Dudu Fisher is known throughout the world for his stirring performance as Vean Valjean in the hit show “Les Miserables,” but his career began in his native country Israel many years before.
After three years of service in the Israel defense forces, fisher studied at the Tel Aviv academy of music and studied privately with some of the great cantors of the previous generation. He was only 22 when he was invited to become the cantor of the Great Synagogue of Tel aviv. Along with his synagogue duties, Fisher also traveled throughout the world, bringing traditional Hassidic, Yiddish and cantorial music to new audiences. During a trip to London in 1986, he happened to see a performance of the musical “Les Miserables.” It was an event that changed his life. When word was released of the show’s forthcoming production in Hebrew, fisher knew that he had to audition for the show. The fact that he had absolutely no experience working in the theater did not deter him for a moment. In true Broadway musical fashion, the British director of the Israeli version, Stephen Pimlot, chose the inexperienced Fisher for the lead role of Jean Valjean. The rest is history. “Les Miz” became the longest running show in Israel and fisher became a superstar.
His stardom is not limited to Israel. In 1988 he was invited to London to take part in a royal command performance hosted by the queen of England. The performance was a special version of “Les Miz,” featuring artists from the many “Les Miz” productions playing around the world. From there, the play’s producer, Cameron Mackintosh, invited Fisher to play the role of Jean Valjean on Broadway and London’s West End.
The role of Jean Valjean even took him to soccer’s world cup final at Wembly Stadium, where he and four other “Valjeans” were invited to sing.
Although Dudu Fisher is not the first Israeli actor to achieve success in the theater and musical world, Fisher did achieve a first of a different kind. As an observant Jew, he was the first actor on Broadway and the west end to be excused from performing on Friday nights, Saturday matinees and all Jewish holidays.
8th Day's Bentzi Marcus
Bentzi Marcus, along with his brother Shmuel, founded 8th Day, which is quickly becoming one of Jewish Music’s hottest new bands. The group has released three studio albums that get air play on the radio in New York and Israel.
They have played hundreds of shows across the globe, including in: Lincoln Center in Hong Kong, Montreal, South Carolina, and many more.
8th Day’s fresh and unique sound is complimented by their catchy lyrics (mostly English with some Hebrew and Yiddish mixed in) and their spirited vocal harmonies. Their mega YouTube hit “Ya’alili” was rated one of the top videos in Israel, the US and Australia.