Archives for posts with tag: musicals

When I Got Down with the Christ
by Jewish person Rick Lupert

When I was older than a boy, but younger than
the man I am today, I went to see a high school

production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
I was not in high-school, but a friend of mine was

and she was playing a soul sister, or a dark angel
or, honestly, I don’t remember, it was a hundred years ago.

I wanted to say death eater but then I remembered
that’s from Harry Potter.

As a Jew I was not down with the Jesus.
I didn’t know any of the music, the story, and

had a general sense that he was not my guy.
Somehow I found myself in the center of the front row –

little Jewish man, alone at a high school with
Romans and parents and Christ.

Judas came out first. I didn’t know enough
to have heard his name in pop culture.

But now, whenever it gets mentioned I have
deep memories of that guy and what he sang.

Then What’s the Buzz. This was rock and roll.
This was the concert I never knew I wanted to be at.

At a certain point, me, at this high school,
with these people in the last throws of their childhood

almost pulled me out of my seat to mosh-pit
in the space between the front row and the orchestra.

To say this musical, this high school production
was better than Cats is to say that there is air in the air.

Since then I’ve seen it thirty silver pieces worth of times –
The film, stage productions of every size.

It’s always good. That’s the way he wrote it.
I had to put on the soundtrack to write this.

I’m dancing between every stanza.
Half of my knowledge of history comes from musicals.

I’m an expert, and I know, if this whole Judaism thing
doesn’t work out, I’m going to ride into Jerusalem

on the back of this sacred rock and roll.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was tearing my brain apart trying to find one good memory to write about and then the email came from Broadway in Hollywood letting me know that the 50th anniversary tour of Jesus Christ Superstar was coming to the Pantages while I was staring at the empty word processing document. I was immediately transported back to the 90s when I first saw the show. I bought three tickets for New Years Eve and wrote this poem.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rick Lupert has been involved with poetry in Los Angeles since 1990. He is the recipient of the 2017 Ted Slade Award, and the 2014 Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Distinguished Service Award, a three-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, and a Best of the Net nominee. He served as a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets for two years, and created Poetry Super Highway. Rick hosted the weekly Cobalt Cafe reading for almost 21 years which has lived on as a weekly Zoom series since early 2020. His spoken word album Rick Lupert Live and Dead featured 25 studio and live tracks. He’s authored 26 collections of poetry, including I Am Not Writing a Book of Poems in Hawaii, The Tokyo-Van Nuys Express, and God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion (Ain’t Got No Press) and edited the anthologies A Poet’s Siddur, Ekphrastia Gone Wild, A Poet’s Haggadah, and the noir anthology The Night Goes on All Night. He also writes and draws (with Brendan Constantine) the daily web comic Cat and Banana and writes a Jewish poetry column for He has been lucky enough to read his poetry all over the world. Visit him on Facebook.

Author photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher. 

by Angela Consolo Mankiewicz

In “Man of La Mancha,” Don Quixote sings
of the knight of the “woeful countenance” while
Cervantes, roused from endless siesta by strings
of pitches spinning his masterwork, hears vile,

barbaric sounds thumped by druid bards while
Spain’s poet ponders: Could such sounds be true
to my Latin tongue? No! Not words are these but vile
noise made by Celts. known to paint their faces blue!

He turns an earth-stained ear to a new, maybe true
sound, uneasy and sensual, lovelorn and dark,
a clumsy, un-Latin grief, unnatural and blue:
It is Wagner’s Siegmund, fleeing the bark

of wolves and men, calling himself “Woeful”; dark
becomes light when he claims a fateful sword
and his womb-mate, conceiving a hero to bark
at dragons, defy a grandfather-god and conquer

warrior maid Brunhilde, then die by greed’s sword:
the lust for power to rule an unhappy world;
she will order the pyre to purge and conquer,
redeem her hero-mate, her father-god, the world

like Dulcinea could not do, not in her world
of toiling riffraff with no recourse to gods:
she is the town whore, slaying dragons in her world
herself to save her windmill-slaying knight whose odes

to Goodness are yawned at by untrustworthy gods –
same as mortals, spiteful, vain, always on the prowl –
still her knight dreams of Victory, singing his odes
to Justice and Righteous Virtue while others scowl.

and scoff, unlike Woeful’s son who does not prowl,
write odes or dream but bets his guileless blood
stronger than fickle gods; his songs, his scowl,
his might and pure intent stand against a flood

of sin; this fearless son, this Woeful son, whose blood
yearns to serve the needful is sure no tragic
act can wound him – no spear, no fire, no flood –
he fights unsuspecting the wifely magic

shielding his every side but a turned back; tragic
finale, fitting for Wagner, waits for him. Strange
bedfellows, if bedfellows: Teutonic magic
and Latin romance. Woefuls, all of us, exchange

Athens for Sparta, Sparta for Rome and strange
uneven legacies, unspeakable futures; in need,
all of us; woeful, all of us, daring an exchange.
Which is which or better? No guarantee a deed

whipped from fairy tale and myth can ease the need
for hope, but we must have hope to calm wild strings
of will and debt, savage and pawn, honor and deed,
to ward off dread and not go mad, whoever sings.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “The Woefuls” is a conflation of two legends/stories and two artistic forms: Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote with the Norse/Germanic myth, “The Nibelungenlied,” and the Wasserman Broadway musical The Man of La Mancha with the second opera of Wagner’s monumental Ring Cycle, Die Walkure. Watching, but particularly listening, to the music of both the opera and musical, I was struck by the use of the word “woeful” in both works, so different, such odd worlds, and yet concluding on the same note.

IMAGE: “Visions of Don Quixote” by Octavio Ocampo (1989).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela Consolo Mankiewicz has published four chapbooks, the most recent An Eye, published by Pecan Grove Press and As If, from Little Red Books-Lummox. Publications include: Poets/Artists, Full of Crow, Long Poem Magazine (UK), Poiesis, PRESA, Re)Verb, BrooklynVoice, , Istanbul Literary Review, Arsenic Lobster, The Temple, Slipstream, Hawaii Review, Microbe (Belgium) Lynx Eye, Pemmican, ArtWord.  Other recognitions include two Pushcart nominations and 1st and Grand Prizes from Trellis Magazine, JerseyWorks, and Amelia. Her work has been included in the Lummox Press anthology The Long Way Home: Best of the Little Red Books (2009) and Obsessions: Sestinas in 21st Century (UPNE, 2014). The Grummel Book, her children’s stories, has been reissued on CD by SHOOFLY; Laura Hanson, a novella, was serialized by ESC!Magazine. In 2012, her chamber opera, One Day Less, music by D. Javelosa, was performed at the Broad 2nd Space in Santa Monica, California. She is also a contributing editor for Small Press Review. Visit her at

In this clip from the 1946 film The Jolson Story, actor Larry Parks lip-synchs “April Showers” to the voice of Al Jolson (1886-1950). With music by Louis Silvers and lyrics by B. G. De Sylva, the song was introduced by Jolson in the 1921 Broadway musical Bombo, and became known as the showman’s trademark. (Source:


Book and Lyrics by Spencer Gren and Gary Stockdale 

Music by Gary Stockdale

A completely irreverent, wacko, hilarious, tuneful, and, above all, raunchy musical. 

BUKOWSICAL started life as a 50-minute one-act in Los Angeles, was revised and expanded, and went on to the New York Fringe Festival, where it won the award for Outstanding Musical, and was later produced by New Line in St. Louis. The musical traces Bukowski‘s life from obscurity to international fame.

LA Weekly called Bukowsical! “riotously funny.” The Los Angeles Times called it “an uproarious romp.” Backstage said, “The production skims along, each number wrapping appalling bad taste in a perky, upbeat melody that makes dipsomania a lighthearted romp. . . It’s terrific fun and so wrong in all the right ways.”

Original cast recording of Bukowsical! available for $17.98 at



Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin

(Excerpt — listen to Judy Garland and Fred Astaire perform “Easter Parade” from the 1948 movie at

In your Easter bonnet

with all the frills upon it,

you’ll be the grandest lady

in the Easter Parade…

Oh, I could write a sonnet

about your Easter bonnet

and of the girl I’m taking 

to the Easter Parade.

Note: Fred idolized Judy (“She was simply wonderful…”) and Judy adored Fred — and you can see their mutual devotion in every scene of this classic musical.

Happy Easter to all!