The creative ferment of the Harlem Renaissance along with the economic impact of the Great Depression form the backdrop of Pearl Cleage's Blues For an Alabama Sky, which opens Apr. 3 at Old Globe for a one-month run. Seret Scott directs this San Diego premiere of a play which has been a success at numerous regional theatres in recent years.
Cleage focuses on a small group of friends: Angel, a struggling nightclub singer; Guy Jacobs a gay costume designer whose goal is to travel to Paris as an aide to Josephine Baker; Della Patterson, a social worker who hopes to open a family-planning clinic; Sam Thomas, a doctor at Harlem Hospital; and Leland, a recent Alabama transplant.
The group fights to keep its hopes and dreams alive in the face of the collapsing world around them. Bringing 1930s Harlem to life -- complete with such off-stage true-life figures as Langston Hughes, Adam Clayton Powell and Margaret Sanger -- Blues For an Alabama Sky dramatizes the passions and pitfalls of ordinary people living in extraordinary times.
Cleage's other plays include Flyin' West, which closed recently at the Pasadena Playhouse, Late Bus to Mecca and Chain, among others. Her first novel, "What Looks Crazy on an Ordinary Day," was a national best-seller and was named an Oprah's Book Club selection.
Scott was last in residence at the Globe directing John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler. She has cast Elisa Davis as Della, Michael Genet as Sam, Joe Latimore as Leland, Brendy Pressley as Angel, and Glen Turner as Guy. For tickets and information call the Globe at (619) 239-2255.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent