Photo Flash: Lillias White, Richard Kind and More at Bay Street's BIG MAYBELLE Opening Night!
The musical BIG MAYBELLE: SOUL OF THE BLUES features Tony Award winner White starring as legendary blues singer MayBelle Smith and is written and directed by Paul Levine. Michael Mitchell is the Musical Director; Orchestrations are by Musical Supervisor Kenny Seymour. The show runs now through Sunday, September 2.
The legendary blues singer MayBelle Smith was a big woman with even bigger talent and took on all the challenges that 1950s America had to give.
Paul Levine (writer/director) won Best Director and Production of the Year awards from Daily Variety, Drama-logue Award and the L.A. Weekly, and a Best Director nomination from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for his L.A. premiere production of Lanford Wilson’s BALM IN GILEAD. He won awards for Best Musical and Production of the Year awards from Daily Variety, Drama-logue and the L.A. Weekly for his production of TARZANA TANZI in association with the Nederlander Organization, and also co-wrote the music. He has directed many films and is currently in pre-production on “The Miracle,” starring James Earl Jones. Paul grew up in Stony Brook, NY. He received a BA in History from Colgate University and a combined communications scholarship to UCLA/USC after studying history at the University of London, England. Paul’s theatrical training was at the Royal Shakespeare Company in London; with Stella Adler at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York; with Harold Clurman in his last New York Master Class; and with Jose Quintero in Los Angeles.
Lillias White (MayBelle Smith) won the 1997 Tony, Drama Desk, People’s Choice and The Outer Critics Awards for her portrayal of a hooker in THE LIFE and she received a Tony nomination for her role in FELA!. She understudied the role of Effie in the original 1981 production of DREAMGIRLS and later played the part in the 1987 revival. Other Broadway credits include: CHICAGO, HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, CARRIE, ROCK ‘N ROLL! THE FIRST 5,000 YEARS, CATS and BARNUM.
The designers for this show are John Arnone (Set Design), Emilio Sosa (Costume Design), Paul Miller (Light Design), Tony Melfa (Sound Design), Brian Meister (Production Stage Manager), Joe Lauro (Archival Footage from Historic Films), Michael Clark (Projection Design), and Kathy Fabian (Properties Design).
The band includes Eric Brown (Drums), Kiku Collins (Trumpet), George Farmer (Bass), Jason Marshall (Saxaphone) and John Putnam (Guitar). Eric Brown and Kiku Collins are also featured in the roles of ‘Sully’ and ‘Loretta.
For tickets, scheduling and more information, visit www.baystreet.org.Opening night photo credit: Barry Gordin
Tracy Mitchell, Kerry Dempsey and Suzanne Schecter