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Jewelle Gomez’s New Play ‘Leaving the Blues’

01 Feb Posted by in • Robin Lowey | Comments
Jewelle Gomez’s New Play ‘Leaving the Blues’

A popular singer. Her passionate lover. The 1920s. Recipe for the blues?  And change!

The world premier of Jewelle Gomez’s new play Leaving The Blues runs March 3 – April 2 at The New Conservatory Theater at 25 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco!

DESIREE ROGERS plays Alberta Photo Credit: Lois Tema

Celebrated Blues singer-songwriter Alberta Hunter (1895-1984) is backstage preparing for a professional comeback, knowing just how many doors to the past it may open. Spanning 60 years, this world premiere play imagines a journey through the public life Hunter led, the private life she hid, and the ghosts that won’t let her forget.

In Jewelle’s own words:

“In the mid-1980s my grandmother (who’d been a chorus girl in the 1920s & 30s) was visiting me in NYC and I took her to a Greenwich Village restaurant to hear Alberta Hunter sing.  Hunter wrote Bessie Smith’s first big hit and was an international star herself back in the day.The place was packed and I asked my grandmother if she knew why all the young women were crowded in the room to see this 80 year old.

Featuring new music by TOSHI REAGON

When she said no with a puzzled look on her face I said, “Because they’d heard Alberta was a lesbian.” My grandmother said, “Oh hell, everybody knew that!”  This began my fascination with the unspoken and complicated life of this legendary blues singer.”

 

Jewelle Gomez is a writer and activist and the author of the double Lambda Award-winning novel, THE GILDA STORIES from City Lights, now with the new 25th Anniversary edition. Find out more about Jewelle Gomez HERE.

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