NEW YORK — “The Jazz Singer” may be silenced before hitting its first note.
The musical, being produced by Hy Juter and Marvin Krauss, has been on-again and off-again for weeks, according to casting and production sources. The producers still plan to bow “The Jazz Singer” — about the life and times of Al Jolson — on Broadway this fall, after a September pre-Broadway run in Boston. But production sources say that its future looks uncertain after a major investor in the $8 million show bailed out to the tune of $3 million two weeks ago.
Juter confirmed on June 18 that “there have been problems with a major investor,” but added that financing “was coming together nicely” and said that papers would be signed June 19.
This week, Krauss, the tuner’s co-producer and general manager, added that Jean Louisa Kelly, who most recently was featured in the TNT TV movie “The Day Lincoln Was Shot,” has been attached to play the part of Ruby Keeler, Jolson’s wife. Jolson is to be played by “The Life’s” Sam Harris.
Krauss confirmed the $3 million investor pullout two weeks ago, but said the financing had been restored via another investment group as of midweek last week. He declined in both instances to reveal who the investors were.
However, sources working on the show contacted this week said there had been no indication that it was moving forward.
A source at the tuner’s casting company, Stuart Howard Associates, said, “That production is on hold. There is no cast. There is no show.”
“They said that everyone should stop work on it,” said another production source, adding, “I haven’t heard anything since then.”
Jon Wilner, of LeDonne/Wilner & Weiner, an ad agency retained by the production, said he’d heard about the loss two weeks ago, but said, “I believe they got it back” last week.
Wilner said that a commercial had been made with Harris. Plans are still on to run the spot in the Boston market leading up to “The Jazz Singer’s” planned preview at the Colonial Theater there in September.
Janice Lippman, the Colonial’s general manager, said that she had no information about the musical.