Triple Threat

TITLE: JELLY'S LAST JAM

AUTHOR: MUSIC BY JELLY ROLL MORTON; LYRICS BY SUSAN BIRKENHEAD; BOOK BY GEORGE C. WOLFE

WHERE: BROADWAY

THE BOTTOM LINE: Dancer-singer-actor Gregory Hines redeems a muddled attempt to liberate the black musical.

The phrase "black musical" usually means either a gospel rafter-rattler or a nightclub evening of raunch and funk, typically highlighted by frenzied tap dancers and some enormous female singer with a voice like a howitzer. There have been exceptions that accorded blacks roles of dignity and depth (the richest emotionally, Dreamgirls, ironically was crafted by whites). But the norm is jumping and jiving, as in...

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