Blues in the Night

Critics

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Reviews: 1

Audience

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Reviews: 0

Sat Dec 04, 8:00pm
Sun Dec 05, 3:00pm

Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT), in association with International City Theatre, presents BLUES IN THE NIGHT, the Tony and Olivier Award-nominated musical conceived by Sheldon Epps. Producing Artistic Director Wren T. Brown (ERT’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill) directs this powerful and soulful blues celebration. Featuring choreography by Keith Young (ERT’s Five Guys Named Moe and The Gospel at Colonus) and music direction by William Foster McDaniel (Bubbling Brown Sugar, Timbuktu! and Ainʼt Misbehavinʼ, the limited engagement plays at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center (4718 West Washington Boulevard) in Los Angeles from now to December 5, 2021. Tickets are available at EbonyRep.org.

This luminary cast of four stars two-time Tony Award-nominee Vivian Reed (Broadway’s Bubbling Brown Sugar, The High Rollers Social and Pleasure Club) as The Lady from the Road, also starring Ovation Award-winner Karole Foreman (ERT’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, A Little Night Music) as The Woman of the World, Jenna Byrd (Recorded in Hollywood at the Kirk Douglas Theatre) as The Girl with a Date, and Parris D. Mann (Broadway’s Riverdance) as The Man in the Saloon,

Set in 1948 in a Chicago hotel that has seen better days, the interwoven stories of BLUES IN THE NIGHT evoke the misery and humor of life, love and the dogged determination to do more than just survive. The drama reveals itself through glorious songs by Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Alberta Hunter, Harold Arlen, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and more.

Reviews

After its recent run at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT), in association with International City Theatre, now presents BLUES IN THE NIGHT, the Tony and Olivier Award-nominated musical conceived and originally directed by Sheldon Epps. ERT’s Producing Artistic Director Wren T. Brown, a native Angeleno, directs this powerful and soulful blues celebration featuring choreography by Keith Young and music direction by William Foster McDaniel. The luminary cast of four stars two-time Tony Award-nominee Vivian Reed as The Lady from the Road, Ovation Award-winner Karole Foreman as The Woman of the World, Jenna Byrd as The Girl with a Date, and Parris D. Mann as The Man in the Saloon.

Set in 1948 in a Chicago hotel that has seen better days, the interwoven stories of three neighboring women looking for love while dealing with heartache and loneliness evoke the misery and humor of life, love and the dogged determination to do more than just survive. The drama of their lives in the mostly sung-through BLUES IN THE NIGHT reveals itself through glorious songs by Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Alberta Hunter, Harold Arlen, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and more.

Vivian Reed as The Lady from the Road seems to be the most comfortably satisfied with her life, having lived out of her costume wardrobe chest for years. Ms. Reed deserves her every moment in the spotlight as she shares her character’s heart and soul, especially during her comical rendition of “Take Me for a Buggy Ride,” which soon becomes obvious has nothing to do with a horse and carriage! That same unbridled desire also heats up the stage during Reed’s renditions of “It Makes My Love Come Down” and “Kitchen Man.”

Karole Foreman as The Woman of the World is gloriously dressed in high society style by costume designer Kim DeShazo, whose many, easy costume changes for the women take place onstage either in full view of the audience, behind a screen, or offstage in the case of Ms. Reed. Foreman’s worldly woman shares happy memories of her life among the wealthy during “Stompin at The Savoy” while she drowns her loneliness with an ever-refilled cocktail tumbler. But it’s her steamy rendition of wanting a “Rough and Ready Man” that allows Foreman to get down and dirty while still maintaining her classy style.

We first meet Jenna Byrd as The Girl with a Date as she hopefully sings “Taking a Chance on Love.” Of course, disappointment follows, leading to her heartfelt duet with Foreman about how to go on “When Your Lover Has Gone.” Later all three women get ready for bed remembering what my mama done told me about men, which leads right into “Blues in the Night,” in which they soulfully commiserate about being alone yet again.

As the three women interact to sing us their tales of woe when dealing with men who don’t appreciate their dedication to love, the other side of the coin is expressed by tap dancing man-about-town Parris D. Mann during his renditions of “I’m Just a Lucky So-And-So” and “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues.” His devil-may-care attitude speaks directly to the universal battle of the sexes from which there is no way out, much to the women’s lament, which is always sung to perfection with soulful harmonies and incredible belting power by Reed, Foreman and Byrd.

“I feel greatly fortunate to have assembled this extraordinary group of actors, designers, and musicians to come together in a work that examines and celebrates the joy and pain of the human condition,” shares Director and ERT Producing Artistic Director, Wren T. Brown. “Through stories both dramatic and humorous, through dance, and with some of the most extraordinary music of the 20th century, BLUES IN THE NIGHT will send you home with tickled funny bones, touched hearts, and unbridled joy during a very blue time.

” BLUES IN THE NIGHT continues through December 5, 2021 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 West Washington Blvd. in Los Angeles 90016 on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm; and Sunday at 3:00 pm. Regular tickets range from $40.00 -$50.00 and are available online at ebonyrep.org or by phone at 323-964-9766. Covid safety protocols are in place and will be updated in accordance with city, state, and federal regulations.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Culver City News - ...read full review


After its recent run at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Ebony Repertory Theatre (ERT), in association with International City Theatre, now presents BLUES IN THE NIGHT, the Tony and Olivier Award-nominated musical conceived and originally directed by Sheldon Epps. ERT’s Producing Artistic Director Wren T. Brown, a native Angeleno, directs this powerful and soulful blues celebration featuring choreography by Keith Young and music direction by William Foster McDaniel. The luminary cast of four stars two-time Tony Award-nominee Vivian Reed as The Lady from the Road, Ovation Award-winner Karole Foreman as The Woman of the World, Jenna Byrd as The Girl with a Date, and Parris D. Mann as The Man in the Saloon.

Set in 1948 in a Chicago hotel that has seen better days, the interwoven stories of three neighboring women looking for love while dealing with heartache and loneliness evoke the misery and humor of life, love and the dogged determination to do more than just survive. The drama of their lives in the mostly sung-through BLUES IN THE NIGHT reveals itself through glorious songs by Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Alberta Hunter, Harold Arlen, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and more.

Vivian Reed as The Lady from the Road seems to be the most comfortably satisfied with her life, having lived out of her costume wardrobe chest for years. Ms. Reed deserves her every moment in the spotlight as she shares her character’s heart and soul, especially during her comical rendition of “Take Me for a Buggy Ride,” which soon becomes obvious has nothing to do with a horse and carriage! That same unbridled desire also heats up the stage during Reed’s renditions of “It Makes My Love Come Down” and “Kitchen Man.”

Karole Foreman as The Woman of the World is gloriously dressed in high society style by costume designer Kim DeShazo, whose many, easy costume changes for the women take place onstage either in full view of the audience, behind a screen, or offstage in the case of Ms. Reed. Foreman’s worldly woman shares happy memories of her life among the wealthy during “Stompin at The Savoy” while she drowns her loneliness with an ever-refilled cocktail tumbler. But it’s her steamy rendition of wanting a “Rough and Ready Man” that allows Foreman to get down and dirty while still maintaining her classy style.

We first meet Jenna Byrd as The Girl with a Date as she hopefully sings “Taking a Chance on Love.” Of course, disappointment follows, leading to her heartfelt duet with Foreman about how to go on “When Your Lover Has Gone.” Later all three women get ready for bed remembering what my mama done told me about men, which leads right into “Blues in the Night,” in which they soulfully commiserate about being alone yet again.

As the three women interact to sing us their tales of woe when dealing with men who don’t appreciate their dedication to love, the other side of the coin is expressed by tap dancing man-about-town Parris D. Mann during his renditions of “I’m Just a Lucky So-And-So” and “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues.” His devil-may-care attitude speaks directly to the universal battle of the sexes from which there is no way out, much to the women’s lament, which is always sung to perfection with soulful harmonies and incredible belting power by Reed, Foreman and Byrd.

“I feel greatly fortunate to have assembled this extraordinary group of actors, designers, and musicians to come together in a work that examines and celebrates the joy and pain of the human condition,” shares Director and ERT Producing Artistic Director, Wren T. Brown. “Through stories both dramatic and humorous, through dance, and with some of the most extraordinary music of the 20th century, BLUES IN THE NIGHT will send you home with tickled funny bones, touched hearts, and unbridled joy during a very blue time.

” BLUES IN THE NIGHT continues through December 5, 2021 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 West Washington Blvd. in Los Angeles 90016 on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm; and Sunday at 3:00 pm. Regular tickets range from $40.00 -$50.00 and are available online at ebonyrep.org or by phone at 323-964-9766. Covid safety protocols are in place and will be updated in accordance with city, state, and federal regulations.

sweet - Shari Barrett - Culver City News - ...read full review