Camille Saviola, the actress known for Nine and Ragtime, will see her developing one-woman show, BlueLikeBillieHolidayOnAStormyMondayBaby, play Fridays-Sundays Aug. 11-27 at the 24th Street Theatre in Los Angeles.
The work, about a homeless woman's primal rants about modern life, is directed Jessica Kubzansky and produced for Godmother of Soul Productions by Sandelle Kinkaid.
"The show has changed dramatically," Saviola told Playbill On Line. "Jessica and I have worked hard on the show, dramaturgically, and we've cut most of the props and costumes. It has a different ending as well."
Designers are Michael Marlowe (set), Patrick Welborn (lighting), Max Kinberg (sound). Christopher Lavely is on piano.
Tickets are $10-$15. The 24th Street Theatre is at 1117 W. 24th Street (northwest corner of Hoover). For reservations and directions, call (323) 993-5717. *
Conceived and written by Saviola, BlueLikeBillieHoliday... is "a journey of a bag lady and all the characters that live within her psyche," she said.
Some of the characters in the piece were tested in a one-night performance in summer 1999, Saviola said, but the show in its fuller form made its world premiere Dec. 3-11, 1999, at 2100 Square Feet in Los Angeles. Another version of the work-in progress emerged in January 2000.
"It takes on issues of isolation, judgment, opening up the mind," Saviola said. "It's about not judging books by their cover and going deeper, behind the facades that are presented in the world. It's very stream of consciousness, very provocative," Saviola said.
Saviola is the vocal powerhouse who created the role of Emma Goldman in the world premiere of Ragtime in Toronto and appeared in Nine on Broadway. Since having a falling out with the Ragtime management (Judy Kaye went on to create the role of Emma Goldman on Broadway after the Toronto world premiere), Saviola has done some TV work, performed Brecht in L.A., a concert staging of The Rink in California and generally tried to "reclaim" herself in a "crossroads" period of her life.
Theatregoers remember her as the saucy Mama Maddelena in Broadway's Nine (and cast album), in which she sang "The Germans at the Spa." In the Nine tour, she was Saraghina (singing "Be Italian"). Her voice is heard in the "Songs from Ragtime" CD that pre-dated the 1996 Toronto staging.
Saviola performed mostly original roles in New York and points to Bloody Mary in New York City Opera's South Pacific as one of few revival roles she's played. She performed late-night solo shows at Manhattan Theatre Club and had some airplay with a disco single, "Keep on Shakin' That Thang." She still laughs at the memory of the latter.
After absorbing research about the social reformer Emma Goldman, for Ragtime, she's considered developing a one-woman show based on the figure.
-- By Kenneth Jones