CAFE SOCIETY SWING Set for 59E59 Theaters

By: Oct. 07, 2014
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59E59 Theaters will host the US premiere of CAFE SOCIETY SWING, written by Alex Webb and directed by Simon Green. Produced by Richard Darbourne Ltd (producer of last season's Drama League nominated All That Fall) and The Copasetic Foundation, CAFE SOCIETY SWING begins performances on Tuesday, December 16 for a limited engagement through Sunday, January 4. Opening Night is Sunday, December 21 at 7 PM. The performance schedule is Tuesday - Thursday at 7 PM; Friday at 8 PM; Saturday at 2 PM & 8 PM; Sunday at 3 PM & 7 PM. Please note the following Holiday schedule adjustments: There is no performance on Thursday, December 25; there is an added performance on Friday, December 26 at 2 PM; the performances on December 24 and December 31 are at 6 PM. Single tickets are $70 ($49 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit

Cafe Society, the legendary jazz venue that launched the careers of Billie Holiday (who first performed Strange Fruit there), Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Big Joe Turner, Count Basie, Zero Mostel, Sid Caesar and Carol Channing, returns to the East Side! Playing one city block away from the club's original uptown location, CAFE SOCIETY SWING is a thrilling homage to "the wrong place for the Right people."

Cafe Society, the first racially integrated club in NYC and the hottest ticket in town, offered a creative home to countless artists of the time. From its origins as the first racially desegregated club in NYC (and possibly the US), to its booker's uncanny ability to spot and nurture new talent, to its role in lampooning New York's elite, to its demise during the Red Scare hysteria of the late 1940s, CAFE SOCIETY SWING tells the remarkable story of this legendary nightclub.

Evan Pappas, who returns to the NY stage to front this swinging show, is joined by vocalists Cyrille Aimée, Allan Harris, and Charenee Wade. Along with an eight-piece jazz ensemble, they perform an irresistible soundtrack of the many jazz greats who graced Cafe Society's stage.

The live musicians include Alex Webb (piano), Mimi Jones (bass), Shirazette Tinnin (drums), Allan Harris (guitar), Camille Thurman (tenor sax), Bill Todd (alto sax and clarinet), Benny Benack III (trumpet), and Brent White (trombone). The set and costume designer is David Woodhead (Cornelius at Brits Off Broadway).

The Financial Times raved about the show's London bow, saying, "Alex Webb's script crackles with a New York irony that draws you in to a world of business acumen, lofty ideals and political intrigue. (A)s music interlaces narrative, a picture of the club's extraordinary atmosphere and history emerges through sharp solos, svelte rhythms, and vocal performances that get the essence without mimicry or pastiche."

Alex Webb's (playwright) love for jazz began with his father's record collection; in 1979, as a teenager, he came to New York and fell in love with the city and its music scene. He studied at Manchester University and later took an MA at the University of Connecticut. During his career he has worked in radio, TV, journalism, PR, music publishing and live music promotion as well as pursuing songwriting, arranging and playing piano. Webb also lectures in music and event management. His musical collaborations have included numerous jazz, pop, reggae and samba groups. As a songwriter and pianist he has worked with many UK jazz musicians and his songs have been recorded by vocalists Liane Carroll, China Moses, Alexia Gardner, Mina Agossi and Alexander Stewart, among others. Since 2008, he has specialized in creating music and spoken word productions, including the jazz history shows 'Strayhorn the Songwriter' (about composer/arranger Billy Strayhorn) and 'Charlie Parker on Dial' (about the legendary saxophonist's life in the years 1946-47). Like 'Cafe Society Swing," these were originally commissioned by the London Jazz Festival.

After bringing his cabaret, So, This Then Is Life, to Brits Off Broadway earlier this year Simon Green (director) is delighted to be returning to 59E59 Theaters. Simon directed Cooking For Kings and Fascinating Aida in Absolutely Fascinating in 59E59's opening season in 2004 and has since returned with Beau Brummel, Being Sellers and he was the consulting director for The Hired Man. Other directing credits include An Ideal Husband and An Inspector Calls (English Theatre, Frankfurt); Being Sellers (Waterloo East Theatre); Sing For Your Supper, Good Thing Going - A Sondheim Celebration and A Swell Party at the Cadogan Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Let's Misbehave, With A Song In My Heart, Let's Face the Music and Dance and The Way You Look Tonight at the Salisbury Playhouse. In London's West End he was the associate director of Auntie and Me starring Alan Davies and Margaret Tyzack (Wyndham's). Other plays include Split (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough) and for Cameron Macintosh he was the resident director of The Phantom of the Opera (Manchester Opera House) and co-director of Time of My Life (Bristol Old Vic).

As an actor Simon's many London and West End appearances include: The World Goes 'Round (Union Theatre), Bruce Ismay in Titanic (Southwark Playhouse), M. Lefevre in The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary (Royal Albert Hall), Sondheim at 80 (BBC Prom, Royal Albert Hall), Jules in Sunday in the Park with George (Menier Chocolate Factory and Wyndham's), Torasso in Passion (Queen's), Young Ben in Follies (Shaftesbury), The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Barbican), Lumiere in Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Dominion), La Cenerentola (Drill Hall), March Of The Falsettos (Albery), Elegies (Criterion), Coriolanus (Young Vic), Elmer Gantry (Gate), The Scarlet Pimpernel (Her Majesty's), Lady Be Good (Regent's Park and national tour), Tony in The Boyfriend (Old Vic & Albery). For the RSC: The Wizard of Oz (Stratford and Barbican) and Showboat (Stratford and The London Palladium). Recently he played M. Andre in the national tour of Cameron Macintosh's new production of The Phantom of the Opera.

For many years Simon has performed cabaret with his long time musical director and arranger, David Shrubsole and they have appeared in many of London's best venues including The Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel. In New York they have played Fienstein's, The Metropolitan Room, The FireBird and, after appearing in the Noel Coward Centennial Gala at Carnegie Hall, they returned to Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall with Simon Green - Solo. They have also brought to 59E59, their New York cabaret 'home', Coward at Christmas - A Cabaret for Noel and Traveling Light (Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Musical Revue).