A Conversation with Isaac Sutton

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A Conversation with Isaac Sutton

September 26, 2019
Isaac Sutton

Singer-Actor-Producer Isaac Sutton is an Israeli-based entertainer who is returning to Feinstein’s/54 Below on October 5th with his show, Broadway Israel, in the company of two amazing Broadway stars, Wicked’s Amanda Jane Cooper and Phantom’s Eli Ewoldt.

Isaac Sutton was in the Intelligence Force of the Israeli Army when he was asked to MC the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Unexpectedly, he was also asked to sing, and his love of performing was born that day. Sutton has introduced Israeli audiences to the Great American Songbook, and performs regularly at Israel’s National Theaters and with the region’s top symphony orchestras. He has been collaborating with Broadway stars and has brought performers including Carrie St. Louis (Wicked, Rock of Ages) and DeLaney Westfall (Kinky Boots, Sweeney Todd) to tour with him in Israel. Sutton is an MBA graduate with honors from Tel Aviv University, who received his musical theater training at Circle in the Square and Manhattan School of Music. He regularly produces his own shows in Israel and abroad.

Sutton’s most recent theater credits in Israel include the lead role of Bobby in Stephen Sondheim’s Company, Jason Robert Brown’s Parade at The Jerusalem Festival, the French musical Romeo & JulietteThe Mikado1776, and more. Over the last decade, Sutton has performed solo shows such as Las Vegas-Tel AvivBroadway & All That JazzTonight a Musical, and Shalom Hollywood.

Here’s our conversation with Isaac as he prepares for his Feinstein’s/54 Below gig.

We understand that you’re a champion of the Great American Songbook. We’re very glad to hear that, because so are we! How did you start your career?
I started my career as a performer while I was studying for my MBA at Tel Aviv University in Israel. I met a wonderful violin player of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the end of a concert, and shared with her my dream of singing on stage one day and having my own show. Till then, my only experience of singing live in front of an audience was when I was serving in the Israeli army and was asked to be the emcee and singer at the memorial service of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Drorit Valk, the violin player, introduced me to my very first pianist and I basically produced my first show ever called Broadway and All That Jazz filled with standards and show tunes. At the time, it was just me and a piano player. Seems like ages ago.
Amanda Jane Cooper & Isaac Sutton

What drew you to American theater music and the Great American Songbook?

Ever since I was a kid, I was always drawn to that type of music because it tells a story and comes from a character. Also, the fact that musical theater genre combined song, dance, and acting was definitely more intriguing to me. Born and raised in Israel, this was not the common music for a kid my age to listen to. But I didn’t care. I chose not to listen to the radio but rather play my own CDs which I had control over and those were all by American singers. To this day, people are surprised that I was raised in Israel because I missed out on some of the “Great Israeli Songbook,” but I guess you can’t win them all.
What kind of venues do you play in Israel?
The venues really range from intimate cabaret spaces that could fit 200 people to theater/concert venues which hold between 500 to 900 people. Actually, my last concert that I did in Israel just before coming here to New York was a concert in the park and that was in front of 6,000 people. So, it changes all the time and makes it even more interesting from a performer’s point of view.
You bring American musical theater artists to perform in Israel. And you also book them to perform here with you. What gave you that idea? How are they received by Israeli audiences?
I’ve always loved sharing the stage with other guest performers. It all started when I wanted to find a guest performer in NYC for my first concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below. My publicist recommended to book a local Broadway performer, and so I did. And that basically started the idea of Broadway Israel. I figured why not bring Broadway performers to Israel to tour with me? Audiences and the local media have embraced them tremendously time after time. There’s certainly a lot of excitement involved in this project. I honestly can’t wait to return to Feinstein’s and share the stage this time with Broadway stars Amanda Jane Cooper (Wicked) and Ali Ewoldt (The Phantom of the Opera). And for sure I’m excited for 2020 with new tours planned with Broadway performers.
Ali Ewoldt

We understand you’re putting together a mini tour of the US for spring 2020. What kind of audiences will you be looking to pull from? Which venues are on the schedule?

I’m planning on touring in spring of 2020 with another show called The Israel Prize. This is a show that I produced at the National Theater in Tel Aviv for Israel’s 70th anniversary which celebrates all of Israel’s prize winners in the field of music throughout the years. As some of you know, every Independence Day The “Israel Prize” is awarded in different fields of achievements and sometimes in the field of music. The mini-concert tour would include the East Coast and the West Coast as well.
Who is your favorite composer?
One of my all-time favorite composers is Michel Legrand. I was exposed to his music through Barbra Streisand, who sang many of his songs throughout the years. His melodies and ballads are just unbeatable. I remember when I was studying for my BA in economics I went to see him in concert in Tel Aviv, even though I had a huge test the following day. It’s definitely one of those concerts that I’ll never forget. That’s also when I first heard the song “I Will Wait for You,” which he composed for the movie The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Years later, I met him at The Jerusalem Theater and got to thank him for the inspiration.
Have you seen Fiddler in Yiddish currently playing in New York City?
I have seen Fiddler in Yiddish. I also saw the previous Broadway production of Fiddler a couple of years ago. And actually, in my upcoming show at Feinstein’s, Broadway Israel, I will be singing from Fiddler, both in Hebrew and in English!
If you could do one thing in the business, sing or produce, which would you pick?
For sure sing! This is what I love most. And yet, I don’t know if I would’ve been singing today if I didn’t have the producer side of me.. Bottom line is, I’m very grateful and fortunate to be doing what I love.