The musical, which came to Broadway following engagements in New Orleans, Florida and as a guest run at the New York Theatre Workshop last season, began Broadway previews July 17 and officially opened Aug. 15. Upon closing, Soul Doctor will have played 32 previews and 66 regular performances.
The musical was met with a cool response from New York critics. Read the reviews here. The production struggled at the box office the past several months; the average paid ticket price was $29.08 for the week ending Oct. 6.
Conceived by Jeremy Chess, created by David Schechter and Daniel S. Wise, with direction by Wise, Soul Doctor has a book by Wise, lyrics by Schechter and music by Shlomo Carlebach, with additional material by Neshama Carlebach. Benoit-Swan Pouffer choreographs the Broadway production.
"People on the outside may not know who he was—but, in our world, my father was Elvis," Carlebach's daughter, Neshema, told Playbill in a recent interview. "The beginning vision of Soul Doctor was maybe it should be a one-woman show where I tell the story of my father's life, as I do in my shows," she said. "We started writing it, then we realized, 'We need that one homeless guy' and 'that child he saved' and so on and on. By the time we turned around, it was a cast of many."
Drama Desk nominee Eric Anderson (of Broadway's South Pacific), who starred in the Off-Broadway run, repeats his work as Shlomo Carlebach in the Broadway production. The cast also features Amber Iman (A Civil War Christmas) as Nina Simone.
Also featured are Jacqueline Antaramian, Dianna Barger, Richard Cerato, Maria Conti, Alexandra Frohlinger, Afra Hines, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, Jamie Jackson, Ethan Khusidman, Dillon Kondor, Zarah Mahler, Vasthy Mompoint, Ron Orbach, Ian Paget, Heather Parcells, Michael Paternostro, JC Schuster, Eric J. Stockton, Ryan Strand and Teddy Walsh.
Jeremy Chess, Jerome Levy, Robert Beckwitt, Edward Steinberg, Joel Kahn and Danny Boy Productions produce.
The Broadway production has scenic design by Neil Patel, costume design by Maggie Morgan, lighting design by Jeff Croiter and sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge. Orchestrations and additional arrangements are by Steve Margoshes. Music supervision and arrangements are by Brian Koonin and music direction and arrangements are by Seth Farber.
Here's how it's billed: "The new musical Soul Doctor tells the fascinating 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 legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, who introduced him to soul and gospel music. Fusing his roots with his new found inspiration, Shlomo created a revolutionary musical sound, writing songs that became instant standards. As a 'Rock Star Rabbi' of the 1960s, he struggled to harmonize his traditional beliefs with the "free love" generation. Today, his uplifting music and message help to define America’s most defiant era."
PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: A Two-Show Day at Broadway's Soul Doctor With Heather Parcells