Saturday, September 3, 2016

I'm Glad I Went to to Arlington to See "Jelly's Last Jam"

After 20+ years, I've finally seen another production of one of my favorite musicals - Jelly's Last Jam. There has not been a revival on Broadway, but lucky for me and all who get to see it, there is a wonderful production going on right now at Signature in Arlington. 

I wasn't too sure that seeing the musical would still resonate with me even though I've listened to the OBC recording countless times over the year. After my trip to Signature though, I am happy to say that I continue to love this Jelly Roll Morton musical wholeheartedly. 

The Signature production gave me jazz. 
The Signature production gave me the blues.
The Signature production gave me tap.

I was blown away by Iyona Blake as Gran Mimi and her interpretation of The Banishment (one of my favorite tunes in the musical). Now Mark Meadows, a John Legend type of cutie, did not quite pull off arrogant, self loathing racist Jelly. However, seeing the jazz artist at the piano up close at the Jungle Inn made me an instant fan and makes me want to run and see him play at Dizzy's in November.  

The Signature production has enlivened my interest in this musical, and I would really love to see it resurrected on the NYC stage. 

So, here's to hoping. 

And here's to Armstrong, Ellington, Basie, Bolden, Bechet and MORTON. 

And here's to adding the Tony Award winning Signature to my theater radar list. 

Musical Numbers

Act One
Jelly's Jam 
In My Day
The Creole Way
The Whole World's Waitin' to Sign Your Song
Street Scene
Michigan Water
The Banishment
Somethin' More
That's How You Jazz
The Chicago Stomp
Play the Music for Me
Lovin's in a Lowdown Blues
Dr. Jazz

Act Two
Good Ole New York
Too Late, Daddy
That's the Way We Do Things in New Yawk
The Last Chance Blues
The Last Rites

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