Judaism in William Finn's Falsettoland Essay

Judaism in William Finn's Falsettoland Essay

Length: 3882 words (11.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Judaism in William Finn's Falsettoland

Judaism and Jewish culture have always been central to William Finn,
writer of a trilogy of short works following Marvin, a homosexual
living within the Jewish faith. Falsettoland itself forms the final
part of the trilogy whilst In Trousers and March of the Falsettos are
the first two instalments respectively. Christianity condemns
homosexuality within its faith, therefore, surely Judaism would take a
moral stand and condemn any theatrical portrayal of such events? Did
the Reform movement which began to grow in America in the 1830s have
any effect upon the time Falsettoland was written, and, if so, how was
Falsettoland as a music theatre work subject to such effects?

From the outset it is important to define the boundaries within which
the term ‘Judaism’ and ‘Reform Judaism’ will be used. This paper
focuses upon Judaism (be it Orthodox or Reform) within America and
does not focus upon the origins of Judaism in Europe. Although perhaps
some beliefs and moral standings were reflected across the Atlantic,
for the purposes of this argument this will be negligible.

When analysing the musical content of Falsettoland it is important
that one does not get carried away on the intended meaning, although
only suggested as a guide and personal response to the music, the
analysis is by no means definite and as the author intended.

We’re free to borrow from both European operatic tradition and
American musical tradition, toss out what we don’t need and invent
whatever creature we want, whatever we choose. And above all else,

Jewish life in America changed dramatically throughout the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries. The majority of Jews being those wit...

... middle of paper ...


Ø Storr, A. Music and the Mind (HarperCollins, 1997)

Ø Volkman, E. A Legacy of Hate: Anti-Semitism in America (Franklin
Watts, 1982)


Ø Finn, W. Falsettoland (New York: DRG Records Inc, 1990)


[1] LaChiusa, M.J. ‘I Sing of America’s Mongrel Culture’ in New York
Times 14 November 1999)

[2] Finn, W. Vocal selections from Falsettos (Warner Bros Publications
Inc, 1992) p.86

[3] Storr, A. Music and the Mind (London: HarperCollins, 1997) p.187

[4] Rossoff, R.D. What is Judaism’s view on Homosexuality? Accessed 10
January 2005

[5] Katz, L.. ‘What is a Bar Mitzvah?’ In Your Guide to Judaism

[6] Volkman, E. A Legacy of Hate: Anti-Semitism in America (Franklin
Watts, 1982) p.10

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

History of Judaism Essay

- Judaism is one of the most ancient religions in the world. Abraham, his descendants, and Moses are believed to have been the founders. According to Jewish beliefs until Abraham man worshiped many Gods. The story begins with Abraham and his wife Sarah trying to conceive a child. When Abraham was 99 and Sarah 90 God came to Abraham and told him they would have a son. After the child was born God again came to Abraham and tested his beliefs by asking him to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Isaac willingly went with Abraham to be sacrificed....   [tags: Judaism]

Term Papers
2136 words (6.1 pages)

Early Judaism: Messianic Claimants/Messianic Expectations Paper

- A messiah is a rather ambiguous term. It mainly means an anointed one; usually a messiah is considered to be a son of David and would reestablish Israel to what it once was. Because messiahs are anointed ones they would typically be Jewish priests, prophets and kings. However, a Messiah can also be a warrior, or a man of peace. (CITE) A messiah was to reestablish unity among the Jewish people and navigate through the hardships and oppression that they went through during early Judaism and bring a sense of freedom and relief....   [tags: Judaism ]

Term Papers
1650 words (4.7 pages)

Hasidic Judaism Essay

- Hasidic Judaism is a branch of Orthodox Judaism established in Eastern Europe during the 1800’s that put spirituality and a connection with God through mysticism at the forefront of its beliefs. In order to understand Hasidic Judaism, one must understand that Judaism is not only a religion; it is also a philosophy and a way of life for the Jewish people. One of the oldest monotheistic religions, Judaism has evolved over the years since the time of the founding fathers. Like any culture or religion, however, Jews have never been without conflict or disagreement amongst its people....   [tags: Judaism ]

Term Papers
1547 words (4.4 pages)

Why Judaism is One of the World's Most Enduring Religions Essay

- Why Judaism is One of the World's Most Enduring Religions Judaism has been around for many many years. This religion has been through some rough times and they have shown how their reliance on their god has helped them get through those times. There are many examples throughout there history that support this idea of their reliance on god. For one the Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians. Another example is when the Jews were persecuted in Eastern Europe because of their religion and many were even killed....   [tags: Religion, Judaism]

Term Papers
510 words (1.5 pages)

Judaism vs. Islam Essay

- Judaism and Islam are known to be two of the main religions that are found throughout the world. They each have similar traits and many more differences. They both are monotheistic, which means they only believe in one god. Muslims worship the God called Allah, which means in Arabic “the God”. And Jews worship the god called Yahweh, which means the God of Israel. Their differences include their core beliefs, rituals, symbols, and history. Muslims believe that the absolute deity is Allah. However, they also believe that there was a string of prophets sent by God to teach his word....   [tags: Judaism vs Islam Essays]

Term Papers
1159 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on The Timeless Tradition of Judaism

- The Timeless Tradition of Judaism The best way to understand the Jewish tradition is to dive fully into the primary sources that make up their religion. Over the course of storied Jewish history, texts have transformed along with understanding and law. As a religion primarily rooted in law and understanding of historical documents, knowing a Jew is as simple as picking up a document and reading their history, or so it would seem. The previously quoted text comes directly from the begging of the Maggid section of the Passover Seder, part of the Passover Haggadah....   [tags: Jewish Judaism Religion Papers]

Term Papers
1808 words (5.2 pages)

Parallelisms and Differences:Rastafarianism and Judaism Essay

- Parallelisms and Differences:Rastafarianism and Judaism The two religions of Rastafarianism and Judaism embody many of the same characteristics, as well as their ancestry. Although the Rastafarians, at times, inaccurately explain the bible, their belief in the Old Testament is still prevalent. Many of the customs are almost identical, but the rationale behind the traditions and laws contrast greatly. In 1933, when Leonard P. Howell was arrested for using"seditious and blasphemous language,"to boost the sale of pictures of Haile Selassie, he stated that Selassie was,"King Ras Tafari of Abyssinia, son of king Solomon by the queen of Sheba."1 Howell knew that in later years factual informatio...   [tags: Rastafarianism Judaism Religion Essays]

Term Papers
6351 words (18.1 pages)

Reconstructionsit Judaism Essay

- Reconstructionist Judaism The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation Web site (2008) states, "Reconstructionist Judaism is a progressive, contemporary approach to Jewish life which integrates a deep respect for traditional Judaism with the insights and ideas of contemporary social, intellectual and spiritual life." In this paper, the author will discuss the traditions and practices of traditional Judaism. She will also discuss what makes Reconstructionist Judaism different. The author will compare and contrast Judaism with Islam....   [tags: Religion Judaism]

Free Essays
2388 words (6.8 pages)

Essay on Reconstructionist Judaism

- Reconstructionist Judaism As the Jewish people moved into the 20th century, they found it hard to identify themselves with the birth of their four-thousand year old faith. Along with temporal distance from the Israelites, the Jews were at a spiritual distance. A changing world brought forth evolution in modern modes of living and ways of life; many Jewish leaders seized the reins and called for the evolution of Judaism as well. Movements with the goal "to concentrate and give organizational form to the elements of strength within all sections of American Judaism..." (Raphael 185) were championed in an effort to revitalize the Jewish community....   [tags: History Jewish Jews Judaism Papers]

Term Papers
2865 words (8.2 pages)

Essay on Judaism

- Hebrew religion began to give rise to Judaism after the destruction of the temple and the exile of Judah in 586 BC. The term "Jew," in its biblical use, is almost exclusively postexilic. The Jewish religion of the biblical period evolved through such historical stages as the intertestamental, rabbinic, and medieval to the modern period of the nineteenth century with Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism. Along the way Jewish religion took on new teachings and practices. But with the lengthy development of Judaism and its many changes it is incorrect to posit, as some have done, that Jewish history produced two separate religions: an OT religion of Israel and the postexilic religion of J...   [tags: Judaism Jewish Religion]

Term Papers
928 words (2.7 pages)