The Tony-winning actress is celebrating the life and music of Ethel Waters with excerpts from her upcoming one-woman show written in collaboration with Dennis Courtney, Hurricane Ethel.
Attendees can expect to hear Pinkins' renditions of such tunes as "Harlem on My Mind"/"Ole Man Harlem," "Heatwave," "I Got Rhythm," "Suppertime," "Stormy Weather," "Come Up and See Me Some Time," "Shake That Thing," "Lil Black Boy," "Moonglow," "Honey In the Honeycomb" and "This Joint Is Jumping."
About her new show Pinkins recently told Playbill.com, "I read both of Ethel Waters' autobiographies, 'His Eye Is On The Sparrow' and 'To Me It's Wonderful,' when I was 15. I decided I wanted to do her life story way back then. Thirty-five years of hindsight, it's remarkable how much of her future paralleled the life I had not yet lived. She was the first international superstar of any race. She crossed over in records because she was not a 'coin shouter,' she had a white sound, which I have as well. But by the time I got in the business, black women were required to manufacture a 'Black sound,' which was pseudo gospel as if all blacks come from the same faith and musical tradition. It's a joy to get back to my singing roots."
Tonya Pinkins earned a Tony Award for her performance in Jelly's Last Jam and has also been celebrated for her work in Caroline, or Change, Merrily We Roll Along, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Play On!, The Wild Party and Radio Golf. She is familiar to television audiences for her roles on "As The World Turns," "All My Children" and "Army Wives."
54 Below is located at 254 West 54th Street; doors will open at 9 PM. There is a $40 cover charge ($30 at the bar) with a $25 food and beverage minimum. For more information and tickets, visit 54Below.com.