Broadway Babes, a Desert Rose Production.
(photo credit: Ofer Linevitz)
Every year, thousands of Israelis travel to London and New York for a vacation
or to visit family. While there, like most other tourists, they will go
to the West End or Broadway to catch one of the many glitzy musicals on offer
there. What many of those Israelis don’t know is that they have high-quality
original musical theater in English right here on their
According to Daniella Roman, native Israelis, as well as
Englishspeaking olim, don’t have to leave the country to satisfy their craving
for topclass musicals performed in English. Roman, who founded Desert
Rose Productions with her husband Grant Crankshaw, says that the English-language
theater company is making its debut with a national tour of its highly
successful show Broadway Babes.
“It’s an original musical revue that
showcases some of the most popular and well-known female songs on Broadway,” she
says. “It received rave reviews when it played to full houses in Ra’anana in
While the show struck a chord with many of the local Anglos, she
was surprised by the level of interest shown by native Israelis.
love the songs,” she says. “It’s not important if they don’t understand English
– it’s the songs that they know.”
It was the response to the Ra’anana
shows that inspired Roman and her husband to take the show on a tour of the
country to expose it to different audiences.
She stresses the importance
of getting the name of the company and the show out there and widening its
“It’s obvious that there is an English-speaking audience out there,
and we want to go to them even if they can’t come to us,” she says.
and Crankshaw, both professional actors, have been involved in the
English-speaking theater scene in Israel since making aliya from South Africa in
1997. As professional actors having studied Drama at the University of the
Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, they were disappointed to find that the
English-language theater scene in Israel was comprised mainly of community
“As professional actors, we were always on the look-out
for a more professional environment in which we could practice what were trained
to do and what we are passionate about,” explains Roman.
The couple have
had to overcome a number of hurdles in order to realize their dream of creating
a company made up of English-speaking theater professionals. While Broadway
is not based on the pair’s lives, it does bear some resemblance. The
musical highlights the relationships between and challenges faced by six women
in their quest to pursue their Broadway dreams.
The show revolves around
an audition for a Broadway production and tells the story of six very different
women who compete and interact with each other and the director, leading to
humorous and sometimes catty situations.
In true Israeli style, the cast
of Broadway Babes
is a melange of nationalities, bringing together talents from
Canada, the US, England, South Africa and Israel.
Even though the company
is professional and not amateur, the actors have agreed to perform on a
voluntary basis, explains Roman.
“Every member of the cast has
contributed in some way to the development of the show, instilling the
production with an atmosphere of camaraderie and fun,” she says.
all about jazz hands and glitzy costumes at Desert Rose Productions. Even those
wearing the not-so-glamorous uniform of the IDF are encouraged to attend. The
company has started a fund-raising initiative through Jewcer to send lone IDF
soldiers to see the show. As part of the project, people locally and abroad can
contribute to the well-being of lone soldiers and help them relax in their spare
“My brother served in the IDF as a lone soldier, and it made me
very aware of the difficulties and the challenges that he faced,” explains
Roman. “Combining my passion for theater with a cause such as the IDF that is
near to my heart is a dream come true for me.”
Broadway Babes will be
performed in Ma’alot Tarshiha on July 18; Jerusalem
on July 20; Modi’in on July 24; Ra’anana on July 25; Givatayim on July 27; and
Beersheba on August 1. For more information and to purchase tickets, see www.desert-rose-productions.com/broadway-babes
or call 077-718-1212.(Disclaimer: A member of the JPost.com Staff team will be performing in the show)