‘Elie’s story is the American Dream — inspiring, educative, entertaining, and so Israeli!’

David Serero is a Moroccan-French baritone opera singer, actor, producer, stage director, philanthropist, and Ambassador of the Arts.

He has played more than 2,500 concerts worldwide, and lead roles in opera, theater and musicals such as in Cyrano de Bergerac, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Nabucco, Man of La Mancha, Richard III — and David has also starred in more than 100 films and TV series.

Having toured in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, David was honored in the 2017 edition of “Marquis Who’s Who” for outstanding achievement in the entertainment world and for his contribution for the betterment of contemporary society. Two year later, he was named one of the top most influential Moroccans by airline Royal Air Maroc, and received the 2019 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the Award for Diversity by the Unesco in 2020.

David followed up this honors with the 2020 BroadwayWorld Awards for Best Performer of the decade, Best Producer of a Musical of the decade, and Best Producer of a Play of the decade. The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, awarded him with the Certificate of Recognition for his contributions to the City of New York as well.

In 2021, David released The United States of Fashion Designer Elie Tahari, which he produced and directed, about a young man who moved from Israel to the United States with $100 in his pocket, slept on the benches at Central Park, and went on to become a billion-dollar fashion mogul.

We caught up with David to learn more about his fascinating life!

IZZY: To an absolute stranger, how would you describe yourself?

David Serero: I’m a hard worker. I love to work, work, work. I dedicated my life to my craft, passion, which is to entertain audiences, whether through my singing, acting, directing, or producing. I love to make people happy.

IZZY: Where were you born and raised? What have you been doing for the past 5-10 years of your life?

David: I was born and raised in Paris, France. My dad is from Morocco. I moved to New York when I was 20 years old. Over the last few years, I established my brand in New York by bringing my theatrical productions where I take classics (of theater, musicals, opera) and make them modern with a Jewish touch, blending many universes such as standup comedy, opera, audience interaction, and more.

IZZY: How did you stumble upon the Eli Tahari documentary film?

David: I co-wrote and co-directed a musical with filmmaker Lisa Azuelos, called Lost in the Disco, in 2019. I’ve been aware that Elie Tahari loves disco music, and one of my artists, Lynna Davis, used to roller-skate with him. She kindly introduced us, and we instantly became friends.

As the producer of the New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, I wanted to have the work and legacy of Elie Tahari be recognized by his Sephardic peers. I organized a beautiful reception, preceded by an award ceremony where he received the Pomegranate Award for Lifetime Achievement; he was honored and touched by this recognition, where Israeli singer Meshi Kleinstein and myself both sang for him some surprises.

During the pandemic, I reconnected with Elie and offered to make a documentary about him, and he kindly accepted, and it turned out to be a fantastic adventure. The world is now discovering his unique story from his own words.

IZZY: What’s the one thing you learned about Eli after you made the film that most surprised you?

David: He never hesitates to use his “chutzpah” to make his way up and open every possible door. I admire and love him for that. From his most humble beginnings, to the top of the luxury world, he remains an “artisan” who still loves working with his hands and interacting with people.

That’s exactly what I wanted to feature in the film: His story from his parents in Iran, arriving in Israel as a refugee in the Ma’abarot absorption camp, moving to New York City in 1971 with less than $100, sleeping on the bench in Central Park, moving from job to job, always keeping his biggest smile and never complaining.

It also tells about Studio 54 and the disco life of the era and how much it influenced him and his sense of fashion. I also wanted to know about his creative process and what is happening in his mind! It’s like sitting with Mozart and witnessing how he creates his music. So the creative process of Elie is also part of the film.

Also, I was lucky to have a fantastic rainbow of great personalities connected to Elie, such as Fern Mallis (founder of New York Fashion Week), Melissa Rivers (Elie used to be a good friend of her mother Joan Rivers), Teri Agins (world-renowned fashion journalist from The Wall Street Journal), Dennis Basso and Nicole Miller (first-class fashion designers), and many more. Elie’s story is the American Dream. It is inspiring, educative, entertaining, and so Israeli!

IZZY: What else do you do in your life besides filmmaking?

David: I’m known for stage works as an opera singer, actor, director, and producer. Filmmaking is new to me; this is my first feature documentary, and trust me, I put all my heart and knowledge into it. I also added comedy and created a new way to interact with the storyteller.

I’m now receiving more offers to direct and produce features, documentaries, and TV series. I also received requests to direct filmed theater, as I know this universe well. I’m very excited about it! I love to write, direct, and produce for the stage from plays, musicals, and opera.

IZZY: What are your next plans, personal and professional?

David: The documentary about Elie Tahari is going to be screened at many film festivals throughout the world. It has already won several awards. A book about Elie Tahari’s life, with even more details than in the documentary, will be released in early 2022.

I now have a new musical, Scarface, The Al Capone Musical, where I brought jazz standards, hip-hop, musicals, and opera together. I’m also the founder and artistic director of the Opera Royal du Maroc (Royal Opera of Morocco), to bring opera productions in Morocco, and create the first operas in Darija (Moroccan language)

In addition, I have my record label where I produce and develop unique talents. I have also many productions returning to Off-Broadway, such as Anne Frank, a Musical written by Jean-Pierre Hadida, and several performances throughout the world. I miss performing so much. I never say “no,” and my door is always open. A new chapter is opened every day!

For more about David Serero, visit his website!

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