Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Theater Review: The Magical Musical Mystery Follies


How can you not love a show that opens with a joke: “Six Jews are playing poker…” Director and host Howard Teichman (also Artistic Director of West Coast Jewish Theatre) is the jokester, and he’s got a million of them. He returns throughout WCJT’s The Magical Musical Mystery Follies, offering humor and context to a wide-ranging collection of music, comedy, history, and yes, a little magic.

Teichman refers to himself as “Ed Solomon,” setting the tone for this dive into Jewish popular culture. The emphasis is on the celebratory side, but the mournful is not ignored.


LA Jewish Symphony and Choir


First up is a choral number, “Black into White/Havdalah,” beautifully performed by the LA Jewish Symphony and Choir, with a solo by Cantor Lisa Peicott. Then clarinetist Bob Brandzell performs “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Bei Mir Bistu Shein,” “My Yiddishe Mama” and other tunes, including several tied to holidays and special events. In between songs, he discusses klezmer music and its connection to Yiddish culture. (I learned that schmears are not just for bagels!)

Among the highlights of the dozen or so performances are:

  • An original story by actor/writer Shelly Kurtz, about a rabbi advising a congregant who’s fallen in love with a shiksa.


Melissa Brandzel


  • “Broadway from the Bima” with Melissa Brandzel


Sunda Croonquist


  • Comedian Sunda Croonquist, riffing on being black and Jewish (the Venn diagram includes “wigs, wigs, wigs.”)


Marcelo Gindlin


  • Argentinean Cantor Marcelo Gindlin of the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue sings the Trini Lopez hit “Cuando Caliente El Sol” and the Mexican classic “Besame Mucho.”


Ruthie Lane closes it out with “All That Jazz” from Chicago and the title song from Cabaret, noting she’d once played second lead in the latter show onstage in Los Angeles and “missed out on the good songs.”

Professionally shot on location (except for the choir, which performs on Zoom) and impeccably constructed, The Magical Musical Mystery Follies is a kitschy, entertaining, heartfelt and informative variety show that embraces everything Jewish.

The Magical Musical Mystery Follies, a fundraiser for West Coast Jewish Theatre, is available on Vimeo for $36 Saturdays, April 24, May 1, or May 8, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Reserve online at or call (323) 821-2449. Running time is about two hours.




Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen has lived in the Brookside neighborhood since 1993. She works as a freelance writer, editor and consultant. She's also a playwright affiliated with Theatre West.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest Articles

.printfriendly { padding: 0 0 60px 50px; }