World Premiere of
Ladies Swing the Blues
January 24-March 17, 2013
Ladies Swing the Blues, a world premiere with book and lyrics by Thomas W. Jones II and original music and arrangements by William Knowles will be in performance Jan. 24-Mar. 17 at MetroStage. The production explores the jazz folklore, mythologies and backstage stories of the 40’s and 50’s with four legendary jazz divas as they gather to commemorate the passing of jazz legend Charlie Parker.
The year is 1955. The place is New York City's 52nd Street, the cultural mecca of jazz in the universe. It is a place where music and mythology mingle in one unforgettable evening. Four jazz divas in the tradition of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, and Peggy Lee gather in a dressing room waiting to go on. From their lips we hear the tapestry of bebop, blues, and jazz in music, and the collective storytelling that gave rise to the mythic folklore of jazz mythology about Miles, Monk, Bird, Basie, Ellington and others including the one mysteriously known as the Jazz Baroness. Experience the many colorful personalities that define one of the most pivotal music periods of the twentieth century.
Click to download full press release.
Notes from the Producer
By Carolyn Griffin
Producing Artistic Director
Another world premiere musical opens at MetroStage, Thursday, Jan. 24. MetroStage Associate Artist Thomas W. Jones II, based in Atlanta, Georgia, has written some of our favorite shows--From Three Sistahs and Harlem Rose a decade ago to Cool Papa’s Party, a Helen Hayes Award-winning musical that premiered here in 2009. And now we are proud to present his latest, Ladies Swing the Blues, and boy do they swing! With original music and all new arrangements of some of the 1940’s and ‘50’s standards by another MetroStage favorite, William Knowles and a jazz band, MetroStage is Alexandria’s own version of Washington DC’s famous Blues Alley, except it has been transformed into Birdland, “The Jazz Corner of the World” in New York City, named for the legendary jazz musician, Charlie Parker.
Ladies Swing the Blues takes place the evening following the death of Charlie Parker in 1955-backstage at Birdland. Four iconic women in the tradition of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughan and Peggy Lee, reminisce backstage at Birdland about the musicians of the era- Charlie Parker (The Bird) along with Dizzy, Basie, Monk, Ellington and so many other legendary musicians who contributed to blues, jazz and even, in the case of Dizzy and Bird, invented bebop.
It is storytelling at its best, as we live the lives of these iconic musicians, revel in their musical genius and enjoy the best music of the era, as well as the original music of Knowles with lyrics by Jones. We invite you to Birdland to share the stories and lives of the most influential musicians of our time. Ladies Swing the Blues runs through March 17 at MetroStage-a jazz club in a converted warehouse here in the north end of Old Town.
published in Alexandria Gazzette Packet