Behind Soul Doctor Musical Film Special Theater Release

By 6/13/2023 10:46:00 AM ,

Soul Doctor, the Broadway movie-musical about the ‘rock star’ Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, and his relationship with music and civil rights icon Dr. Nina Simone, has a one night Fathom Events screenings in over 600 select theaters on June 13.

Note: I was invited as media for screening and cast interview. However any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

To hear more about turning the musical into a film, I joined a interview panel with

  • Lisa Simone (Executive Producer of Soul Doctor as well as Executive Producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award winning, and Academy Award and Grammy nominated Netflix documentary about her mother, WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?),
  • Dari Carlebach (Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s daughter)
  • Danny Wise (Writer and Director).

Take Away Message of Soul Doctor

Danny Wise We really wanted to see more singing and harmony around this country rather than shouting and screaming. And that's really what this movie is about. People think of a movie as a visual experience, this is really an atmosphere at movie in the highest sense of the word.

Lisa Simone Oh, there are quite a few. Starting with joy inspiration, the power of community and coming together. And the fact that so many walls that we erect, whether it's through our vision, how we look different, how we sound different, different backgrounds.

Underneath, all of that there's so much of the sameness, that we all share.

Lisa Simone I believe that's one of the biggest connections that my mother Dr. Nina Simone and Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach had in common. Within their differences there was such a sameness that they recognized in each other.

They influenced each other, inspired each other and they both went on to be prolific presences in the world, whose influence continues to touch the masses today.

How Stage Production Differs from Film

Danny Wise It's not, in the experience. We're very proud and happy, that it's a minimalist production and therefore, you really don't feel this divide of 100 million dollars of special effects coming at you.

You feel like you're the story taking place in the center. Shlomo Carlebach for most of his career would really perform from the front of the stage, and not on the stage. It was a theater in the round.

We presented it as a theater in the round, and if it feels like a theater in the round. And the audience feels safe, part of it and spontaneously part of the theatrical production.

Significance of Releasing Soul Doctor Now

Lisa Simone It's time. There's no better time than the present. Everything happens when it's supposed to. We're here for a reason.

Now the time has come, people perhaps were more ready. Our community is ready,our world is ready, we're ready. The production is ready. And it's being born, in a manner that's shining the light upon it. On a platform that cannot be ignored.

Dari Carlebach Our hearts have been broken over and over again. To let the light in and we're now at a place in our history, where we've all broken open so many times, but all we can do is rise in song.

And build those broken places with harmony. And our job, in this generation, is to create the most infinite endless amount of harmony in ourselves, between our communities, between all of humankind.

And the story allows us to create harmonies in unexpected ways, and it uplifts and brings a whole new way of seeing the world.


Soul Doctor Trailer

The film of Soul Doctor opens on the 10th anniversary of its Broadway premiere.

Soul Doctor tells the story of the beloved yet controversial father of popular Jewish music, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. A modern-day troubadour, Shlomo ignited the spirit of millions around the world with his soul-stirring melodies, transformative storytelling, and boundless love.

After his childhood escape from Nazi Germany, the young Rabbi formed an unlikely friendship with musical icon and pioneer, Nina Simone, who introduced him to Soul and Gospel music, and a Jewish music and cultural revival was born.

Fusing his roots with his new inspiration, Shlomo created a revolutionary musical sound, writing songs which continue to be the main body of Jewish musical standards.

The “Jewish Gospel/Soul” experience he introduced to the synagogue worship remains the most popular of services across all denominations of Jewish practice.

Soul Doctor concludes with a historical epilogue showing rare footage, bringing to life Simone, Carlebach, and other characters, created by Colombian-born filmmaker Nicole Fernandez and Somondoco Films.

Stars Tony Award® nominee Josh Young (Broadway’s Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita) as Shlomo, Nya (star of the recent Cleopatra and the Broadway revival of Caroline or Change) as Nina Simone and Emily Padgett (star of Broadway’s Side Show, Rock of Ages, Bright Star, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Ruth.

The cast also includes Charlotte Moore (Les Miz, ALW’s Wizard of Oz), C.J. Tyson (Wicked), Rebecca Kritzer (In the Heights), Marvin Meital, Yovel Moss, Allison Poccia, Lital Shalit, Toni Elizabeth White, Luke Wygodny (Once), Jordan Zell, and Marc Zell and original Broadway cast members: Richard Cerato and Abdur-Rahim Jackson (who also choreographs).

The film of Soul Doctor is produced by original Broadway producer/conceiver Jeremy Chess, along with Jerome Levy and Chandra McQueen, with Lisa Simone Executive Producer.

With music by Shlomo Carlebach, lyrics by David Schechter, script and direction by Daniel Wise, and choreographed by Abdur Rahim Jackson (Alvin Ailey, Beyonce “Halo” music video and Superbowl Show).

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