It Ain't Nothing But the Blues has moved from a sold out run at Off- Broadway's New Victory Theatre to a ten-week Broadway engagement at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center. The production began previews April 22 for a Broadway opening April 26 -- just two days before the Tony Awards deadline.
The show, produced by NJ's Crossroads Theater after being initially developed at the Denver Theater Center, traces the history of the "Blues" genre from its African roots to contemporary recording artists. The 12 member ensemble performs songs including, "Fever," "Strange Fruit," "My Man Rocks Me," "I Can't Stop Lovin' You," "Someone Else Is Steppin' In (While You Been Steppin' Out)," "Walkin' After Midnight" and "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man."
Producer Eric Krebs told PBOL (April 5) the reason for moving the show was obvious, "Standing, clapping, screaming audiences, a great review... and a sold-out run at the New Victory," Krebs continued "I knew we had something special."
But insiders speculate it isn't inconceivable for Blues to walk away with a Best New Musical Tony Nomination, considering other options would be the critically-panned musicals Footloose, Parade and Band in Berlin, along with Fosse and the upcoming Civil War and The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm.
The Beaumont's last tenant was the critical and commercial disappointment, the Harold Prince-helmed Parade. Blues was written by Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor and Dan Wheetman. Myler helms the cast including: Mississippi Charles Bevel, Gretha Boston (Tony Award winner for Showboat), Carter Calvert, Eloise Laws, Gregory Porter, Ron Taylor and Dan Wheetman.
The show is scheduled for a ten-week run, through the last weekend in June. The Tony Awards ceremony, traditionally a night that can make or break a show's financial success, takes place June 6, at the Gershwin Theater.
For tickets ($35-$65) or more information, call Tele-charge (212) 239 6200.
-- By Sean McGrath