Blues in the Night

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Thu Oct 21, 8:00pm
Fri Oct 22, 8:00pm
Sat Oct 23, 8:00pm
Sun Oct 24, 2:00pm
Thu Oct 28, 8:00pm
Fri Oct 29, 8:00pm
Sat Oct 30, 8:00pm
Sun Oct 31, 2:00pm
Thu Nov 04, 8:00pm
Fri Nov 05, 8:00pm
Sat Nov 06, 8:00pm
Sun Nov 07, 2:00pm

The soul of the blues wails out full and strong when Long Beach’s International City Theatre, in association with L.A.’s Ebony Repertory Theatre, presents the Tony and Olivier award-nominated, Sheldon Epps-conceived musical Blues in the Night. Directed by Ebony Rep producing artistic director Wren T. Brown and featuring music direction by William Foster McDaniel and choreography by Keith Young, Blues in the Night opens on Oct. 22 at ICT’s home in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. Performances will continue through Nov. 7, with two low-priced previews set for Oct. 20 and Oct. 21.

Set in 1948 in a rundown Chicago hotel, three women and a man — Jenna Gillespie Byrd (Recorded in Hollywood at the Kirk Douglas Theatre) as “The Girl with a Date,” Karole Foreman (Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Fences at ICT) as “The Woman of the World,” two-time Tony nominee Vivian Reed (Bubbling Brown Sugar, The High Rollers Social and Pleasure Club) as “The Lady from the Road” and Clinton Derricks-Carroll (original Broadway cast of Your Arms Too Short To Box With God, national tour of Dreamgirls) as “The Man in the Saloon” — share their stories about the misery and humor of life, love and the dogged determination to do more than just survive. The drama reveals itself through 26 hot, torchy, glorious songs by Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Alberta Hunter, Harold Arlen, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and more.

“This will be our second foray back to in-person performances this season, and we are thrilled to present this sweet, sexy, dynamite revue told entirely in the universal language of the blues,” says ICT producing director caryn desai.

“I am greatly excited to be back at ICT to direct Blues in The Night, and excited about the collaboration between our two companies,” says Brown. “When I first saw the show 30 years ago at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, it absolutely knocked me out and has stayed with me from that day to this. Examining the ups and downs of the human condition through stories dramatic and humorous, through dance, and with brilliant music as the centerpiece, it is our goal to deliver unbridled joy to our audiences during a very blue time.”

In 2019, Brown directed Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill for International City Theatre, with Foreman starring as Billie Holiday. That production proved to be ICT’s best-selling show in its 35-year history, transferring to Ebony Rep the following year. Now, the two companies have officially teamed up, with the production scheduled for a four-week, Ebony Rep run at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center following the run at ICT.

Blues in the Night runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., Oct. 22 through Nov. 7. On Sunday, Oct. 31 there will be a post-performance talk-back with the cast. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, Oct. 20 and Thursday, Oct. 21, both at 8 p.m. Tickets are $49 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and $52 on Sundays, except for Oct. 22 (opening night) for which tickets are $55 (includes a post show reception). Low-priced tickets to previews are $37. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 330 East Seaside Way in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call 562-436-4610 or go to InternationalCityTheatre.org.

Seating will be socially distanced (skipping rows as well as seats) and masks required as mandated by the County of Los Angeles on the date of each performance.