Wise guys, jazz swing, Cuban beats and shady stories bring together pianist Roland Perrin's new theatrical show based on the New York Mafia's numbers man Meyer Lansky.
Bootlegging and a worldwide illegal gambling empire made Meyer Lansky a fortune. He was known as the ‘Mob’s Accountant’ and he had friends in high, and low, places in a 1930s New York City like Mafia boss Lucky Luciano. A descendant of Polish Jewish immigrants, Lansky was also a member of the Jewish Mob.
Now composer and musician Roland Perrin is setting out to dramatise the life and crimes of enigmatic underworld boss Meyer Lansky with the world premiere of ‘Lansky: The Mob's Money Man’ at London's Southbank Centre 27th April.
Perrin’s theatrical piece moves from the orthodox Jewish communities of pre-war Poland to jazz-age New York to the steamy decadence of Havana in the ’50s where Lansky had a gambling operation. Jazz, Jewish and Afro-Cuban music and film noir soundtracks form the fabric of the story.
Roland Perrin was drawn to the story through a recognition of parallels with his own father’s past, describing him as, "another get rich quick son of Jewish immigrants". Family life was, "full of double talk, taboo topics of conversation, obfuscation and lies. My childhood was heavy with rumours of money laundering, casinos, Italian associates and disappearances. There were sudden changes of address and even continents”, Perrin said.
A jazz pianist himself, Perrin has put together a narrated 'choral jazz drama' of nineteen episodes over two acts with the choir in multiple cohesive roles. His own Blue Planet Orchestra perform with David Temple’s Arts Council supported Crouch End Festival Chorus, vocalists Rachel Sutton and actor Allan Corduner who narrates.
David Temple says, “I am always on the lookout for fascinating subjects for commissions, and the life of Meyer Lansky is just perfect. Roland’s experience and ability in the world of jazz, as both a performer and a composer, will provide us with a work the like of which choirs have never experienced before. I simply can’t wait to perform it.”
For more information, please visit www.cefc.org.uk