Shows B

BLUES IN THE NIGHT A musical revue in 2 acts. Conceived and originally directed by Sheldon Epps Rialto Theatre, Broadway 2 June, 1982 (53 perfs) Donmar Warehouse, London 12 June, 1987 SYNOPSIS A tremendous West End success, this dynamic compilation of 26 hot and torchy blues frames and comments on three women's relationships with one snake of a guy. With no spoken text, the interweaving stories are defined through music alone - and what music! Ranging from Bessie Smith through Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen, Alberta Hunter, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and more, the evening's music is raunchily forthright, infectiously good-humoured and always classically blues. Songs include "When A Woman Loves A Man", "Wasted Life Blues" and the title song. STORY ACT ONE As the music begins, the lights come up on three women sitting in what look like individual hotel rooms in a worn down dive. The women are in period dress, reflecting Chicago in the late 1930's. The Lady from the Road, a warm and beautiful woman in her late 50's or early 60's, has surrounded herself with memories of her brighter past. The Woman of the World, a stylish creature of indeterminate age surrounded by an equal amount of perfume and liquor bottles, binspends the evening preparing for her gentleman caller. The Girl With a Date sits in a sparsely decorated room determined to make a fresh start in the big city. Behind them, The Man in the Saloon, at once charming and dangerous, watches with a wary eye and comments with a silver tongue. The Women sing from their individual areas as they set the stage for the evening. As much as they long for a man to hold them, they're alone. The Man, in the band area, sings about his hard luck as the women dream of a better time to come. The Man hangs out with the band as the Lady addresses the audience. She introduces the characters on stage, then changes into a flashy costume from her days as a singer. She sings "New Orleans Hop Scop Blues" as she shimmies and dances. The Woman sits in her armchair and reminisces of days gone by. As she sings, her room is temporarily transformed into a dance hall. She sprays herself with perfume as the lights crossfade to the Girl. The Girl turns on her radio and recognizes the tune. Addressing the audience, The Lady remembers what good old loving used to feel like. The Woman and the Girl add their voices from their rooms, taking turns and backing her up. The Lady goes behind her screen to change and the Girl exits, leaving the Woman alone on stage. She puts on a dressing gown with great style. The man appears in another pary of the stage, singing, then exits. At the end of the song, the Woman exits, leaving the stage bare. The Man enters alone and dreams of a better life - the life he wishes he had. The Lady enters in a brightly colored riding outfit, complete with parasol. The Man sings "Wild Women Don't Have No Blues," singing to each of the women, instructing them. The Women respond with "Lover Man," then join him in "Wild Women Don't Have No Blues."