Blues News: Cast Album, L.A. Staging in November & the Return of Ken Page

News   Blues News: Cast Album, L.A. Staging in November & the Return of Ken Page It seemed inevitable: It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, one of Broadway's most vocal musicals, will indeed have a cast album, and co- creator and star Ron Taylor will be heard on it.

It seemed inevitable: It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, one of Broadway's most vocal musicals, will indeed have a cast album, and co- creator and star Ron Taylor will be heard on it.

In order to capture the mercurial, living essence of the show's jazz and blues performances, however, the album won't be a studio experience, but will be recorded live in front of an audience, Aug. 26-27, at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.

MCA Records, in association with Spencer Proffer, will produce and distribute the cast album. Release date is expected to be November.

The cast being captured on disc is the original Broadway company, including Tony Award-nominated Ron Taylor, who missed two months of show when he suffered a mild stroke in June. He returned to the show Aug. 24, for the final week of performances at the Beaumont.

When the production moves to the Ambassador Theatre Sept. 8, Ken Page, the Cats and Ain't Misbehavin' veteran who stepped in for Taylor over the summer, will return to the troupe. Taylor will go to Los Angeles to help open the Los Angeles company, Nov. 13-Dec. 19 at the Geffen Playhouse. Official opening at the Geffen is Nov. 21. Eloise Laws, of the Broadway staging, will be part of the Los Angeles production, according to director Randal Myler. There are no specific plans for a tour beyond Los Angeles, but there is hope, according to Myler.

The Broadway company also includes "Mississippi" Charles Bevel, Gretha Boston (who won a Tony Award for Show Boat), Carter Calvert, Laws, Gregory Porter and Dan Wheetman.

The musical, which was nominated for 1999 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Featured Actress (Boston) and Featured Actor (Taylor), was born and nurtured in regional theatres, including the Denver Center Theatre Company (where is began) and, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Crossroads Theatre Company and San Diego Repertory Theatre. It played Off-Broadway's New Victory Theatre before moving to the Beaumont at Lincoln Center.