David Finkle Review
Posted by: wnpverona 05:26 pm EST 02/23/24

In David Finkle's review of Jelly's Last Jam (New York Stage Review) he says:

"The time may have come to reconsider the New York City Center Encores! series objective. Initially, the mandate was to look back at remembered—or sometimes forgotten—Broadway musicals of the past so that audience members who had seen them would have cheerful reminders and audience members who hadn’t seen them would be given an appreciative look at what they’d missed."

He then goes on to discuss Gregory Hines's tap dancing in the original show and why the current production doesn't really duplicate the 1992 production. Well Mr. Finkle, the original objective of Encores! was not to reproduce the original show but it was to present the SCORE for rarely performed musicals where the book may not be worth revisiting. In the first production from Encores! (Fiorello!), the men wore tuxedos and the women long black dresses. They held scripts. The book was truncated. Certainly not a reproduction of the original show. The score was the star (as was the orchestra). I contend that the current Encores! production of Jelly's Last Jam does a superlative job of presenting the score for this rarely performed musical. In addition it does have great choreography (I've rarely seen such tap dancing) and outstanding performances. If the tap dancing is not up to the standards of Gregory Hines (this is debatable) so what? Go see this production.

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