what: a Broadway-style version of the history of the blues
when: 8pm, Friday, May 8
where: Florida Theatre
info: (904) 355-2787; www.ghostblues.com
“Ghost of the Blues” Broadway Revue brings the musical legends of the American blues to life thru a rocking live performance of their classic blues standards which are all performed in character. The show was the brainchild of Producer R. Norbert Knight, and born out of his desire to bring the story of the blues to every major city in the country. It will be appearing here in Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday, May 8th at the beautiful Florida Theatre.
The show is essentially a music revue featuring songs of Son House, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, Albert King, Howlin’ Wolf and Jimi Hendrix. Act One begins in a graveyard adjacent to the crossroads where legend has it that blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for the ability to play the blues. All the legends of the blues are interred there as they await their ascension into “blues heaven,” a place where they can jam out forever.
Act Two takes place in a fictional juke joint, The Canal House, where the audience is treated to authentic blues as it was played back in the day when the great bluesmen crisscrossed America traveling from one roadhouse to the next. Throughout the show the legends are introduced in chronological order and begin to play their most influential songs. These songs form the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll. Songs were written on the steamy backroads of the American south of the early 20th century, written by hard working people who struggled with life and love in a world much different than our own. That angst and desolation became the fuel for a generation of young musicians who sought to define their times for themselves. The result is an American treasure and the foundation for the rock phenomena. Yet they still connect with young audiences, and that is a huge reason why this production is so valuable.
Andrew Ezell, from Chicago, will play Howlin’ Wolf. Stacy Brooks, who plays Etta James, was nominated for “New Artist of the Year” by The Washington Area Music Association. In the role of Willie Dixon is Dave “Biscuit” Miller, a Chicago bluesman, born on the south side and raised by his Grandmother who called him “Biscuit.” He plays bass with a distinctive, fun and funky sound. Playing Albert King is Jimmie Jacobs, a veteran singer/songwriter and blues guitarist who has been plying his trade for over 18 years. Cast as Robert Johnson, Bobby Wilson is a rhythm guitarist and lead and background vocalist. Wilson was voted “Blues Man of the Month” by the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association in May 1999. These accomplished performers will be backed by about 15 additional actors and musicians all working to bring real, authentic blues to the stage.
The blues has been passed down from one bluesman to another and now to a stage near you. The experience offers a night in blues heaven for both lifelong blues aficionados and the uninitiated alike. For ticket information please contact the Florida Theatre Box Office at (904) 355-2787.