Posted on 24 March 2015.
By Dustin Shrader
The Alliance Theatre will be presenting its upcoming production of Blues for an Alabama Sky, this marks the 20th anniversary, celebrating the production’s world premiere at the Alliance in 1995. The play was written by adored Atlanta author and playwright, Pearl Cleage (What I Learned in Paris, The Nacirema Society…) and will be directed by Alliance Theatre Jennings Hertz Artistic Director Susan V. Booth. “Blues for an Alabama Sky is a timeless look at hopeful dreams in the hopeless days of the waning Harlem Renaissance.” Opening night is Wednesday, April 22, 2015.
Taking place in 1930’s Harlem, Blues depicts the harsh realities wrought by the Great Depression, devastating the upbeat decade of the Harlem Renaissance. Disease and poverty monopolize the inspired bliss that helped to fuel a surge of African-American artists, writers, and luminaries. “Blues is a story with a rich cast of characters, scrambling to survive and make sense of their overlapping personalities, politics, and love. A classic by Atlanta’s own Pearl Cleage, as timely today as when it was conceived.”
The original production included Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) and Bill Nunn (The Spider-Man film trilogy).
“When Susan Booth told me she wanted to direct a 20th anniversary production of Blues for an Alabama Sky my first reaction was surprise at how quickly twenty years passes,” said playwright Pearl Cleage. “When the play premiered in 1995, my wish was simply for a successful first production. I’m happy to say that in the 20 years since Blues was commissioned not a single year has passed when the play was not produced on multiple stages across the country. My own involvement ended after that first production so having a chance to rediscover this play in collaboration with Susan, who is directing it for the very first time, offers us a unique opportunity to create something that is absolutely new. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!”
The current cast of Blues for an Alabama Sky features Crystal Fox as Angel. Fox appeared as Evie Madison in the world premiere of Cleage’s play What I Learned in Paris. Fox’s previous credits include Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots (Hanna Young), In the Heat of the Night (Luann Corbin), and the film Driving Miss Daisy (Katie Bell). “Fox was hand selected by Phylicia Rashad to understudy the role of Angel during the 1996 production and will now play the role for the first time. The cast also features Thomas Neal Antwon Ghant (Native Guard, A Christmas Carol) as Leland, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Angels in America) reprising the role of Guy, which he played opposite Phylicia Rashad in the 1996 production, Tinashe Kajese (Sticky Fly) as Delia, and Keith Randolph Smith (The Whipping Man, God of Carnage) as Sam.”
Blues for an Alabama Sky performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm, April 15 – May 10, 2015. There will be no 2:30 pm performance on April 18. There will be no 7:30 pm performance on May 10.
Opening Night is Wednesday, April 22, at 7:30 pm.
Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office in person or by calling 404.733.5000. Tickets are also available online at www.alliancetheatre.org/blues. Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 404.733.4690. Discounted rates are also available for members of the military, seniors, and students. The Alliance Theatre is located at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, at the corner of Peachtree and 15th Street.