Singer Ann Hampton Callaway, known for her swinging cabaret performances, is the centerpiece vocalist in Swing, a new Broadway revue slated for October 1999 previews at a theatre to be announced. Jerry Zaks, who struck gold with the rock 'n roll revue, Smokey Joe's Cafe, will oversee director-choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett's production, filled with swing-style music (both classic and original) and a singer-dancer ensemble.
Taylor-Corbett choreographed Broadway's Chess and the film, "Footloose."
Swing dancing and swing music, popular in the 1930s and '40s, has resurfaced in the past several years. The up-tempo jazz-rhythm steps are danced in clubs, seen in music videos -- "neo-swing" is a term applied to such groups as Squirrel Nut Zippers -- and on TV commercials, including popular spots for the Gap.
Swing parties and classes have popped up around the nation.
Swing's producers are Richard Frankel, Thomas Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Jujamcyn Theaters and PACE Theatrical Group Inc. TV audiences know Callaway's hip work as the singer-songwriter of the theme to TV's "The Nanny."
Swing is one of three new musical projects cashing in on the revived craze in the next year. In January 2000, the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, is staging the world premiere of Swing Alley, about German kids in Hamburg indulging in all things American in the Nazi era (directed by Eric Schaeffer); and, in September 1999, Contact, about a desperate man who connects with a woman in a swing dance club, opens at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theater (directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, who has recently been working with the aforementioned Squirrel Nut Zippers on the piece).
-- By Kenneth Jones