would sometimes seem that the stars he drew would come to resemble his drawings, not the other way around. The museum includes his wonderfully kooky Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl” and a bearish, brooding Zero Mostel as Tevye. On display is a barber chair similar to the one he used in his studio (the original had fallen apart by the 1990s).

 

A stage set from “The Producers”

An exhibit space at the Museum of Broadway evokes the scenery from the Mel Brooks musical “The Producers.” (NYJW)

You can sit behind a desk and pretend you are Broadway producer Max Bialystock, who was played by Nathan Lane in the phenomenally successful 2001 musical adaptation of Mel Brooks’ 1967 film about the worst musical ever staged for Broadway. The display is a reminder of the impact of the show, and not only on ticket prices: It proved the viability of adapting movies for Broadway, and earned a record-setting 12 Tony Awards. The museum calls the musical, with its tap-dancing Nazis and sweet and conniving Jewish protagonists, a “glittering homage to Broadway’s past” — a past that is unmistakably Jewish.


The post 7 Jewish highlights from the new Museum of Broadway appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Canada’s economic growth projected to be about 1% in the first half of 2024

Canada is a country with a thriving Jewish community and has traditionally offered the security of a strong economy for residents. The national economic outlook is naturally something that everyone in Canada’s Jewish community keeps track of – especially those involved in business in the various provinces.

With this in mind, the July 2023 Monetary Policy Report from the Bank of Canada made for interesting reading, projecting a moderate economic growth figure of around 1% for the first half of 2024. This is in line with growth figures that had been forecast for the second half of 2023, and sees the country’s economy remain on a stable footing.

Steady projected growth for first half of 2024

Although projected economic growth of around 1% in early 2024 is not as impressive as figures of around 3.4% in 2022 and 1.8% in 2023, it is certainly no cause for alarm. But what might be behind it?

Higher interest rates are one major factor to consider and have had a negative impact on household spending nationally. This has effectively seen people with less spending power and businesses in Canada generating less revenue as a result.

Interest rate rises have also hit business investments nationally, and less money is being channelled into this area to fuel Canada’s economic growth. When you also factor in how the weak foreign demand for Canadian goods and services has hit export growth lately, the projected GDP growth figure for early 2024 is understandable.

Growth in second half of 2024 expected

Although the above may make for interesting reading for early 2024, the Bank of Canada’s report does show that economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. This is projected to be due to the decreasing effect of high interest rates on the Canadian economy and a stronger foreign demand for the country’s exports.

Moving forward from this period, it is predicted that inflation will remain at around 3% as we head into 2025, and hit the Bank of Canada’s inflation target of 2% come the middle of 2025. All of this should help the country’s financial status remain stable and prove encouraging for business leaders in the Jewish community.

Canada’s economic growth mirrors iGaming’s rise

When you take a look at the previous growth figures Canada has seen and also consider the growth predicted for 2024 (especially in the second half of the year), it is clear that the country has a vibrant, thriving economy.

This economic growth is something that can be compared with iGaming’s recent rise as an industry around the country. In the same way as Canada has steadily built a strong economy over time, iGaming has transformed itself into a powerful, flourishing sector.

This becomes even clearer when you consider that Canadian iGaming has been a major contributor to the sustained growth seen in the country’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which rose by around 1.9% in Q2 of 2023. The healthy state of online casino play in Canada is also evidenced by how many customers the most popular casino platforms attract and how the user experience these operators offer has enabled iGaming in the country to take off.

This, of course, is also something that translates to the world stage, where global iGaming revenues in 2023 hit an estimated $95 billion. iGaming’s global market volume is also pegged to rise to around $130 billion by 2027. These kinds of figures represent a sharp jump for iGaming worldwide and show how the sector is on the ascent.

Future economic outlook for Canada in line with global expectations

When considering the Canadian economic outlook for 2024, it is often useful to look at how this compares with global financial predictions. In addition to the rude health of iGaming in Canada being reflected in global online casino gaming, the positive economic outlook for the country is also broadly in line with expectations for many global economies.

Global growth is also predicted to rise steadily in the second half of 2024 before becoming stronger in 2025. This should be driven by the weakening effects of high interest rates on worldwide economic prosperity. With rate cuts in Canada already expected after Feb 2024’s inflation report, this could happen in the near future.

The performance of the US economy is always of interest in Canada, as this is the country’s biggest trading partner. Positive US Q2 performances in 2023, powered by a strong labor market, good consumer spending levels and robust business investments, were therefore a cause for optimism. As a US economy that continues to grow is something that Canadian businesses welcome, this can only be a healthy sign.

Canada set for further growth in 2024

Local news around Canada can cover many topics but the economy is arguably one of the most popular. A projected GDP growth figure of around 1% for Canada’s economy shows that the financial state of the country is heading in the right direction. An improved financial outlook heading into the latter half of 2024/2025 would make for even better reading, and the national economy should become even stronger.

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The Legal Landscape of Online Gambling in Canada

Online gambling has grown in popularity around the globe in recent years. While many jurisdictions have legalized land-based gambling, it hasn’t applied to online platforms. Nonetheless, Canada is one nation that has legalized online gambling with their provinces’ licensing and regulating sites.

Nonetheless, Canadians of legal age can enjoy playing their favourite online games where available. So many games like slots, blackjack, and roulette still maintain their popularity even in the digital sense.  Want to learn about what’s legal in Canada for online gambling? Let’s take a look.

What is legal for online gambling in Canada?

What is the best online casino in Canada? The list we provide you here should be a good start. It’s also important to note that most Canadian provinces do not have laws that prohibit offshore online casinos.

Many provinces provide licensing to online casinos. They even regulate them as well. For example, Alberta and British Columbia have sites regulated by their respective governing bodies. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) allows legal online gambling and oversees the services it offers to Maritime provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

However, there are some caveats to address. In Newfoundland and Labrador, online gambling that is not offered by the ALC is considered illegal. Therefore, it is the only Canadian province as of 2024 that prohibits offshore options.

In terms of the legal age, there are three provinces where the legal age is 18: Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. The remaining provinces establish 19 as the legal age for gambling including online.

Who are the regulatory bodies for gambling in Canada?

At the Federal level, the Canadian Gaming Association is the regulatory body for gambling in Canada. Thus, they cover both land-based and online gambling in the country. There are also provincial and regional regulatory bodies such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) – which covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory. A handful of provinces also have their regulatory bodies covering lottery and gaming.

Canada requires online casinos that wish to accept players from the country to adhere to regulations and licensing. These licenses are provided by provincial regulatory bodies. When licensed, online casinos must follow the regulations and security standards.

However, there is the belief that many of the laws about gambling in Canada may be outdated. This could be because these laws were created long before the advent of the Internet. Therefore, such laws may need to be modernized. Nonetheless, online gambling for the most part is legal, just dependent on the province.

Are there any legal grey areas to discuss?

The grey area that is considered a concern pertains to the use of offshore sites. As mentioned earlier, Newfoundland and Labrador is believed to be the only province that prohibits it. Even online casinos with no licensing by Canadian or provincial authorities accept residents of the country.

On the players’ end, many Canadians are allowed to play at online casinos. However, they may be restricted from certain platforms. This is to ensure that the players themselves are protected from unknowingly playing on platforms that may be illegal. 

What are the other laws and regulations about online gambling in Canada?

Online casinos have implemented measures for responsible gambling. This includes providing support and resources to problem gamblers on their site. They are also restricted regarding the marketing and advertising aspects of promoting their platform. 

One restriction of note is that marketing that is targeted at minors is prohibited. Another prohibits professional athletes from appearing in online casino ads in Ontario.

Even offshore casinos must adhere to these laws and regulations. Especially if they have obtained a license from the provincial bodies that allow them to operate.

Canada’s online gambling is legal – but will things change

As it stands right now, the legality of online gambling in Canada seems to fall under the purview of provincial laws and regulations. Canadian citizens must perform their due diligence further to see which online casinos are allowed by their respective provinces. Just because it may be legal in one province, it may not be the same in others.

Nonetheless, the question is: will any laws relax certain restrictions? Will Newfoundland and Labrador change their tune regarding offshore casinos? It’s unclear what the future holds – but watch this space for any changes about online gambling in Canada.  

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Obituaries

Dr. NATHAN WISEMAN

Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.

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