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I saw the show in London a couple of times and once in Philadelphia and I agree that it was a great show; Brian Conley was outstanding in London but wasn't in the Philadelphia show. I strongly suspect that misguided political correctness was at least partly responsible for the decision to distance himself. As you may know, Brian Conley was absent from showbiz for a long period due to depression and so I'm glad to see him back, although I won't see him in fact because Strictly Come Dancing is not on my tele-viewing agenda! Harry Rhinehart and I met him in his dressing room after a show at London's Victoria Palace, and he couldn't have been nicer in talking about his role and signing our programmes.
It’s sad that Brian Conley no longer wants to talk about Jolson The Musical, he got a lot of good press out of the show at the time which I think helped his career. Allan Stewart who understudied for Brian and did a very nice job, is the opposite to Brian. Allan was happy to talk to me about the show, phoning me up for a long chat about Al Jolson. He was also happy to talk to Andrea about his Jolson performances and I understand that part of his interview will be played in Bromley later this month. A few years back he sent me a taped chat to play at the Al Jolson UK Festival. If that were not enough he also toured the UK as Jolson in Jolson & Co.
As I said, it’s a great shame that Brian has distanced himself from the role of Jolson but at least the other UK performer in that show was more than happy to discuss the show - including his thoughts on the blackface issue.
You're absolutely right about Allan Stewart, David. I didn't catch his performance as understudy in Jolson: The Musical, but I saw him in Jolson & Co at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. It was an excellent show and a great performance By Allan; he was gracious in signing a couple of programs for me and later sent me an autographed photo.
It's a personal choice of course Reg but I preferred Allan Stewart to Brian Conley in Jolson the Musical. In my opinion he has a much better voice than Brian. I was in contact with Allan recently and he tells me that he still includes a Jolson 'bit' in his one man shows and it goes down well. Thoroughly nice guy.
I saw Brian Conley perform as Jolson at London's Victoria Palace. Would have preferred to see a 'real' Jolson singer like Clive Baldwin in the show. Why didn't they have Clive do the show?
Great idea but I doubt very much that Clive would have had the pulling power that Brian Conley had and that would be the main consideration for the shows producers. Putting bums on seats is the name of the game.
I saw them both in the Toronto show (Jolson the Musical). They were different, and I thought, both were excellent.
The OP said that Conley was keeping the Jolson name alive by being on the show. Does anyone know what he meant by that? Has Conley mentioned Jolson on the show?
i can’t stand the show but I’ll watch it on catchup if I know he talks about Jolson