The new Center Stage Theater in Ra’anana was home Saturday night to “The Sound of Goosesteps,” a presentation about three Holocaust-associated musicals: The Sound of Music, Cabaret and The Producers.The performer was Eyal Sherf, a graduate of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and New York University. For 90 minutes, Sherf used a multimedia presentation and his vocal stylings to entertain the mostly Anglo audience in the beautiful boutique theater. “These three musicals,” Sherf began, “allow us to look at the changes in the American viewpoint on the horrors of Nazism and the Holocaust.” The Sound of Music opened on Broadway in 1959, six years before Julie Andrews’ film. Sherf emphasized that the original Broadway production lacked any references to the Holocaust and barely played around the edges of Nazism. Next, he discussed the stage version of Cabaret in 1966, which he suggested was far more direct about the rise of the Third Reich. Sherf treated attendees to his stirring renditions of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” and “If You Could See Her,” Cabaret’s songs that directly addressed the Holocaust. “There doesn’t seem to be any glimmer of hope in Cabaret,” explained Sherf. “In that way, it’s even darker than Schindler’s List.”The third musical was the 2001 Broadway production The Producers, which had been reborn from Mel Brooks’s 1967 film version. As Sherf explained, “Nothing was spared in The Producers, whose reception reflected an openness to dealing with the Nazis through comedy.” As a bonus, Sherf highlighted the Holocaust-related differences between the musicals and their respective cinematic counterparts.Some of Sherf’s most interesting insights were his liturgical references in the classic American musical scores of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Richard Rodgers. Sherf told an anecdote about Cole Porter, who was not Jewish, joking with Porter’s Jewish colleague, Rodgers, that hit music must sound Jewish. So Porter wrote, “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” which is very similar to the Yiddish song “Vos Geven Iz Geven Un Nito.”The audience – with an average age older than the original material – warmly received Sherf and keyboard accompanist Alon Aviv, applauding them after each of their dozen numbers. When asked where he hopes to take “The Sound of Goosesteps,” Sherf said he would continue to develop the concept and use it as a showcase for his musical talent. The new Center Stage Theater was a perfect venue for such an intimate performance, and Eyal Sherf was up to the task.The writer, a lecturer for Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies, is author of the forthcoming book The Holocaust Film Bible: 75 Years of Narrative Holocaust Film (1945-2020).