Bubbling Brown Sugar

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Bubbling Brown Sugar
Music Various
Lyrics Various
Book Loften Mitchell
Basis On a concept by Rosetta LeNoire
Productions 1976 Broadway
1976 West End

Bubbling Brown Sugar is a musical revue written by Loften Mitchell based on a concept by Rosetta LeNoire and featuring the music of numerous African-American artists who were popular during the Harlem Renaissance, 1920–1940, including Duke Ellington, Eubie Blake, Count Basie, Cab Calloway and Fats Waller. Original music, including the title theme song "Bubbling Brown Sugar" was composed by pianist Emme Kemp, a protégé of the legendary Eubie Blake. It was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

The show was set in a Harlem nightclub of the 1920s-1940s. It originally played at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew, opening February 15, 1975, and running for 12 performances. It opened on Broadway at the ANTA Playhouse on March 2, 1976, and closed on December 31, 1977, after 766 performances.

Synopsis[edit]

Return to Harlem's golden days of black entertainment: The three middle-aged entertainers Irene, John and Checkers who had been in showbiz for many years meet a young couple Jim and Ella in Harlem. The entertainers lead Jim and Ella back to the days of Swing and Blues, when black entertainers in Harlem's nightclubs used to fascinate the white visitors, as it was in the extravagant Cotton Club, in Small's Paradise and in the Savoy Ballroom. With the youthful entertainers Irene, John and Checkers many legendary black show numbers come to life again.

Characters[edit]

  • John Sage/Rusty - Avon Long
  • Irene Paige - Josephine Premice (replacing Thelma Carpenter who left prior to Broadway)
  • Marsha/Young Irene - Vivian Reed
  • Checkers - Joseph Attles
  • Dusty Ella - Ethel Beatty
  • Carolyn/Gospel Lady/Nightclub singer - Carolyn Byrd
  • Jim/Nightclub singer - Chip Garnett

Songs[edit]

  • Harlem '70
  • Bubbling Brown Sugar (Vocal Arrangement by Chapman Roberts)
  • That's What Harlem Is to Me
  • Bill Robinson Special
  • Harlem Sweet Harlem (Vocal Arrangement by Chapman Roberts)
  • Nobody
  • Goin' Back in Time
  • Some of These Days
  • Moving Uptown
  • Strolling
  • I'm Gonna Tell God All My Troubles (Vocal Arrangement by Chapman Roberts)
  • Medley: His Eye Is on the Sparrow/Swing Low Sweet Chariot (Vocal Arrangement by Chapman Roberts)
  • Sweet Georgia Brown
  • Honeysuckle Rose
  • Stormy Monday Blues
  • Rosetta
  • Sophisticated Lady
  • In Honeysuckle Time, when Emaline said she'd be mine
  • Solitude (Vocal Arrangement by Chapman Roberts)
  • C'mon Up to Jive Time
  • Medley: Stompin' at the Savoy/Take The 'A' Train
  • Harlem - time
  • Love Will Find a Way
  • Dutch's Song
  • Brown Gal
  • Pray for the Lights to Go Out
  • I Got It Bad
  • Harlem Makes Me Feel!
  • Jim, Jam, Jumpin' Jive
  • There'll Be Some Changes Made
  • God Bless The Child
  • It Don't Mean A Thing (Vocal Arrangement by Chapman Roberts)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1976 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Vivian Reed Nominated
Best Choreography Billy Wilson Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Barry Preston Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Vivian Reed Won
Outstanding Choreography Billy Wilson Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Bernard Johnson Nominated
Theatre World Award Chip Garnett Won
Vivian Reed Won

Original London production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1977 Laurence Olivier Award Best New Musical Nominated
Best Performance in a Musical Charles Augins Nominated
Helen Glezer Nominated

References[edit]

External links[edit]