Black and Blue (musical)
|Black and Blue|
|Music||W. C. Handy |
|Productions||1985 Paris |
1993 PBS Television
Based on an idea by Mel Howard and conceived by Hector Orezzoli and Claudio Segovia, it consists of songs by artists such as W. C. Handy, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Eubie Blake, and Big Maybelle and skits peppered with bits of bawdy humor.
The revue was first presented at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris in 1985 which included Sandra Reaves-Phillips. The Broadway production opened on January 26, 1989 at the Minskoff Theatre and closed on January 20, 1991 after 829 performances and 32 previews. Directed by Orezzoli and Segovia and choreographed by Henry LeTang, Cholly Atkins, Frankie Manning, and Fayard Nicholas the cast of forty-one singers, dancers, and musicians included Ruth Brown, Linda Hopkins, Carrie Smith, Savion Glover, Claude Williams, Roland Hanna, Grady Tate, Jimmy Slyde, Bill Easley, Jimmy "Preacher" Robins, Lon Chaney (the jazz tap dancer, not the actor) and Bunny Briggs. Dianne Walker was the show's curator and sustainer of the choreography and stage direction, as well as a featured dancer. In 1990, LaVern Baker made her Broadway debut replacing Ruth Brown for the last eight months of the run.
The score included "St. Louis Blues," "I Can't Give You Anything But Love," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Am I Blue?," "Stompin' at the Savoy," and the title tune.
Following the Broadway engagement, Howard took Black and Blue on two European tours, performing at such venues as The Chatelet Theater in Paris, The Thalia in Hamburg, Theater des Westens in Berlin, The Deutsches Theater in Munich, and The Carre Theater in Amsterdam.
A television production directed by Robert Altman aired on PBS in 1993. The Variety reviewer wrote:"'Black and Blue' never looked as good on Broadway as it does in Robert Altman's keenly observed, briskly paced small-screen version of the rhythm and blues revue. This is a slightly reduced edition of Altman's February 1991 taping at the Minskoff Theater, sold as a pay-per-view in Japan."
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1989||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Ruth Brown||Won|
|Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical||Bunny Briggs||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Claudio Segovia and Héctor Orezzoli||Nominated|
|Best Scenic Design||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Won|
|Best Choreography||Cholly Atkins, Henry LeTang, Frankie Manning and Fayard Nicholas||Won|
|Best Lighting Design||Neil Peter Jampolis and Jane Reisman||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lighting Design||Neil Peter Jampolis and Jane Reisman||Nominated|
- Rich, Frank."Review/Theater; Black Blues and Jazz"The New York Times, January 27, 1989
- Gerard, Jeremy."TV Reviews:Great Performances 'Black And Blue'"Variety (requires subscription), February 17, 1993