Hershell Norwood's BILLIE'S BLUES opens 9/19 (Nashville) — Billie's Blues , Hershell Norwood — AAPEX

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hershell Norwood's BILLIE'S BLUES opens 9/19 (Nashville)

Billie Holiday's voice was the St. George that slew the dragon of segregation in the US, and the horse she rode in on was Barney Josephson, a Jewish shoe salesman from Trenton, New Jersey, who had a passion for jazz.

In December 1938, Josephson opened a club in Greenwich Village called CAFE SOCIETY - irreverently known as "The Wrong Place for the Right People." CAFE SOCIETY was the first integrated night club in the United States - in fact, it may be the first and most profound example of integration in our country - and it was certainly a testament to the power of music, because jazz was the first thing to bring the races together in this country - in a good way!

Playwright Hershell Norwood has written a new play about Billie Holiday - BILLIE'S BLUES - which focuses on this particular moment in our history, a moment when Billie's mother could go to hear her sing and when Billie and her band could step off the stage and sit at a table having drinks with white folks.

On Monday, September 19, The African American Playwrights' Exchange, in partnership with Metro Nashville Parks Theatre Department's New Play Reading Series, invites you to join us at The Looby Theatre at 2301 Rosa Parks Blvd.37228 for a Nashville reading of BILLIE'S BLUES, directed by Courtney McClellan and starring Vilia Steele, Dara Talibah, Jonah Kraut, Max Desir, Dominique Howse and Julie Ness, with special guest artists Perlie Dunn and Elan Crawford, and hosted by Helen "Olaketi" Shute-Pettaway. Dr. Jamie Cutler will costume.

AAPEX is honored that BILLIE'S BLUES is serving as the kick off of the brand new "Play Reading Series" through Metro Nashville Parks' Theater Department.

"We would like to offer one new play reading each month," says Carolyn German, who heads up the Theater Department, and who started the program, "because readings are so vital to the process and it's a great way to share the process with the community."

The reading is free to the public. Reservations may be made at jazmn47@aol.com or by phone at 615-915-0891.

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