April 10 - May 12, 2013
By Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor, Dan Wheetman
Take a journey through time as this rich and rousing musical revue depicts the evolution of the blues from African chants through the Southern spirituals to the electrifying songs of postwar Chicago nightclubs. Nominated for four Tony Awards, this show captures the heart of American music and leaves the audience clamoring for more!
"Lifts you up, lays you out and leaves you screaming for more!" --Denver Post
"A nonstop, joyous spree of entertainment! " --Newark Star-Ledger
"If you're looking for a good time, you won't be disappointed!" --Baltimore Sun
"Looking for a sure cure to the blues? Latch on to a ticket for IT AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT THE BLUES. More than a musical feast... it 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." --The New York Times
It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
According to director/choreographer Harry Bryce, audiences of this show will be attending the best party of the season. At times, he states, you'll feel like you are sharing an intimate moment of pure storytelling; other times you'll feel like you are at a big, bawdy, high-octane concert. You are sure to tap, clap and move in your seats to the music in this rich, rousing revue that earned four Tony Award nominations in 1999.
The show celebrates the history of the blues and pays homage to the many artists who contributed to its continual evolution. It begins with raw, African chants considered the source of the blues. As the slaves came to America, they used music to remember their roots, praise the lord, and communicate in the fields while they worked. As African Americans migrated to other parts of the country, their traditional music picked up the sounds and rhythms of their new communities and incorporated their different struggles within the lyrics. The show's nearly 40 songs span many years of blues evolution from chants through gospel and Southern spirituals to the electrifying songs of postwar Chicago and St. Louis nightclubs.
As great artists like Ethel Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, B.B. King, and Koko Taylor played or sang the blues, their own style of delivery contributed to the many permutations of the genre. Mr. Bryce's choreography reflects the variations in style and the differing emotions expressed in this music.
Harry Bryce has developed visionary works as a director, choreographer, writer, and arts educator for more than 30 years. Harry has led dance companies in Richmond, Virginia, and in Atlanta where his original concert ballet Beyond the Canebreaks: MomentsIn the Life of Harriet Tubman performed to sell-out crowds and received national and critical acclaim at the National Black Arts Festival. In 1997 Harry founded the Memphis Black Repertory Theatre and served as producing artistic director for five seasons, during which he garnered 17 theater awards. Harry has directed for professional theater companies throughout the U.S. and was the recipient of the 2000 Carter G. Woodson Award of Merit for Lifetime Achievements in Performing Arts. Currently, Harry serves as an Artistic Associate for the Cumberland County Playhouse (the largest and oldest professional regional theater in Tennessee) where he has directed numerous productions for more than 10 years. He is thrilled to be back with WBTT to direct and choreograph his seventh show.