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Blues in the Night

Hackney Empire 291 Mare Street London E81JEJ
Box Office 0208 985 2424
Overground to Hackney Central, Buses 30, 38, 48, 55, 106, 236, 242, 253, 254, 276, 27

Chicago 1939 One man, three women, their lives, memories

and the music that gets them through the night…

The 13 performances will be directed by Susie McKenna, Creative Director at Hackney Empire, from Thursday 24 April to Sunday 4 May. The press performance will be on Friday 25 April at 7.30pm.

It is presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Ltd on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York.

The cast are Sharon D Clarke, Paulette Ivory, Gemma Sutton and Clive Rowe. Blues In The Night was conceived and originally directed by Sheldon Epps. The Director is Susie McKenna, Musical Director is Mark Dickman, design is by Lotte Collett, choreography will be by Frank Thompson, lighting by David W Kidd and sound design by Avgoustos Psillas. There will be a 5 piece live Jazz band.

BLUES IN THE NIGHT uses the great blues and jazz songs of the 1920’s and 30’s to explore the lives of three women and a saloon singer in a ‘cheap hotel’ during the course of a long memory-filled evening. The 26 songs celebrate the blues melodies of Bessie Smith, Jimmy Cox, Duke Ellington, Alberta Hunter and songs by Harold Arlen, Benny Goodman, Andy Razaf, Johnny Mercer and others.

BLUES IN THE NIGHT is sung through. The interweaving stories are defined through music, some raunchily forthright, some infectiously good-humoured and some poignant. Songs include ‘When a Woman Loves a Man’, ‘Wasted Life Blues’, ‘Taking a Chance on Love’, ‘Lover Man’ ‘Kitchen Man’ and the title song. It was originally produced in 1980 at Playhouse 46 in New York. The Broadway production, directed by Sheldon Epps ran at Rialto Theatre in 1982 and was nominated for a Tony Award. It was at the Donmar Warehouse in 1987, and transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre where it ran until July 1988, and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

Sharon D Clarke’s extensive career includes roles at the National Theatre including Odessa in ‘The Amen Corner’ for which she has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress Olivier Awards.

West End roles have been in ‘Ghost’, ‘Chicago’, ‘Rent’, ‘The Lion King’ and many others. She has just played Queen Talulah in the acclaimed ‘Puss In Boots’ Hackney panto. Paulette Ivory was last seen in the UK as Sandra Izsadore in ‘Fela’ at the National Theatre in 2010. She was also in the Broadway cast and in the filmed performance shown worldwide. Paulette played the title role in Elton John’s/Disney ‘Aida’ for the US tour and has played Nala in ‘The Lion King’ at the Lyceum. Clive Rowe was King Darius in the National Theatre/Marianne Elliott production of ‘The Light Princess’ and was in Harold Pinter’s ‘The Hothouse’ last year. Other roles include in ‘Kiss Me Kate’ at Chichester and the Old Vic in 2012 and in the original cast of Sean Foley’s Award winning production of ‘The Lady Killers’. Gemma Sutton has recently played Roxie Hart in the Curve Leicester production of ‘Chicago’ and she was Amber in the UK tour of ‘Hairpspray’ last year.

Tickets £25 - £10.00 Weds, Thurs, Fri: 7.30pm Sat, Sun: 4pm, 8pm
(Running time 2 hours including interval)

11 March 2014