Here's the REAL Dr. Don Shirley in rare 2001 concert footage performing George Gershwin's The Man I Love. He's played by Mahershala Ali in the movie "Green Book" with Viggo Mortensen as his driver Tony Lip. His choice of music reminds us of one of Jitterbug's themes: how the Depression and Prohibition threw people of all colors and faiths together to make musical magic and magical dance. In the dancical. two young Jewish songwriters, Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, are writing hit songs for the mob-ran Cotton Club's new 1931 revue, Rhyth-mania. Cab Calloway and his Orchestra are performing them with black performers. We also use Gershwin's Liza, the go-to number used by Chick Webb to "cut" any band that had the temerity to challenge his Savoy Ballroom house band in a Battle of the Bands. Only in America.
The free monologue is available at the Educator Resources link on the left. It's timed to a free video (available upon request through our Contact portal) that includes music and archival film footage.
By the Numbers the only thing Jitterbug! needs is Julie Taymor and an animal to be a hit Broadway show
So, going by these stats compiled into this Infographic by Ken Davenport of The Producer's Perspective, Jitterbug! has the potential for greatness by sharing 7 of the following attributes of the 20 Top Broadway Musicals:
Getting Julie Taymor or any of those other directors might be a stretch but finding a tap dancing dog that can jitterbug too may be equally difficult. We'll see.
The Jitterbug! Audience*: 532 Thousand FB Shares, 432 Thousand FB Likes, 30 Thousand FB Comments:
The Jitterbug, the Lindy, and the vernacular jazz dance steps that happen during the dances' break, are still alive, They're celebrated around the world with annual dance contests. There's even a swing dance camp in Herräng Sweden that's been around for 32-years and is booked solid for five weeks every summer. So, yes, Virginia, there is an audience for Jitterbug! and it's very big.
And wait till they get a load at that climatic Jitterbug! dance contest scene at the Savoy, little girl. They-- all audiences, even those who know little to nothing about the music and its dances-- will never be the same.
*FB stats for this video.
Tracing the Slow Drag's Roots
The Slow Drag is featured in Jitterbug!s rent party scene where the dancical's protagonists Billy Rhythm and Tharbis Jefferson get it on in a crowded Harlem tenement apartment. Here's rehearsal footage of that scene by Emmy nominated choreographer Jeffrey Page. Because Billy and Tharbis are professional dancers from the Cotton Club, they take it to another level. Khalil Kain and Afi McClendon are the dancers. Music is Jitis Blues by Memphis Minnie (1930).
The Blues and Jazz Dance Book Club (BJDBC) has an informed and thorough examination of the Slow Drag's roots and interpretations with archival and new videos. A Landscape of Slow Drag borrows on first-hand observations from dancers who actually danced it back in the day. It also has a great video by Damon Stone showing the evolution of the steps-- from dancing in place in tight juke joints to moving across a dance floor (attributed to Savoy bouncers forcing dancers to "evolve" the dance in order to keep Slow Draggers from blocking the Savoy's "flow").
This article was found on the muy worthy American Lindy Hop Championships.
Multi-hyphenate with a penchant for writing.