Something special may be stirring in Boston. Still in previews, the Huntington Theatre Company's production of Pearl Cleage's Blues For an Alabama Sky, starring Phylicia Rashad and John Henry Redwood, reportedly is drawing full houses, selling more single tickets than usual preview runs, and audiences are "extremely enthusiastic." Blues officially opens March 15 and runs through April 6.
Directed by Kenny Leon Blues, originally premiered at the Alliance Theatre, where Leon is artistic director, as part of the Olympic Theatre Festival in summer 1996. It has since enjoyed runs at Hartford Stage and the Arena in Washington D.C.
Set in 1930s Harlem, the play follows the journeys of five characters who struggle to attain their dreams in the face of the Great Depression -- while Josephine Baker is living her dream in Paris.
Rashad, who appeared on Broadway in Jelly's Last Jam, Into the Woods, Dreamgirls, and The Wiz, is most widely known for her role as Claire Huxtable on TV’s "The Cosby Show." She currently plays opposite Cosby on CBS's "Cosby." In fact, Rashad has been present at the theatre only on the weekends, taping in New York on the weekdays. Crystal Fox, who has understudied the part in prior productions, has been rehearsing in Rashad's place for the rest of the cast.
Due to taping, Rashad was unavailable on Wednesday, Mar. 12, Wednesdays being the night Huntington traditionally schedules its openings. So the opening was bumped to Saturday night--a change that allowed playwright/actor John Henry Redwood to step in and play opposite her. Redwood was at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre on Wednesday night, attending the opening of his play The Old Settler. (See news story, "Hit NJ Settler Opens at Long Wharf").According to Blanco, Blues has no current plans for a New York production. Cleage's Bourbon at the Border premieres at the Alliance Theatre this spring. For tickets or more information about the Huntington Theatre Company production of Blues For An Alabama Sky, please refer to the regional listing on Playbill On-Line.