Broadway Shabbat and GatesFest make musical weekend for Gates of Prayer

GatesFest 2022

Shabbat will go Broadway at Gates of Prayer in Metairie on March 31 as Cantorial Soloist Jordan Lawrence debuts her “Broadway Shabbat” service, blending show tunes with the Shabbat evening service.

She will be joined by the Gates of Prayer choir and the Shabband for the 8 p.m service.

Because of her musical theater background, “this is something I have been wanting to do since I was interviewing” for the position, but because of the pandemic “it has just been an idea.”

The concept is to match show tunes with Shabbat prayers, trying to find thematic complements between the two. “A lot of shows are represented,” Lawrence said, as she tried to use numerous genres of musical theater, but sticking with a lot of classical works.

She finally put together a spreadsheet of songs and prayers that would work together, and “in the last several months put it together” so it could be done this year. The service will start with an opening medley. The prayer “Mah Yafeh Ha-Yom,” “How Good is the Day,” is set to the tune of “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin” from “Oklahoma.”

“Hashkiveinu,” about the shelter of peace, has the theme of “No One is Going to Harm You.” “Ma’ariv Aravim,” “who brings on evening,” is paired with “Some Enchanted Evening.” One pair that isn’t thematic is “L’cha Dodi” to “Mama Mia” from ABBA. And there are some tunes that need no changes, like “Sabbath Prayer” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Other featured tunes come from “The Sound of Music,” “Hamilton,” “Grease,” “A Chorus Line,” “Les Mis” and “Wicked.”

After the debut, she can envision other congregations using the service.

“I’m really looking forward to sharing this service with the community,” she said.


Marc Broussard, Cowboy Mouth and the Preservation Hall All-Stars have been announced as headliners for the third GatesFest Music and Arts Festival, which will be held on April 2 at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. Also featured will be the Lost Bayou Ramblers, Funk Monkey featuring Arsene DeLay, and Cap Carter, an Australian singer and songwriter making his U.S. debut.

Presented by the congregation in cooperation with Wells Fargo and Humana, the festival will feature food from top local restaurants, an Artist Village of over 20 local and regional artists, a Family Fest Area and a full day of music. Gates open at noon and the festival will continue until 7:30 p.m.

Krewe of Gatesfest and Composer VIP packages provide guests with private 10×10 tents in prime viewing areas that include a wide range of amenities, and a fully catered VIP Party with an intimate performance from one of the featured GatesFest artists the night before.

General admission tickets are $25. Children under 12 are free. Tickets are available here. Proceeds from the event support Congregation Gates of Prayer and the Gates Preschool.

The Gates of Prayer Preschool will also hold a Quack Attack Duck Derby. Rubber ducks can be purchased for $100, or two for $150, then decorated at GatesFest and placed into a duck pond. At 5 p.m., the ducks will “race,” with the owner of the winning duck taking half of the prize money. The other half will go to the preschool. The owner of the winning duck does not have to be present to win, or be in attendance at the festival.