Blues in the Night, the Tony Award-nominated Broadway and London revue, will open at Arena Stage's Kreeger Theatre Dec. 14 under the direction of Kenny Leon, in a co-production with Dallas Theatre Center.
The legendary Washington, DC, nonprofit, one of the first regional theatres of the resident movement, began previews for the Sheldon Epps-created show Dec. 7. Performances continue to Feb. 3, 2002. The simple conceit of the musical has three blueswomen of varying ages contemplating life and love in a seedy Chicago hotel room.
Chandra Currelley plays "The Woman of the World, a singer in her prime whose popularity has started to fade," Cynthia Hardy plays "The Girl With the Date, a young country blues woman at the very beginning of her career," and Bernadine Mitchell is "The Lady of the Road, the mother of experience who understands that her career days are over, but strives to live in the present." Charles Bullock plays "The Man in the Saloon, the lover and husband about whom the women sing."
The score includes songs by Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Vernon Duke, Billy Strayhorn, Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith and more. Dwight Andrews is musical director. Patdro Harris choreographs. Epps, who is now artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, conceived and directed the original work, which was seen on Broadway in 1982-83 and in London, where is was nominated for Tony and Olivier awards, respectively. Leon, the Arena staging's director, helmed Blues for an Alabama Sky in the 1996-97 season. He is the former artistic director of the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta.
Designers are Vicki R. Davis (set), Susan Mickey (costumes), Ann G. Wrightson (lighting).
Tickets are $37-$54. Arena Stage is at 1101 Sixth Street, NYW, in Washington, DC. For information, call (202) 488 3300 or visit www.arenastage.org.
Following the Arena run, Blues moves to Dallas Theatre Center, where it plays Feb. 20-March 15, 2002.
— By Kenneth Jones