Blind Lemon Blues at the Theatre at St Peter's
The York Theatre Company will present the Off-Broadway premiere of Blind Lemon Blues, created by Alan Govenar and Akin Babatunde featuring more than 60 Blind Lemon Jefferson songs. Performances begin 15 Feb 2007 and continue through to 25 Feb 2007, at The York Theatre at St. Peterï¿½s.
As Blind Lemon Jefferson, Akin Babatunde heads a cast of seven performers who sing, dance and bring to life one of Americaï¿½s great musical legends. The cast also includes Benita Arterberry, Cavin Yarborough, Alisa Peoples Yarbrough, Walter Fauntleroy, Liz Mikel, with guitarist Sam Swank.
In addition to performing, Mr. Babatunde provides direction, choreographic staging and musical arrangements developed in association with Cavin and Alisa Peoples Yarbrough.
Blind Lemon Blues celebrates the legacy of Blind Lemon Jefferson and his profound influence upon the development of American popular music. Jefferson was a blind street musician who played his guitar with a tin cup tied to its neck at the corner of Elm Street and Central Avenue in Dallas, Texas until a Paramount Records scout discovered him. Between 1926 and 1929, Jefferson made more than 80 records and became the biggest selling-down-home blues singer in America.
After seeing a workshop of Blind Lemon Blues, playwright August Wilson said, ï¿½I listened to the music of Blind Lemon everyday for five years. Blind Lemon Jefferson was the voice of Black America at that moment.ï¿½
Blind Lemon Blues is set in New York City in 1948 at the last recording session of the legendary Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly, and combines elements of traditional blues, gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, doo-wop, and rap to evoke the enduring legacy of Blind Lemon and his contemporaries, Blind Willie Johnson, Lillian Glinn, Hattie Hudson, Bobbie Cadillac, Lillian Miller and Leadbelly himself.
Prior to its engagement at The York Theatre Company, Blind Lemon Blues will be featured at the Guggenheim Museum as part of its Works & Process series on 11 & 12 Feb 2007.
The musical had its world premiere at the Forum Meyrin in Geneva, Switzerland, in February of 2004, and was featured as the opening of the Festival de Lï¿½Imaginaire in Paris, France in March of 2004. In 2005 Blind Lemon Blues made its US debut in November 2005 at the Hall of State in Dallas and returned to France for the Blues Sur Seine Festival.
Following its showcase at The York Theatre, Blind Lemon Blues will be presented in a nine-city tour to The Netherlands and Belgium by the World Music Theatre Festival.
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