I brought my husband and two friends to see Schwartz's the Musical at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal today. I'd read the reviews: the Globe and Mail critic trashed the thing, so I suspected it might be good.
It was. We all enjoyed it. The singing, we all agreed was A1 (I especially liked Dominic Lorange, who has it all, the pipes and looks and acting skills.) I liked the history explained in the play, too. But I might ask: Where's the Meat?
Shwartz's (sic re apostrophe) the Musical is tailor made for Anglo Montrealers, a dying breed, so consequenly the show itself is doomed in that it has a limited audience.
Or has it? I read somewhere that the cast dreams of getting to Broadway. Not likely. But the theme of the show is New York friendly. If you make it edgier and talk frankly about Jewish heritage in Montreal.
But Jewish immigration in the first part of this century, to Montreal and New York, was pretty well parallel.
Schwartz's the Musical steers away from controversy... there's nothing controversial about tasty brisket sandwiches. Unless you are a vegetarian. And trashing Toronto is a tad sour grapes and not very daring (Torontonians don't get it as the Globe and Mail review proved)... all considered. I imagine most of the people in the audience had sons and daughter and grandsons and granddaughters working or even retired in Toronto.
This Flo in the City blog and my book, Flo in the City, deals with this. Flo will hear about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and learn about the Eaton's garment worker' strike in 1912. And one of her fellow graduates will be a Jewish woman who is not allowed to teach, but who gets a job giving home visits to new immigrants.
There was one song, Kicked Out.. or something, that was interesting and if they had did more songs along this line, New York might have, indeed, embraced this odd niche musical.