New York City
Abrons Arts Center presents the world premiere of Jazz Singer, a theatrical exhumation of the first feature-length “talkie,” reinterpreted by director Joshua William Gelb and composer 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 becoming a Broadway star. Though historically significant for its integration of synchronized sound, it is mostly remembered for its controversial use of blackface. Gelb and Luckett’s musical rendering, featuring a different guest jazz musician each night, offers a contemporary take on this distinctly American story, one that interrogates appropriation, assimilation, atonement, and whether escape from the specter of blackface is possible.