Music and Lyrics

Esta Cassway’s musical theater and oratorio works include “Kings” A New Musical, commissioned by Har Zion Temple, Penn Valley PA, book and lyrics by Esta Cassway, music by Elliot Weiss. (Full New York cast/ award winning CD) “Hear O Heavens (The Visions of Isaiah)” for choir and orchestra, with composer Robert A. M. Ross, commissioned by the Hebraic Arts Chamber Series of Congregation Adath Jeshurun for the Voces Novae et Antiquae Choir, Hazzan Eliot Vogel, soloist, “The Fallen Woman” commissioned by The Women’s International Hymnal 2001 “And The Child Spoke,” a sacred Micro-Opera , “On Wings Of Love,” a cabaret suite, and the CD and songbook, “Celebrate Life” Psalms From the Heart with music and lyrics intertwining familiar messages of faith found in the Psalms with everyday life experiences. “The Celebrate Life Ensemble,” performs this music nationwide. Performance pieces include the musical elegy “The Long Journey,” A Tribute to the Lost Children of The Holocaust.

Lyrics and Music by Esta Cassway

This recording passionately celebrates our life cycle journeys. Esta Cassway’s meditative and introspective texts have been given a mellow jazz orientation by arranger Dan Kleiman whose fresh approach faithfully and sensitively reflects their spirituality. Phyllis Chapell, with her soaring voice and captivating style, interprets this new musical genre with elegance and beauty. “CELEBRATE LIFE” Psalms from the Heart offers alternative music for worship services while also being seductively capable of providing an intense personal connection with all humanity. It is hoped that in this era of media learning, the universal messages found in these songs will provide an inspirational and enriching experience.

“CELEBRATE LIFE” is available through itunes
Listen to selections from “CELEBRATE LIFE”
Live Every Day

Child of Mine

Sim Shalom

Welcome to the World

Written and illustrated by Esta Cassway

The “CELEBRATE LIFE” SONGBOOK is available on Amazon and other sites

A New MUSICAL © 2001

Book and lyrics: Esta Cassway
Music: Elliot Weiss

“KINGS” began life as a commission by a prominent Temple on Philadelphia’s Main Line. With its full Broadway cast and splendid production it was a great success musically as well as financially.
Through the years it has also been performed in concert versions. The original production included a large gospel choir and cast. It has been recast for 15 which can expand or contract as a director sees fit.
Several songs in the book are not on the CD. They are found on the full score.
A CD of “KINGS”  is available.
Interested parties please contact for information regarding production rights.


The Prophet Samuel begins the  show reminiscing, in song, about Israel. He resides, along with the rest of the biblical Prophets, at the exclusive Heavenly Rest Retirement Community. Two Prophets, Jeremiah and Elijah, jog on stage looking for a fourth for tennis. Sam, not into fitness due to bad knees, declines doubles.  He says the best thing about where he lives now is that he can go anywhere he wants without exerting himself, even back in time. (We find that after 3000 years he’s still on call waiting for orders from the Big Boss. These come by way of thunderous BEEPS. Samuel interacts with THE BEEP and deference is not always his strong suit.)

Murray, a deli guy from New York, is suddenly thrust on stage. Having been told by his accountant that he was about to make a profit, he had chest pains and finds himself next to the men in togas. After being introduced by Samuel, The Prophets jog away to look for Ezekiel who is busy writing his newest novel about wheels and aliens. As they leave, they tell Sam that the least he can do for his health is use an exercise bike. Two exercise bikes are on stage right.

A series of BEEPS informs Sam that Murray has potential  (as yet unknown) and he is ordered to teach Murray some history. Murray sees himself as an ordinary person, whose only specialty in life was feeding people. Sam informs him that the kings of Israel, his special interest, were also ordinary people who braved the unknown and made a difference in the world.

As Murray and Sam ride the exercise bikes, Sam tells the stories of kings Saul, David and Solomon, their triumphs, tragedies, loves and losses. Samuel has the ability to make these three men plus witches, wives, and children appear before them to make stellar appearances (enriched musically by The Company.) By stepping off their bikes and over an invisible timeline, Samuel, and eventually Murray, put in their two shekels worth with these rambunctious and often randy characters. Murray becomes less of a wise guy, coming out with humorous songs and perceptive comments. He’s also made quite an impression on THE BEEP who reacts heartily to his wacky sense of humor. Samuel becomes less pompous and more laid back. He even picks up some of  Murray’s modern day vernacular along with a few dance steps.

The two Prophets, who are also into Yoga, drive the narrative along with their own commentary in song. Murray interacts with them and his unique influence results in the forming of the hip singing group, “Murray and the Prophets.”  Murray thinks his potential may be in show business and that he needs an agent. The BEEP agrees and Samuel has to tell them both to cool it.

The Queen of Sheba makes a spectacular entrance and the entranced king Solomon now has an eager and highly entertaining partner with whom to conduct various forms of business. With her specialized help, Solomon builds the great Temple, the culminating episode in the lives of these three kings.

Through a series of vignettes, 16 dramatic, poignant, funny and/or upbeat songs for solos and Company, KINGS moves to the surprise ending where Murray finds his true self and how ordinary people can end up being kings.

• Elliot Weiss, New York composer, orchestrator and arranger composed the score for “KINGS.”
As a musical director, Mr. Weiss has conducted at Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, The Kennedy Center and at Wolf Trap. He was the musical director of the National Tour of West Side Story and has strong ties to musical theatre. Bittersweet: Songs of Experience had a successful 1 ½ year run Off Broadway, plus 6 months in San Francisco and a year in Los Angeles. It was the winner of The Manhattan Association of Cabaret Award for Best Musical, 1987 and was recently revived in Manhattan. He is the composer for Dori-The Life and Times of Theodore Herzl, a musical for chorus, orchestra, soloists, and narrator (Libretto by Eric Blau.) Mr. Weiss is the composer of the musical, “The Witch of Wall Street,” winner of the Eugene O’Neill award for Musical Theatre.

Together we have found the humor in history.

“Trust in tomorrow, Don’t sweat the small stuff. Each step a milestone, Our own legacy.
Ordinary people, In harmony,
Ordinary people, Like you and me.”

Historical context:

The year: approximately 1000 BCE. The Prophet Samuel was assigned the frustrating task of selecting a king for the demanding Children of Israel. One prerequisite: he had to be tall. When Saul showed up looking for lost donkeys, he fit the bill, at least size wise. His erratic mood swings were another matter. David, a shepherd, was summoned by Samuel to calm Saul down by playing his harp and singing original songs. David had to be especially vigilant around Saul who, without provocation, would occasionally throw a spear at him. Samuel, the original “kingmaker,” redeemed what he considered his failed effort with king Saul by secretly anointing the charismatic David. King David had a glorious reign, and began the building of Jerusalem. However, because he was also a warrior, he was not allowed, by religious law, to build a Temple. David’s son, king Solomon succeeded him and eventually built the first great Temple, with the help and seductive support of The Queen of Sheba. The time period of these three great kings is called “The Golden Age of Israel.” Although many kings succeeded them, only Saul, David, and Solomon left footprints of giants in the sands of time.
Kings Saul, David, and Solomon were not much different than our leaders today. They had triumphs and tragedies, sorrows and delights…… many delights. They were really a neat bunch of guys.
“KINGS” is irreverently reverent.

Listen to a selection from “KINGS”
The Late Lamented Murray

I Can Hear the Angels Sing

Rise Up My Love

A Tribute To Those Lost on 9/11  © 2006
Music: Charles Davidson ASCAP
Lyrics: Esta Cassway:
Poem: Charles Davidson:
This program is suitable for community and interfaith commemoratives

Nothing written can adequately pay tribute to the precious lives lost in the senseless tragedy of 9/11. However, when all social theories collapse and wars leave humanity in utter gloom, music and poetry have the power to uplift harried nerves and aching hearts.
It is hoped that “I LOVE YOU, GOODBYE” may be a fitting memorial to those we loved and lost.

The CD contains numbers 2, 3 & 4 (see below)
The order of the piece follows a VIOLIN INTRO:
1- Psalm 140 for solo voice (music: Charles Davidson)
2- “I Love You, Goodbye” a male and female duet (music: Charles Davidson and Dan Kleiman,
lyrics: Esta Cassway)
3- “Now From This Place” (a narrative-poem spoken by the leader, with keyboard music under the narration) poem: Charles Davidson
4- “Live Every Day” (a Gospel type anthem of hope and healing for soloists and ensemble) (Music: Charles Davidson and Dan Kleiman, lyrics: Esta Cassway)
5- Eil Malei Rahamim for solo voice (Music: Charles Davidson)
Time 29 minutes
Upon ordering you will receive:
A CD which can be played over a sound system:
Violin Introduction
“I Love You, Goodbye”
“Now From This Place” (keyboard under-music for the poem)
“Live Every Day”
A complete script (includes the poem “Now From This Place”)
Music for Violin Introduction
Chorded lead sheets for “I Love You, Goodbye” and “Live Every Day”
Under-music for the poem
Music for Psalm 140
Music for Eil Malei Rachamim

Cost: $500.
To order: Payable by check to:
Ashbourne Music Pub., Inc.
425 Ashbourne Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027
Charles Davidson: 215-870-7415

“I Love You, Goodbye” Creative Team

Musical theater and oratorio works include: “Kings” A New Musical, commissioned by Har Zion Temple, Penn Valley PA); “Hear O Heavens (The Visions of Isaiah)” libretto; the CD and songbook, “Celebrate Life” Psalms From the Heart; “The Magician Of Lublin,” lyrics and book for a new musical from the novel  by Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Music and poem by
Most recent recording: “Jewish Musical Works of Charles Davidson,” Naxos/ Milken Archive. Music  for  “The Magician of Lublin.”
Keyboardist composer and arranger. Film scores: “Fistful of Smoke,” “Blues 4 Kafka,”  “Bone Scratchings,” and “Offerings For Wallenberg.”  Until his untimely death last year, Dan was well known  in the world of jazz.

listen to  “I Love You, Goodbye”

Music and poetry by Esta Cassway

The Long Journey is a poetic narrative set to music. The poetry moves from the tragedy of the forced roundup, through the squalid journey by train, to the pain of childhood dreams lost and shattered, and the inevitability of the inescapable end.
The poems focus on the eternal experiences of motherhood and childhood, on dreams and hopes. They move us to consider our feelings for our own children, and they remind us that we must speak and live for the silent millions.
The Long Journey, with music, takes eighteen minutes.  Nothing written can adequately pay tribute to the lost children. It is the author’s hope that her words may be a flicker of light in the endless night.

THE LONG JOURNEY is being developed into a small illustrated book, a tribute to those brief lives whose stories continue to illuminate our consciousness. Portraits of some of the lost children are set against backgrounds of wallpaper from the time period. Upon researching these pictures, I actually came across  photos of some of the children whose names I had used in the last poem, “A Roomful of Stars.”  This made me even more determined to see this book in print

listen to A Mother’s Psalm



David Reubenowitz, Poland, age 15
Moshe Flinker, Brussels, age 17
Meierl, of Lithuania, age 3 years, 5 months, 5 days

In the dark that was their day a mother cried,”Rifkele, my darling, are you asleep?”
And the child with no cry,
Lone birdling lost, with eyes like stars, depths of endless night,
This child became a tiny bit of light, faint memory of a sun that hid in shame.

Juleska Farksas, Hungary, age 5
Lilia Morganthal, Germany, age 9
Eva Pickovna, Mynbenk, age 13

Out of these depths we call unto Thee, O Lord, but no one hears the silence of the endless night.
The stones weep.
A flower hangs its head.
The ground is cracked and filled with shattered glass.
Baby dark eyes lifted up and out, transported,
With her first and last sweet melody transported,
Joins the other glistening tears.

Yiyzhak Rodashevsky, Vilna, age 14
Eva Heyman, Hungary, age 13
Jacquot Levy, France, age 5

In the night, the endless night,
The mothers spread their wings and sing their lullabies.
One by one, with eyes like stars the lost ones find their way and reappear,
A mothers’ joy to watch them dance and shine, to be, once more, the light of fragile life.

Alena Synkova, Prague, age 16
Franta Bass, Silesia, age 13
Rifkele Gelbard, Germany, 1 day old

O children of the night, the endless night, we will rock you to sleep in our dreams.
We will hold you like a long, deep breath, and remember you with every sigh.
We will find the sun again for you, and our flowers will be yours to smile upon.
We will cradle you in our hearts, gently wipe the tears like stars,
And sing you memories.

“Hear O Heaven (The Visions of Isaiah)”
Libretto: Esta Cassway
Composer: Robert A.M. Ross
Performed by Voces Novae et Antiquae
Soloist: Hazzan Eliot Vogel
Portion: The Remnant Remaining

listen to an excerpt from Hear O Heaven

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