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Presenting programs for LLS
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Life’s Not a Cabaret: Politics and Religion in Musicals
Sheryl Flatow

COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Never discuss religion or politics with those who hold opinions opposite to yours” is a saying that dates back at least to 1840. It is advice that playwrights, composers, and lyricists have happily ignored, resulting in some powerful musicals that have something to say about either or both subjects. Often, these shows offer a glimpse into a specific time and place, and, in a sense, ask us to bear witness. The four musicals that comprise this lecture series are set in four different countries and conjure up three bygone worlds and one that feels all too contemporary. Fiddler on the Roof,  by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joseph Stein, is set in Tsarist Russia in 1905; Cabaret, by John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Joe Masteroff, takes place as the Nazis gain their foothold in Germany; Pacific Overtures, by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, is set in nineteenth-century Japan; and Assassins, by Sondheim and Weidman, is a disquieting journey through some of America's most troubling history.
1. Fiddler on the Roof (1964): In a Jewish shtetl, Tevye tries to maintain tradition as the outside world encroaches.
2. Cabaret (1966): As the Nazis begin their rise to power, life at the decadent Kit Kat Klub serves as a reflection of the terror about to occur.
3. Pacific Overtures (1976): The opening of Japan in 1853 and its consequences.
4. Assassins (1991): A disturbing and all too relevant look at some of America's darkest history.
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Sheryl Flatow has written about theatre and dance for more than 30 years. She curated major exhibitions in San Francisco on Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, George Balanchine, and several others. She has led pre-performance talks; moderated panel discussions on theatre and dance; and conducted public interviews with leading figures in the arts, including Patti LuPone, Barbara Cook, Natalia Makarova and Judith Jamison. She also wrote the CD liner notes for Into the Woods and Jerome Robbins' Broadway. She has lectured at LLS/FAU for several semesters. 

Time: 4:30 pm - 6:15 pm
Date: Mondays, February 10, 17, 24; March 3
Location: Barry and Florence Friedberg Auditorium, Boca Raton Campus
Fees: $34 member / $54 non-member

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