The Jazz Singer


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The Jazz Singer is a dynamic musical based on Samson Raphaelson’s 1925 Broadway play “The Jazz Singer”.  Filled with a variety of musical numbers that are sure to stay with you.  It is a moving yet lively production about an intergenerational conflict between father and son.

The Jazz Singer explores the internal coming of age struggle of a talented son’s passion for music interfering with his cantor father’s plans for him to follow in his footsteps.  After the youth runs away and finally gets his big break on Broadway, his mother shows up backstage on opening night to plead with him to come home to replace his ill father at that night’s Yom Kippur service.  What should he do?  Honor a father who has disowned him by throwing away his big chance on Broadway?

Samson Raphaelson first wrote this as a short story while at the University of Illinois after being inspired by the story of a young actor he encountered by the name of Al Jolson.  Raphaelson later turned the story into a Broadway play and sold the movie rights to Warner Brothers Studios.  Warner Brothers made film history in 1927 when they introduced “Sound” technology into The Jazz Singer, which became known as the first talking motion picture or “Talkie”.  Al Jolson, who had gone on to become a Broadway sensation, agreed to portray his alter ego in the movie.  When Al’s booming voice proclaimed his signature motto, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” from the screen, the silent film audience erupted into spontaneous ovation.  It was a phenomenon that would insure Al Jolson’s place as one of the greatest stars of the Vaudeville era.  Altogether, there have been three movie adaptations of the work, the most recent being an updated version in 1980 featuring Neil Diamond and his music.

The Jazz singer features wonderful musical numbers by various artists and coposers including Irving Berlin and George Gershwin (“Suwannee”).  All are period songs, many of which are associated with Al Jolson.  You’ll hear moving renditions of “You Made Me Love You”, “Baby Face”, “Mammy”, “I’m Sittin’ on Top of the World”, “I’m Just Wild About Harry”, and “April Showers”.  The Jazz Singer is filled with style and sentiment and is sure to give you an evening of pure entertainment.