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"But really, with a lot of modern musicals, the music that you're working on in the musical is much more similar to pop music than it used to be. If you're doing Rodgers and Hammerstein, maybe it's a little bit different." --Jason Raize, Jessica Simpson and Jason Raize in Concert








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Carmen Jones
 
Carmen
                                Jones CD
Jason returned to the New York stage in early 2001 to play Joe in a concert presentation of Oscar Hammerstein II's 1943 musical Carmen Jones, presented as part of the York Theatre Company's Musicals in Mufti series. Carmen Jones reimagines Georges Bizet's opera Carmen among African Americans in the American South, pairing Bizet's original music with a book and lyrics by Hammerstein. Mufti's concert production played January 26-28, 2001, at the York Theatre/Theatre at St. Peter's.

 The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization summarizes the plot as follows: "In a Southern town during World War II, Joe, an army corporal, is stationed near a parachute factory where Carmen Jones is employed. This reputed hussy soon manages to steal Joe away from his fiancée, and the army as well, and they run off to Chicago together. But the fickle Carmen loses interest in Joe when she meets and successfully woos Husky Miller, a prize fighter on his way to the top. Mad with jealousy, Joe waits for Carmen outside the stadium the night of Husky's big fight to make a last desperate plea for her love. When she denies him resolutely, he stabs her to death in a rage of passion to the eerie accompaniment of the crowd inside the stadium cheering Husky's victory."
Musicals in Mufti is dedicated to presenting rarely-seen musicals, and their production of Carmen Jones marked the first time the show had been seen in New York in decades. In a TheaterMania feature, York Theatre Artistic Director Jim Morgan said, "We're privileged and incredibly excited to be doing Carmen Jones. It's a legendary classic of American musical theater, and a landmark in Mr. Hammerstein's career."

As Joe, Jason's songs included
"You Talk Jus' Like My Maw," "Dere's A Cafe On De Corner," "Dis Flower," and "If You Would Only Come Away." The cast also featured Suzzanne Douglas (best known for her role on TV's The Parent 'Hood) and Anika Noni Rose, who later won a Tony Award for Caroline, or Change and played Lorrell in the film Dreamgirls.

Friends of The Raize Resource submitted the following reviews:
  • Tracy: "Considering they only received their scripts this Monday and went out to give their first performance Friday, I'm truly impressed. They are [all] extremely talented individuals to pull it off so well."
  • Tess: "I was thoroughly impressed with Jason's vocal ability, since I'd only heard him sing pop music, and what an opportunity this was for him to show his even broader range. I'm talking operatic here, people! All along, I kept thinking, 'I can't believe he can sing like that.' I was completely mesmerized by the sound of his voice, that he could have sung the alphabet and made me cry."

Cast
Timothy Blevins
Husky Miller
Nora Cole
Frankie
Suzzanne Douglas
Carmen Jones
Tanesha Marie Gary
Myrt
Kimberly Harris
Ensemble
David Jackson
Rum/Ensemble
Marcus Maurice
Ensemble
Brandie Chavonne
Massey
Ensemble

Jonathan Earl Peck

Sergeant Brown/
Ensemble

Jason Raize
Joe
Anika Noni Rose
Cindy Lou
Brandon Singleton
Ensemble
Glenn Turner
Dink/Ensemble

Creative Team
Harold Scott
Director
Jack Lee
Musical Director
James Morgan
Scenic Design
John Michael Deegan
Lighting Design
Jim Morgan
Artistic Director

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