'Blues in the Night' at Randall Theatre Medford
Set in a rundown Chicago hotel in 1938, music revue "Blues in the Night" focuses on three women's relationships with the same snake of a man, and their interweaving stories are told through the torch songs and blues of Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Gordon Jenkins, and Alberta Hunter, among others.
This sweet, sexy and sorrowful Tony-nominated musical, conceived by television and theater director Sheldon Epps, will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 9-10, and Thursdays through Saturdays, March 15-17 and 22-24, at Randall Theatre, 10 E. Third St., Medford. Matinees are set for 2 p.m. Sundays, March 11, 18 and 25. Tickets are $20 for reserved seating, $15 on Thursdays, and can be purchased at randalltheatre.com or by calling 541-632-3258. Pay-what-you-want tickets are available 30 minutes before shows, subject to availability.
Kathy Wing directs "Blues," and the show is dedicated to her husband, Michael Wing, who passed away several weeks ago.
Kristen Calvin, Rose Passione, Jennifer Davis de Puglia and Brandt Nakamura perform the songs in this dialogue-free musical. The tunes are what drives the story.
"The level of talent of the four singers exceeds any show we've done," says Randall's artistic director Robin Downward. "I fought hard to get these people because the show requires that they not only sing well but can evoke the emotions of the songs. Things turned out better than I had even hoped. They were harmonizing beautifully at the first rehearsal."
The script for "Blues in the Night" includes popular standards from the '20s and '30s, Downward adds. Some of the songs are changed to enhance the story, but still have the same heart and soul.
Calvin, Passione and Davis de Puglia play a young innocent looking for love, and older woman who feels life has passed her by and a woman who wants to grab life by the horns. Nakamura's character plays with the heartstrings of all three, but also is looking for someone. The women are portrayed in a strong, commanding light, and in the end become extremely empowered.