PERFORMANCE BEGIN SEPT. 24 AT ABRONS’ PLAYHOUSE THEATER
An interrogation of the first feature film with synchronized dialogue, The Jazz Singer.
Created by Nehemiah Luckett and Joshua William Gelb
jazz singer is a theatrical exhumation of the first feature-length “sound film” The Jazz Singer, reinterpreted by Joshua William Gelb and Nehemiah Luckett. Set on the Lower East Side, the 1927 film tells the story of a “jazz crooner” forced to choose between his immigrant Jewish heritage and his aspirations to become a Broadway star. Though the film is historically significant for its integration of synchronized sound, it is also remembered for its controversial use of blackface. Gelb and Luckett’s musical rendering offers a contemporary take on a distinctly U.S. American story, one that interrogates appropriation, assimilation, atonement, and whether escape from the specter of blackface is possible.
Directed by Joshua William Gelb
Composed and Music Directed by Nehemiah Luckett
Dramaturgy by Zhailon Levingston
Assistant Directed by Johnny Lloyd
Presented by Abrons Arts Center
Performed by Joshua William Gelb, Nehemiah Luckett, Cristina Pitter, Stanley Mathabane, and a different featured guest Jazz artist every performance.
Stage Manager: Lindsey Hurley
Assistant Stage Manager: Ellen Minchinski
Scenic Design by Jian Jung
Lighting Design by Marika Kent
Projections and Video Design by Lianne Arnold
Sound Design by Kate Marvin & Stanley Mathabane
Costume Design by Rodrigo Muñoz
Associate Scenic & Props Design by Brian Bernhard
Production Manager & Technical Director Sean McGrath
Guest Artists Curated by Alphonso Home
Produced by Frank Nicholas Poon
jazz singer was created in residence at Abrons Arts Center, with the support of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Art NY and sponsor Ben Feldman. It has been created through several developmental showings including Little Theater (feat. Joshua William Gelb, Nehemiah Luckett, and Moe Yousuf) and Prelude 2018 (feat. Gelb, Luckett, Tracey Conyer Lee, and Nathan Stevens).