A regional theatre favorite, Pearl Cleage's Blues For an Alabama Sky ends its current mounting at Maine’s Portland Stage Company, May 7. Performances began April 11 for an opening April 14.
Sky is set during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1930s. Its focus is a group of friends pursuing various dreams. From a down-on-her-luck night club singer to an aspiring social worker hoping to open a clinic, to a costume artist who dreams of traveling Paris and designing clothes for Josephine Baker, all the characters character strive to pursue their dreams in a world that is rapidly crashing around them. The play looks at the passion of young, ordinary individuals in an extraordinary world.
Works by author Cleage have been produced at such regional companies as the Old Globe, Alliance Theatre Company, St. Louis Black Repertory Company, the Long Wharf Theatre and the Kennedy Center. Plays include Flyin' West and Late Bus to Mecca. Her first novel, "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day," was selected to be in Oprah's Book Club.
Lenora Pace has staged Blues in Maine, with Ralph Cole, Marcuis [sic] Harris, Bill Mitchell, Angela Nirvana and Charyl Pitts starring. Designing the show are Jay Delemos (sound), Cristina Ruales (costumes), Anita Stewart (set) and Bryon Winn (lighting).
For tickets ($20-$30) and information on Blues for an Alabama Sky at Portland Stage Company in the Portland Performing Arts Center (25A Forest Avenue) call (207) 774-0465. Next season at the venue, starting in September, will include the thriller Gaslight, followed by Athol Fugard’s drama, The Road to Mecca. Christmastime will bring A Christmas Carol, followed by the world-premiere musical, Leaving Queens, by Kate Moira Ryan and Kim Sherman (a piece developed at the company’s Little Festival of the Unexpected). Springtime brings The Compleat Wks of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and the Pulitzer-winning Wit.
-- By David Lefkowitz