New Musical, Swing!, Will Fly Into St. James Nov. 2, Open Dec. 9

News   New Musical, Swing!, Will Fly Into St. James Nov. 2, Open Dec. 9
 
The new Broadway music-and-dance revue, Swing!, will jive-jump into previews at the St. James Theatre Nov. 2 and open Dec. 9.

The new Broadway music-and-dance revue, Swing!, will jive-jump into previews at the St. James Theatre Nov. 2 and open Dec. 9.

Singer Ann Hampton Callaway, known for her swinging cabaret performances, is the centerpiece vocalist in Swing!, which is being supervised by Jerry Zaks. Zaks struck revue gold staging the rock 'n' roll show, Smokey Joe's Cafe. Lynne Taylor-Corbett will direct and choreograph the celebration of the 1930s and 40s dance craze that's lately become popular again.

The ensemble cast members have not been announced yet.

Musical director Jonathan Smith will lead the orchestra in a score of swing music (both classic and original). There will be about 20 numbers, ranging in style from traditional big-band swing to country-western, Latin and neo-swing.

Designers are William Ivey Long (costumes), Thomas L. Lynch (sets) and Kenneth Posner (lighting). Taylor-Corbett choreographed Broadway's Titanic and Chess, Off-Broadway's Song of Singapore and Randy Newman's Faust at the La Jolla Playhouse. She choreographed the films "Footloose" and "My Blue Heaven" and has choreographed for music videos, American Ballet Theatre and PBS' "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?"

Swing dancing and swing music, popular in the 1930s and '40s, have 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. Additionally, swing parties and classes have popped up around the nation.

Swing's producers are Marc Routh, Thomas Viertel, Richard Frankel and Steven Baruch.

TV audiences know Callaway's hip work as the singer-songwriter of the theme to TV's "The Nanny." She also wrote the lyrics to "I Dreamed of You," which Barbra Stresiand sung to James Brolin when they were married.

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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 in the Nazi era indulging in all things American (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).

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