For its final show of the season, Arkansas Repertory Theatre will again turn to musical biography. After having a hit last year with Always...Patsy Cline and an Elvis tribute with Idols of the King, The Rep now turns to Jelly Roll Morton with its own production of the Off-Broadway hit, Jelly Roll! The Music and the Man, running June 4-28.
Jelly Roll was penned by Vernel Bagneris (One Mo' Time, The Life), based on transcripts of Morton interviews at the Library of Congress. Bagneris starred in the Off-Broadway mounting, but at Arkansas Rep, Morton will be played by actor/singer/dancer Ronn K. Smith (of the Rep's Five Guys Named Moe).
Tackling such tunes as "Tiger Rag" and the aptly-named "Fingerbreaker" will be Chicago-based pianist, Paul Ozaro, in this mounting staged by Marion J. Caffey, who helmed Broadway's Street Corner Symphony earlier this season.
For tickets and information on shows at Arkansas Repertory, 601 Main St. in Little Rock, call (501) 378-0405.
-- By David Lefkowitz