The Arty Semite

From YouTube to Broadway

By Kelly Hartog

  • Print
  • Share Share

Singer-songwriter Michelle Citrin, perhaps best known for her YouTube hits “Rosh Hashanah Girl” and “20 Things to Do with Matzah,” has the Internet to thank for her latest gig: composer and lyricist for the Broadway-bound “Sleepless in Seattle: The Musical,” set to debut February 2011.

Photo by Christine Hawes

The show’s producer, David Shor, saw her YouTube postings and tracked down the diminutive, dreadlocked musician on her Facebook page, sending her an e-mail in September asking her to lend her musical chops to the production. She was asked to write a couple of songs as an audition.

After getting over the shock, Citrin contacted her good friend, fellow Jewish musician Josh Nelson, to co-write the audition lyrics. They sent Shor two songs, and “the next thing I know we’re flying to Santa Barbara to meet the team,” Citrin said.

The interview was a success, and Citrin and Nelson were asked to collaborate on the show’s music and lyrics.

Citrin is currently working with Hollywood veterans to bring “Sleepless in Seattle” to Broadway. Along with Shor, she’ll be collaborating on the lyrics with Michael Garin, a composer and lyricist who worked on the musical “Song of Singapore”; Jeff Arch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie and is writing the dialog for the production; and Joel Zwick, who will direct the show.

These days, Michelle’s incredibly busy, pulling all nighters on the collaboration – “sometimes [we stay up working] until 4 a.m.,” she says – and simultaneously juggling the upcoming release of her first album, “Left Brained, Right Hearted.”

So has this former medical school student finally convinced her family that she made the right choice by dropping out to pursue her dream? “I don’t know,” she laughs, “They still send me the latest articles about upcoming professions in the medical world and say, ‘Oh, you’d be so good at this!’”

Perhaps that’s something she can fall back on if her current career doesn’t pan out. If however, she wins a Tony Award some day, Citrin says, “It would be great to be the first person to get up on stage and thank my family and friends … and unleavened bread.”


Kelly Hartog is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She is the founder and editor of Scribblers on the Roof, a Web site devoted to writers of Jewish fiction and poetry.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rosh Hashanah Girl, Michelle Citrin, Michael Garin, David Shor, Broadway, 20 Things to Do with Matzah, Sleepless in Seattle, YouTube

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.