Monday, July 4, 2022

Phylicia Rashad Gets Her Flowers at Sold Out ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’ Performance

Blues for an Alabama Sky
From left, cast members Dennis Pearson, Nija Okoro, Greg Alvarez Reid, Kim Steele and Joe Holt during the curtain call for the Black Out Night performance of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” at Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum on Aprilr 8, 2022.

This month, Center Theatre Group hosted a sold out black out night for “Blues for an Alabama Sky” directed by Phylicia Rashad at the Mark Taper Forum.

Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson began the night with a pre-show address welcoming the audience out for the special performance intended for Black-identifying theatre-goers. Guests in attendance included, Susan Kelechi-Watson, Geffri Maya, Patrick Walker, Larry Powell and other notables.

During the welcome Robinson gave flowers to Pearl Cleage and director, Phylicia Rashad for their continued excellence in the arts and for giving voice to cultural yet universal stories. The performance was followed by a reception on the Music Center Plaza featuring live music. Sip & Sonder provided coffee and Gwen’s Bakery provided desserts.

Blues for an Alabama Sky
Actor Wendy Raquel Robinson welcomes the audience to the Black Out Night of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” at Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum on April 8, 2022.

Set in 1930’s Harlem, this revival of Pearl Cleage’s rich and beautiful work runs at the Mark Taper Forum April 6 through May 8, 2022.

Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, who originated the role of Angel in the world premiere of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” more than 25 years ago returns to direct this timeless piece that was first presented in 1995 by Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. She leads a cast featuring Joe Holt, Nija Okoro, Dennis Pearson, Greg Alverez Reid and Kim Steele.

Blues for an Alabama Sky
exterior of the Mark Taper Forum, Black Out Night of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” at Center Theatre Group / Mark Taper Forum on April 8, 2022.

Angel is a free-spirited Cotton Club singer who’s out of luck but never out of dreams. Guy is a costume designer waiting for Josephine Baker to invite him to join her in Paris. Delia, a young activist, is trying to give the women of Harlem a choice about their future. Sam, a prominent physician, is either delivering babies or out at the club letting the good times roll. And Leland, who recently arrived in Harlem from Alabama, is haunted by the wide-open skies and lost love he left behind. The lives and dreams of these men and women converge with passion and politics as the art and celebration of the Harlem Renaissance give way to the harsh realities of the Great Depression.

Center Theatre Group is hosting a special “Blues for an Alabama Sky” HBCU Night on Tuesday, April 26 at 8 PM, with a cast Q&A following the performance.

Tickets for all other performances of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” are currently on sale at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum.

Center Theatre Group’s first Black Out Night was created in February of 2022 for Jeremy O. Harris’ “Slave Play” and was based on the event he created in 2019 during the Broadway engagement to provide a freeing environment for Black-identifying audience members to experience the unflinching new work free from the white gaze.




- Advertisement -