David “Dudu” Fisher (born November 18, 1951;) is an Israeli cantor and stage performer.
He is best known for his Broadway performance as Jean Valjean in the musical Les Misérables.
The son of a Holocaust survivor, Fisher was born in Petah Tikva, Israel. He began studying at age 22, after the Yom Kippur War and his discharge from the army following 3 years of service. Fisher studied at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music, and studied privately under famous cantor Shlomo Ravitz. He then took up the cantorial position at the Great Synagogue in Tel Aviv, followed by 4 years in South Africa. For over 20 years, Fisher was the cantor at Kutsher’s Hotel in the Catskills during the Jewish high holidays. In 2005 Fisher became the Chief Cantor of New York Synagogue.
After being mesmerised by the London performance of the 1980s hit musical, Fisher, despite no prior acting experience, requested the part in a Hebrew production of Les Misérables. He played its leading role, Jean Valjean, in Israel from 1987 to 1990, and made local fame.
He played the role on New York’s Broadway during the winter of 1993-4, and later at London’s West End, where he was invited to perform before Queen Elizabeth II. At both venues, Dudu was the first performer excused from Friday night and Saturday performances, as he is an Orthodox Jew and was not able to perform because of the Sabbath.
Other performance roles
Among Fisher’s other performances is his one-man Off-Broadway show, Never on Friday, an anecdotal work exploring the complications of his experience on Broadway as an observant Jew. He performed in many tours around Israel, the United States, and the world, particularly in Jewish communities, performing classics, as well as musicals, such as Over the Rainbow which toured Israel with Fisher performing 40 Broadway show tunes.
He performed for United States President Bill and Hillary Clinton, and for Britain’s Royal family, and the Thai Royal family.
He has also performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, with a performance televised in France, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Queens Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded an album of show tunes with the London Symphony Orchestra. He was the first Israeli artist allowed to sing in the Soviet Union before perestroika.
In addition to his stage and synagogue performance, Dudu Fisher has released over 25 albums, including songs in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English, many classics and cantorial pieces, as well as music for children. He also sang the part of Moses in the Hebrew version of Steven Spielberg’s animated film, The Prince of Egypt.
- Hatikvah (2005)
- Lehitei Yiddish Beivrit (Yiddish hits in Hebrew) (2005)
- Coming to America (2004)
- Prayers On Broadway (2003)
- Songs Of My Heart (2002)
- Mamenyu (2001)
- Odecha (1999)
- L’tav Ulchayim V’lishlam (For Good, For Life & For Peace) (1997)
- Never On Friday (1996)
- Az Yashir David (1996)
- Beshem Hashem (In God’s Name) (1994)
- Showstoppers (1994)
- The Malavsky Family Songs (1993)
- Mamma Loshon (Mother Tongue) (1992)
- Velvet Tiger (1992)
- Golden Chasidic Song (1992)
- Gift (1992)
- Tonight, A Musical (1991)
- Stairways To Heaven (1990)
- Over the Rainbow (1989)
- Yiddishkiet (1988)
- Elokai Neshama (1985)
- Golden Yiddish Favorites (1985)
- Childhood Years
- Raisins and Almonds
- Songs Of The Living
- Yiddishe Mamme
- Dudu Fisher’s Kindergarten (DVD/VHS):
- We Are All Friends (2000)
- From The Heart And Soul (2001)
- The Friendship Trip (2002)
- It’s The Thought That Counts (2003)
- From The Mouth Of The Infants
- Shabat Shalom
- Shana Tova
- And Thou Rejoice In Thy Feast