Jazz Singer

Presented by Abrons Arts Center

"jazz singer is a theatrical exhumation of the first feature-length “sound film” The Jazz Singer, reinterpreted by Joshua William Gelb and Nehemiah Luckett.  Set on the Lower East Side, the 1927 film tells the story of a “jazz crooner” forced to choose between his immigrant Jewish heritage and his aspirations to become a Broadway star. Though the film is historically significant for its integration of synchronized sound, it is also remembered for its controversial use of blackface. Gelb and Luckett’s musical rendering offers a contemporary take on a distinctly U.S. American story, one that interrogates appropriation, assimilation, atonement, and whether escape from the specter of blackface is possible."

Digital Program

Directed by Joshua William Gelb
Composed and Music Directed by Nehemiah Luckett
Dramaturgy by Zhailon Levingston
Assistant Directed by Johnny Lloyd

Performed by Joshua William Gelb, Nehemiah Luckett, Cristina Pitter, Stanley Mathabane, and a different featured guest Jazz artist every performance. 

Scenic Design by You-Shin Chen
Lighting Design by Marika Kent
Projections and Video Design by Lianne Arnold
Sound Design by Kate Marvin & Stanley Mathabane
Costume Design by Rodrigo Muñoz
Production Manager & Technical Director Sean McGrath
Guest Artists Curated by Alphonso Home
Produced by Frank Nicholas Poon
Stage Manager Lindsey Hurley
Assistant Stage Manager Ellen Minchinski

Production photos by Ian Douglas & Josh Luxenberg


Stage Left "...with a stunning meta-theatrical art direction featuring sets by [You-Shin Chen], lighting by Marika Kent, costumes by Rodrigo Muñoz, projections and video design by Lianne Arnold, and sound design by Mr. Mathabane and Kate Marvin.  Together, these elements create an arresting multimedia mise-en-scène through which the story unfolds."

Plays to See

CultureBot In conversation: Joshua William Gelb & Nehemiah Luckett on JAZZ SINGER

Using Format