May 30 marks the birthday of Tony-winning stage and screen performer Tonya Pinkins. To celebrate, we're taking a look back at Jelly's Last Jam, the production which earned Pinkins her Tony Award.
Jelly's Last Jam opened on Broadway at the Virginia Theatre April 1, 1992. The musical was directed by George C. Wolfe with choreography by Hope Clarke and played 25 previews and 569 performances before closing September 5, 1993. The production earned 11 Tony Award nominations, winning three, including Pinkins' for Best Featured Actress.
With music by Jelly Roll Morton and Luther Henderson, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, and a book by Wolfe, Jelly's Last Jam tells the story of the troubled legacy of Jelly Roll Morton, a Creole man who claimed to have invented jazz but always shunned the black side of his heritage. His life and legacy are examined in musical terms as Morton faces death.
Gregory Hines starred as Morton, while Pinkins appeared as Anita. For a complete list of the opening night cast and creative team, visit PlaybillVault.com/JellyslLastJam.