One-man show brings jazz history to life
text: Chris Shyvers / image: Basil Sar
Jazz, a music style that originated in America and flourished for the better part of a century, is nowadays only really heard on the radio, or in a few bars here and there. One man, however, aims to bring it all back to life in “The Duke, The Count and Me,” a show presented by the Tabard Theatre Company.
A one-man show, James Creer is challenged to portray 18 characters, from Duke Ellington to Fats Waller and more, said Cathy Spielberger Cassetta, the director who wrote the script with Creer in mind.
“James is an amazing performer. He can sing. He can act,” Cassetta said. “Writing for him is in many ways very easy because he can do almost anything I can imagine him doing.”
A script written for one person changes constantly, Creer said, and “The Duke” was originally written for a cast of two.
Creer’s first one-man show, “Looking Over the President’s Shoulder,” was regularly sold-out and so well received that Cassetta decided to write “The Duke” just for him.
However, this role poses the new challenges of singing, acting and piano playing.
“She has upped the ante,” Creer said of Cassetta.
Music director Gus Kambeitz said fans of jazz can expect to hear everything from the ragtime era in the 1890s to the big band swing tunes of 1945.
“The Duke, The Count, and Me” will play at the Theatre on San Pedro Square starting this month from Nov. 1 to 23. Tickets range from $12 to $36.
“I think this is going to be my most challenging (role), because I love jazz so much and I love what I’ve learned,” Creer said. “And I hope I can rise to the occasion.”