Ken Page will have the blues beginning July 1, when he steps in for a recovering Ron Taylor on Broadway's It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.
Taylor, who helped create the revue of blues and jazz in regional theatres around the country, suffered a mild stroke June 11 but was expected to return July 27. Page, who appeared in Broadway's Cats, Ain't Misbehavin' and The Wiz, will sing Blues to July 25.
Taylor's understudy, C.E. Smith has gone on in his absence. Taylor's songs in the show include "Blues Man," "Let The Good Times Roll," "The Thrill Is Gone" and the physically-taxing show-stopper, "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man."
Coincidentally, Blues is the second Broadway show in spring 1999 to be affected by a cast-member's stroke. Ring Round The Moon was to star Irene Worth as the show's wheelchair-bound matriarch, but her stroke led to the full-time casting of Marian Seldes, who was only supposed to play the matinees. Seldes, like Taylor, earned a Tony Award nomination for her work this season.
Ain't Nothin' gained national attention this year when its number was cut from the Tony Awards broadcast due to time constraints. It was nominated for Best Musical, Best Book and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Taylor) and Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Gretha Boston). Producer Eric Krebs told Playbill On-Line that it is hoped Ain't Nothin' will pick up momentum and move to another Broadway house in the fall. For the week ending June 20, Blues took in $269,037 at the box office and filled 79.9 of seating capacity.
Page's fellow cast members are "Mississippi" Charles Bevel, Gretha Boston, Carter Clavert, Eloise Laws, Gregory Porter and Dan Wheetman.
For ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.