What do comedian Jackie Mason, lawyer Raoul Felder and the son of the playwright who wrote Steambath have in common?
They're all involved in a new, Broadway-targeted musical about the life of songwriter Doc Pomus. Mason and Felder are co-producing Save the Last Dance for Me alongside Jyll Rosenfeld and Fred Krohn, while Josh Friedman (son of dramatist Bruce Jay Friedman) has penned the libretto.
Since Playbill On-Line last checked in with producer Felder in February 2001, further work was done to the script, although a planned workshop in Minnesota this summer did not work out. Co-producer Felder told Playbill On-Line Aug. 1, "We'd needed to do more preliminary work than we thought. So now we're doing the workshop this winter, we hope. One of our producers has a couple of facilities... It is our plan to come to New York before the end of 2002." No cast members or director have been signed, though several people have been interviewed.
Save the Last Dance for Me will feature more than 20 tunes by Pomus, including "Viva Las Vegas," "This Magic Moment," "Teenager in Love," "Lonely Avenue," "Boogie Woogie Country Girl" and the title song.
What's the Felder-Mason connection? Felder is the comedian's attorney and co-producer of his most recent Broadway show, Much Ado About Everything. Also, the two write editorials and op-ed pieces together and have even co-hosted the TV program, "Crossing the Line." What's the Felder-Pomus connection? Pomus, who died eight years ago, was Felder's brother. "It's not just a revue," Felder said of Last Dance back in April 2000, "it's his story. He was physically handicapped throughout his career. Plus, he was a white blues singer, when there was no market for it. Even so, he was a songwriter with wildly successful hits... Then in the 1980s, he stopped writing and became a professional gambler. But in the 1990s he started again, going to the roots of blues music. Now, you'll hear every rock and roll hall of famer singing his songs. There was a tribute album — his music is everywhere."
Felder told Playbill On-Line he got the idea for a Broadway musical about Pomus when he saw Smokey Joe's Cafe. "I saw Leiber and Stoller's show," Felder said, "and it was just a revue. I thought my brother's music was better, and it has a real story, not just `and then I wrote, and then I wrote...'".
Though there's no time-line yet on potential theatres or try-out dates, producer Felder told PBOL in April 2000 he had already raised nearly half the $4 million budget for Save the Last Dance for Me — "and we haven't even solicited yet," Felder noted. "We have over $2 million in pledges already. Everybody wants to get involved in this show."
- By David Lefkowitz