>Does Al Jolson's black-faced performance as Jackie Rabinowitz in THE JAZZ >SINGER (1927) accurately portray the situation for Jewish and other white >singers/performers of early twentieth century American theatre? Did they >"have to" perform in black-face in order to appear onstage as "jazz" >singers or "minstrel" comedians? Is that what audiences expected and >tradition dictated--for how long? Or, did whites (and blacks) also sing >and tell jokes in a similar way without black-face during the same period? > >These are some of the many issues that arise when I show my students THE >JAZZ SINGER as a glimpse of the minstrel show, black-face tradition and its >influence on modern musical theatre and film. I would appreciate answers, >speculations, and references that might illuminate our classroom >discussion. For example, one of my students here (a white Carolinian) >asked about the last, very emotional scene of the film Emotional for whom? , as the black-faced >Jackie sings "Mammie" to his Jewish mother in the theatre audience: "Is >that supposed to be funny?" > >Mark Pizzato >Dept. of Dance and Theatre >UNC-Charlotte >Charlotte, NC 28223 >[log in to unmask] >(704) 547-4488 >FAX: 704-547-3795 How about reading Michael Rogin's "Blackface, White Noise: The Jewish Jazz Singer Finds His Voice." *Critical Inquiry* 18.3 (1992): 417-453? Gloria Monti ---- Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the University of Alabama.