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Notes from the Producer

Bessie’s Blues is probably the biggest show we have ever done—certainly the biggest set. And with eight on stage (seven actors and one dancer) and five musicians—definitely the biggest. And did I mention the projections and the eight foot tall letters that spell BLUES?  With LED lights and video projected on the surface of the letters! Don’t want to give it all away before you see it, but honestly it’s going to be amazing.

Not to mention the incredible cast. Bernardine Mitchell returns after a triumphant fall production of Three Sistahs, along with Roz White (always the middle sistah), both of whom were in the original

production of Bessie’s Blues at Studio Theatre twenty years ago. Lori Williams (the stunning Ella in Ladies Swing the Blues-her performance recognized with a Helen Hayes Nomination), and the incredible TC Carson (remember that sexy lover in Two Queens One Castle at MetroStage a few years ago? and of course he can still be seen on television as Kyle in reruns of Living Single) both return to MetroStage. Actors debuting on our stage in this production are LC Harden Jr, Djob Lyons, and Stephawn Stephens all triple treats as actors, singers and dancers. Dancer Nia Harris joins the cast as well.

Bessie’s Blues is written, directed and choreographed by Thomas W. Jones II, who has been associated with MetroStage (in spite of living in Atlanta) for the past 14 years. Speaking of a triple treat (maybe quadruple since he is also an actor), he brings a unique, original voice to all of his scripts, characters, themes and music. His Three Sistahs last fall touched the hearts and souls and had audiences rushing home to call their sisters. His direction of Gee’s Bend garnered a HH Nomination for outstanding direction among other things, bringing the lives and music of the women quilters of Gee’s Bend into the lives of our audiences. Witness musicians “chasing the music” in Ladies Swing the Blues or in the words of Cool Papa “keep traveling…inventing…sweating…stealing seconds from destiny…tracing new footsteps…” from Cool Papa’s Party.

Tom Jones writes about themes, values and circumstances that all can relate to because they are timeless and universal. Specific stories, yet universal, timeless themes.  MetroStage is proud to present this body of work that touches our audiences leaving a memorable impression well into the future. It is what theatre is meant to be and what we at MetroStage intend to keep doing for the next 30 years.

Happy anniversary MetroStage and here’s to the future.

 - Carolyn Griffin, Producing Artistic Director

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