Rubicon Theatre Company celebrates Black History Month with THE DEVIL’S MUSIC: THE LIFE AND BLUES OF BESSIE SMITH, starring singer and actress Miche Braden of the original Off-Broadway production (named one of the 10 Best Off-Broadway productions of the year by the N.Y. Daily Times). Described by CBC as a, “bawdy, bluesy, boozy rollicking night out at the theatre,” the show follows the life, loves and career of blues and jazz singer Bessie Smith, called the “Empress of the Blues.”
THE DEVIL’S MUSIC: THE LIFE AND BLUES OF BESSIE SMITH is conceived and directed by Joe Brancato of Penguin Rep, and written by Angelo Parra.Set in 1937 in Memphis, Bessie and her musicians have been turned away from performing at a “Whites-Only” theatre, then finding a hospitable gin joint where Bessie recounts her incredible journey from an impoverished childhood in Chattanooga, to her fortuitous rise as a show-stopping singer. Laughter, pathos and music all come together to deliver an electric, entertaining and surprisingly touching evening in which Bessie sings signature songs such as “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Baby Doll” and “T’ain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do.” Braden is joined by musicians Gerard Gibbs on Piano, Anthony Nelson Jr. on Sax and James Hankins on Bass.Gibbs also plays Pickle, who serves as narrator and guide at times, while coaxing Bessie to tell her story.
Says Rubicon Producing Artistic Director Karyl Lynn Burns, “We are thrilled to celebrate Black History Month with this triumphant and turbulent story about a woman whose life was as large and as outrageous as her talent. She was unapologetically herself and carved out a unique place in history, influencing and inspiring hundreds of notable artists who followed her (including Janis Joplin, who bought the tombstone for Bessie’s unmarked grave.”