Musical brings prime 40 Jewish Vacation • Brooklyn Paper

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Why is this night as great as any other night?

A new musical will add a pop touch to an old Jewish tradition! “A Very Poppy Purim,” on March 7th in Littlefield, Gowanus, will add top 40 songs, goofy characters and a huge helping of audience participation to the festive holiday, the couple behind the party said.

“Part of the charm of the show is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said Josh Silverbauer, who started an annual series of “A Very Awesome Purim” shows with his wife, Rachael 10 years ago.

The joyful Jewish holiday is usually celebrated with costume and a retelling of the Purim story in which a Jewish woman, Esther, marries the King of Persia to prevent the king’s anti-Semitic adviser from killing all Jews. The audience boo when the evil advisor is mentioned and cheers Esther.

“A Very Poppy Purim” will set all of these elements to 11. It replaces the main characters with pop symbols, with Esther becoming the Lady Gaga-esque “Lady Esther” and marrying the King of Pop, and the songs will all parody pop hits from the 1960s to the present day such as “All the Kingdom’s Ladies” and “Like a Persian”. Audience reactions will also be increased, Josh said.

“As a narrator, I basically map a series of calls and responses,” he said.

When the King goes on stage, the participants will give a high-pitched “hee hee” mimicking Michael Jackson, and when Lady Esther appears, the audience will sing “Ooh la la” from Lady Gaga’s song “Bad Romance,” he explained.

Rachael and Josh, both musicians, were hosting musical Purim parties with a group of friends at their Philadelphia home 10 years ago. Within a few years, the audience had grown so large that it could hardly find space to perform, they said.

“The last time we were in this house we had so many people that we only had a four-by-four area,” said Rachael.

This year the musical will have four performances in Philadelphia in addition to the Brooklyn event. Despite the show’s popularity, the two say they still treat it like a friend’s party. The theme changes every year based on their fans’ voices – previous shows have featured Beatles, Disney films, and one-hit musical wonders – and partying with attendees is central to the show.

“We go out in the audience and interact with people a lot,” said Josh. “The after party is an integral part of the show.”

The couple also hope non-Jews will join the show and learn more about the tradition.

“We make Jewish culture accessible to Jewish and non-Jewish people,” said Rachael.

“A Very Poppy Purim” in Littlefield (635 Sackett St. between Third and Fourth Streets in Gowanus, www.veryawesomepurim.com). March 7th at 7pm. $ 15.

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