NYC's Jewish Rep Adds Jazz-Age Tunes to Jazz Singer, Oct. 23-Nov. 14

News   NYC's Jewish Rep Adds Jazz-Age Tunes to Jazz Singer, Oct. 23-Nov. 14 The Jazz Singer, the 1925 play that inspired the famed "talkie" moving picture with Al Jolson, will be revived Oct. 23 by New York City's Jewish Repertory Theatre, but this time the singer will sing.

The Jazz Singer, the 1925 play that inspired the famed "talkie" moving picture with Al Jolson, will be revived Oct. 23 by New York City's Jewish Repertory Theatre, but this time the singer will sing.

Period songs have been interpolated into Samson Raphaelson's three-act dramedy, creating a new musical play, directed by Richard Sabellico, associate artistic director of JRT.

Official opening after previews is Oct. 31. Performances continue to Nov. 14 at Playhouse 91, 316 E. 91st Street. The cast includes Evalyn Baron, Beth Leavel, James Murtaugh, Jimmy Peters, Ric Ryder, Reuben Schaefer, Seth Swoboda and Raymond Thorne.

The classic play, whose Jolson film version was only partly "talkie" (the first full talking picture came later), concerns a jazz-struck young man named Jackie Rabinowitz who chooses a music career (changing his name to Jack Robin) and the lure of Broadway over his family traditions, going against the wishes of his Jewish cantor father.

Playwright Raphaelson denied the story was based on Jolson's life. Designers for the JRT production are Tom Beall (set), Russell Mowery (costume) and Rich Lotta (lighting). Kirby Ward is the choreographer.

Tickets are $35. For information, call (212) 831-2000.

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The York Theatre Company will present a three-character look at the career of Al Jolson, when Jolson & Co., a new musical, begins Nov. 23. It was thought to be the first Jolson-related project (among the touring musical, Jolson, which had period songs and the in development Sam Harris project, The Jazz Singer, based on Jolson's life and not the Raphaelson play, with music and lyrics by Will Holt) to hit New York before 2000, but the JRT's Jazz Singer beats them all this fall.

-- By Kenneth Jones