The Sam Harris musical The Jazz Singer is positioned to hit Broadway this December, producer Marvin A. Krauss told Playbill On-Line. Krauss said he is currently negotiating for a Broadway theatre and may know the show's future home as early as the week of May 11.
The Jazz Singer, which traces the life of entertainer Al Jolson, would begin previews on Dec. 17 and open Jan. 7, 1999, after an four week, out-of-town tryout at Boston's Colonial Theatre, starting Nov. 2. Sam Harris is slated for the lead. Krauss said no other casting was set. Will Holt (Jack) wrote the music and lyrics and Sherman Yellen penned the book. Gabriel Barre will direct and Randy Skinner will provide the choreography.
The show intends to take a realistic look at Jolson's life, focusing particularly on his relationship to his father, his wife Ruby Keeler, his audience, and his ego. Also addressed will be Jolson's trademark propensity to perform in blackface. Holt will fill the score with songs written in the style of the popular composers of Jolson's day, such as Irving Berlin and Harry Warren. Also included will be various songs the singer made famous, such as "Swanee," "April Showers," "Baby Face," and "Toot, Toot, Tootsie! Goodbye."
Jolson (1886-1950), billed as "The World's Greatest Entertainer," starred in such hit musicals as Sinbad and Bombo. His made movie history in 1927 by appearing in the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer.
-- By Robert Simonson