"It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues," directed by Alfred Preisser, is the second production of New Haarlem Arts Theatre, the new professional theater company of CCNY.
Rousing musical revue is a concert tour through some of the greatest American music ever composed.
WHERE AND WHEN:
July 27 to August 21, 2011
Aaron Davis Hall (Theatre B), W. 135th Street and Convent Avenue (Hamilton Heights)
Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:00 PM, matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 PM.
Tickets $25 general admission, $15 students and seniors, $10 with CUNY ID.
Box office: SMARTTIX, (212) 868-4444, www.smarttix.com.
Free on-site parking is available in South Campus Parking Lot (enter at 133rd Street and Convent Ave.).
Subways: #1 to 137th Street or A, B, C, D to 135th Street.
Runs 2:10 (including intermission). CRITICS ARE INVITED on or after Saturday, July 30 (7:00 PM show).
DETAILS AND ARTIST INFO:
New Haarlem Arts Theatre (NHAT), the new professional theater company of City College of New York (CCNY), will present "It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues," directed by Alfred Preisser, from July 27 to August 21 at Aaron Davis Hall, located at W. 135th Street and Convent Avenue, Manhattan (Hamilton Heights). This will be the play's first New York production since its Broadway run in 1999.
"It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues," written by Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor, and Dan Wheetman, is a rich and rousing musical revue with songs ranging from African chants and spirituals to Delta and Chicago Blues. There are deeply spiritual numbers and raw and kinetic blues standards, with a healthy nod to the American popular song along the way. The score includes classics like "Crossroads Blues," "Goodnight Irene," "Fever" and "Let the Good Times Roll," together with iconic popular songs made famous by Robert Johnson, BB King, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday and more.
The revue originated in 1994 at the Denver Center Theater Company and was presented at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC in 1996. It opened in NYC in March, 1999, presented by the New 42nd Street, Inc. at the New Victory Theater, produced by Crossroads Theatre Company in association with San Diego Rep and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The New York Times (Lawrence Van Gelder) wrote, "Besides its cornucopia of splendidly interpreted song, 'It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues' is a potent blend of visual eloquence and historical sweep that engages the eye and touches the heart while its songs soothe the ear, occasionally work mischief on the funny bone and always raise the spirits." Subsequently that year, the show transferred to the Vivian Beaumont Theatre and ultimately, to the Ambassador Theatre.
Director Alfred Preisser explains, "This is all great iconic American music, performed concert style right at the audience. It's a meditation on all the great music from the American blues and jazz tradition." His production "will be danced a little more heavily than it was the first time around." There will not be pit musicians but a five-piece band (bass, electric guitar, keyboard, piano, drums) performing onstage, right alongside The Acting Company.
Productions of New Haarlem Arts Theatre are conceived and presented to connect outstanding talent from the New York stage with the best theater talent at CCNY in a professional working situation. Accordingly, the casts are always a mixture of New York working professionals (occasionally "name" performers), current CCNY students and recent graduates. The "working professionals" in this cast are three specialized performers: actor/dancer Dameka Hayes ("The Lion King," "The Color Purple"), recording artist Marvel Allen and performer/musical director Jeffrey Bolding (Choir Director of Abyssinian Baptist Church). Nathaly Lopez is a recent graduate of the theater program at CCNY. Shawn Brown and Darilyn Castillo are current students. Scenic Design is by Heather Wolensky. Costume design is by Mary Myers. Lighting design is by Brian Aldous.