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According to music historian Larry Stempel, "No one had heard anything quite like it before on Broadway." Author Stephen Banfield agreed, writing that Jolson's style was "arguably the single most important factor in defining the modern musical".
He would run up and down the runway, and across the stage, "teasing, cajoling, and thrilling the audience", often stopping to sing to individual members; all the while the "perspiration would be pouring from his face, and the entire audience would get caught up in the ecstasy of his performance".In 1909, Al's singing caught the attention of Lew Dockstader, the producer and star of Dockstader's Minstrels. Shubert, impressed by Jolson's overpowering display of energy, booked him for La Belle Paree, a musical comedy that opened at the Winter Garden in 1911. From then until 1926, when he retired from the stage, he could boast an unbroken series of smash hits." On March 20, 1911, Jolson starred in his first musical revue at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City, La Belle Paree, greatly helping to launch his career as a singer.Al accepted Dockstader's offer and became a regular blackface performer. The opening night drew a huge crowd to the theater, and that evening Jolson gained audience popularity by singing old Stephen Foster songs in blackface.Asa gave a remarkable performance of "Be My Baby Bumble Bee" and the producer agreed to keep him for future shows.Unfortunately, the show closed by the end of the year. During their time with Palmer, they were able to gain bookings in a nationwide tour.