Making the upcoming Tony nomination field for Unique Theatrical Event even more interesting — alongside operatic La Boheme and dance-ical Movin' Out — is Russell Simmon's Def Poetry Jam, beginning previews Oct. 30 at the Longacre Theatre. Certainly an unique animal for Broadway, the poetic evening features award-winning spoken word artists and DJ-ed hip-hop and jazz. Once an HBO showcase, Def Poetry Jam features the work of nine poetry slam veterans with DJ Tendaji Lathan spinning recorded hip-hop, jazz, R&B and gospel tracks. The poets' pieces range from hymns to love and poetry to comic works like performer Georgia Me's poem about her on-going war with Little Debbie snack cakes. Joining Me are Poetri, Black Ice, Lemon, Beau Sia, Mayda Del Valle, Suheir Hammad, Steve Colman and Staceyann Chin.
Def Poetry Jam, at least as theatre, debuted at San Francisco's Theatre on the Square in summer, 2002. Jam co-creator Stan Lanthan directed that world premiere and returns to helm the Broadway production.
Def Poetry Jam opens Nov. 14. All preview tickets will be $30. Afterwards, tickets will be $25-$65. For reservations, call (212) 239-6200. The Longacre Theatre is located at 220 West 48th Street. Def Poetry Jam is on the web at http://www.defpoetryjamnyc.com.