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!
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.
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.