by Leonard Gill
What's it take for Shlemiel Crooks the musical to arrive, the perfect fit, on a Memphis stage? Anna Olswanger grew up the daughter of "Mr. Music of Memphis" himself, Berl Olswanger.
"We're hoping that after this second performance we — the playwrights, the composer, the lyricist, and I — will be happy with the script and can consider it finalized. Then we'll submit it to play publishers so that other theaters can license Shlemiel Crooks directly," Olswanger wrote earlier this week by email.
"But even before we get it published, I hope to contact Memphis theaters to see if I can interest one of them in a production. It would be great fun to present the musical in Memphis, because my dad, who was greatly loved in Memphis and dubbed 'Mr. Music of Memphis' by the local press, is the major character (as a kid)."
For some background on Shlemiel Crooks (the book), see Anna Olswanger's recent article in the Jewish Standard. For information on Shlemiel Crooks (the musical), go to the Poppy Seed site at kaufman-center.org/mch.