Last chance to catch the award-winning London hit, Jolson: The Musical, in its Canadian mounting at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. The musical bio opened June 17 and was scheduled to run to Sept. 6 but, but due to ticket demand was extended to Oct. 25. No further extensions are possible because Opera Atelier's Orfeo & Eurydice will be coming in Oct. 29. Then the Canadian production of Rent comes to the theatre Nov. 25.
As for Jolson's success leading to its lengthy extension, producer David Mirvish said, "We have never had such an occurrence happen in the past, but then again, there have been very few shows as popular as Jolson."
Once Jolson closes in Toronto it's on to Sydney, Australia, for an opening there, probably with Brian Conley, Feb. 8, 1998. Melbourne will follow. A U.S. national tour is also in the works for 1998, to be handled by the Troika firm.
Aside from "about five minutes of cuts," the Jolson show and cast - Brian Conley as Al Jolson, John Bennett, Sally Ann Triplett -- remain the same as the London production that ran for two years. Conley will travel to Australia, though the rest of the cast at that point will be made up of local actors.
Rob Bettinson directs the musical, co-written by him and Francis Essex. Paul Jury servers as musical supervisor and arranger. Jolson was a blackface comedian who became popular for his soulful renditions of "Mammy," "Swanee" and other songs. Offstage, he was married to singer Ruby Keeler; onstage he called himself "The World's Greatest Entertainer."
Songs in the show include "Carolina In The Morning," "I'm Sitting On Top Of The World," "Toot-Toot-Tootsie Goodbye" and "Baby Face."
Jolson tickets are available thru TicketKing at (416) 872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333.
--By David Lefkowitz