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Sutton Foster and Three Jewish Guys
Albert Einstein was a Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist, a dreamer and a thinker. Einstein was born in Germany, and moved to America in 1933, affiliating with Princeton University. He died in 1955.
Aaron Zeitlin was a writer, a playwright and a poet. He was a leading figure in the world of Yiddish literature in the twentieth century (CE). He came to the America in 1939, taught at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City and died in 1973.
Sutton Foster is a Tony award winning actress, a singer and a dancer. Foster was born in the state of Georgia about a year and a half after Zeitlin died. She also has ties to New York City, but is very much alive.
We know from Albert Einstein that mass is convertible into energy. And we know from Sutton Foster that energy, when modified with rhythm, a smile and sass, can bring unmitigated joy to people.
Last week I had the privilege of attending Anything Goes, a revival of Cole Porter’s 1934 hit show. In back of me was an elderly man, whose mother gave him a ticket for his first Broadway show on the night before he left to serve in World War II. Next to me was a woman from California, a musical comedy aficionado, who had brought her daughters to see their first Broadway show. These are folks who know the business.
When Sutton Foster hit the boards, we were all caught in what Einstein undoubtedly would have described as the Sutton Foster energy field. She radiated and we were stunned, jaw-dropping stunned, at the wonder of her voice, her eyes, her stance, her moves. I got more than a kick from Sutton Foster. She was de-lovely.
So what does this have to do with faith and the Jews?
In one of Aaron Zeitlin’s more famous works, he imagines God desperately wanting people to be aware and engaged. God, according to Zeitlin, did not care as much about whether people praised or cursed him but that they were sensitive to their surroundings. “If you look at the stars and yawn,” says Zeitlin’s God, then “I created you in vain.”
No one—I mean no one—was yawning when the force of nature known as Sutton Foster was on stage. Jaws might have been dropping, but no one was yawning. We just looked at that star and felt blessed to be in her glow.
A final note: one of Sutton Foster’s co-stars was a fellow named Joel Grey, a Jewish fellow, son of Mickey Katz. You heard it here first, folks. The guy has a future in show business.