This soulful musical transports you to the 1930s and a private parlor in Memphis, where sexy and sassy Bessie Smith takes center stage. Don’t miss the amazing life and career, the loves and losses, and the great songs that made her “The Empress of the Blues.”
Content Advisory: Recommended for ages 16 and up. Contains strong language and adult themes.Sponsors
Angelo Parra: (Playwright) is an award-winner, with plays produced in New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; at Hartford Stage; Florida Stage; Cape (Cod) Playhouse; George Street Playhouse; Theatre Memphis; Passage Theatre; Florida Repertory Theatre; Penguin Rep; and elsewhere. Last summer The Devil’s Music was invited to give six performances at The Montreal International Jazz Festival, the only play ever invited to this renowned music festival. Among his plays is Journey of the Heart – dramatizing the seesaw struggle of a hospital committee to decide who gets a heart for transplant – which won the Jewel Box Theatre, Mixed Blood Versus America, and David James Ellis Memorial awards. Parra received a Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions grant (National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Information Agency, Rockefeller Foundation, and Pew Charitable Trusts) to sponsor two of his plays at the 1993 Edinburgh International Theatre Festival. Honors include two New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Scriptwriting Fellowships and the 1998 Chicano/Latino Literary Award for his play Song of the Coquí. In 2000, he was named a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the prestigious Sewanee Writers Conference. He is a Dramatists Guild member and alumnus of the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. In 2008, Parra was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture grant. He is the founder/director of the Hudson Valley Professional Playwrights Lab, playwriting instructor at SUNY Rockland Community College, president of the Board of Penguin Rep Theatre, and author of Playwriting for Dummies. less is an award-winner, with plays produced in New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; at Hartford Stage; Florida Stage; Cape (Cod) Playhouse; George Street Playhouse; Theatre Memphis; Passage Theatre; Florida Repertory Theatre; Penguin Rep; and elsewhere. Last summer The Devil’s Music was invited to give six performances at The Montreal... more
George Caldwell: (Piano)
returns to Cleveland Play House after appearing as musical director of Ella in 2007. He has conducted Black and Blue and Play On! on Broadway; played piano and keyboards for Broadway productions 'Bring In 'Da Noise and The Full Monty; and conducted tours of Body and Soul and Black and Blue in Europe; as well as serving as musical director for United States regional co-productions of original musicals Ella, Thunder Knocking on The Door, Cookin' At The Cookery, and a run of Golden Boy at Long Wharf Theatre. He toured the world as pianist in The Count Basie Orchestra for seven years (garnering a Grammy Award in 1996) and in The Duke Ellington Orchestra for three years. He has performed with many and diverse artists: such as George Benson, Elvis Costello, Bobby McFerrin et al.
less returns to Cleveland Play House after appearing as musical director of Ella in 2007. He has conducted Black and Blue and Play On! on Broadway; played piano and keyboards for Broadway productions 'Bring In 'Da Noise and The Full Monty; and conducted tours of Body and Soul and Black and... more
Jim Hankins: () grew up in a Detroit neighborhood that produced many internationally known jazz and R&B musicians, including jazz icon Barry Harris, saxophonist Charles Mcpherson, and Richard Street and Melvin Franklin of The Temptations. Self-taught as a bassist, Hankins was mentored by jazz greats Paul Chambers, Doug Watkins, Will Davis, and Harold McKinney, which enabled him to share the stage with legendary artists such as Lou Rawls, Irene Reid, Arthur Prysock, Freda Payne, Donald Byrd, Wes Montgomery, Sonny Stitt, and Betty Carter. At age 16, Hankins (playing trombone) along with saxophonist Charles McPherson and trumpeter Lonnie Hillyer, was invited to sit in with Miles Davis’ sextet. This session was the highlight of Hankins’ musical life. In the late 60's he attended business school and accepted a job with a major corporation. He returned to full-time performing upon retirement and has since traveled the world as a musician. He takes pride in having been with The Devil’s Music from the beginning. less grew up in a Detroit neighborhood that produced many internationally known jazz and R&B musicians, including jazz icon Barry Harris, saxophonist Charles Mcpherson, and Richard Street and Melvin Franklin of The Temptations. Self-taught as a bassist, Hankins was mentored by jazz greats Paul Chambers, Doug Watkins, Will Davis, and Harold... more
Joe Brancato: (Director) was cited by The New York Times as “one of America’s most insightful directors.” Off-Broadway includes The Devil’s Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Off Broadway Alliance, and Audelco Award nominee); Tom Dudzick’s Miracle on South Division Street, St. Luke’s Theatre; Fall to Earth and Freed (Audelco Award nominee) at 59E59; Tryst (Outer Critics nomination, Best Play); Cobb (Drama Desk winner) produced by Kevin Spacey in New York City and Los Angeles; From Door To Door, Westside Theatre; One Shot, One Kill, Primary Stages; Jeffrey Solomon’s Santa Claus is Coming Out; Two and a Half Jews; My Italy Story; Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Matter of Minutes; Escape from Happiness (starring Marsha Mason), The Big Swing (starring Madeline Kahn, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Marisa Tomei), and Dr. Valentine’s Waltz (starring John Turturro, Laura Linney, Gina Gershon, Jane Alexander) at Naked Angels; and Hold the Wedding, produced by Joseph Papp. Regional credits include George Street Playhouse, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Alley Theatre, Hartford Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, Capital Rep, New Rep, Hartford TheaterWorks, Cape Playhouse, Passage Theatre, and Florida Stage. He is founding artistic director of Penguin Rep and has directed numerous productions there, including many premieres. He commissioned and directed The Man Who Was Peter Pan, the basis for Oscar-nominated film Finding Neverland. As playwright he wrote Drop Dead Perfect and the book for the musical Mae West at the Club El Fey. Honors include LAScene Best Director; two Rockland County Executive Awards, Artistic Excellence; and Best Director and Best Production IRNE nominations, Tryst at Merrimack Rep. less was cited by The New York Times as “one of America’s most insightful directors.” Off-Broadway includes The Devil’s Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Off Broadway Alliance, and Audelco Award nominee); Tom Dudzick’s Miracle on South Division Street, St. Luke’s Theatre; Fall to Earth... more
Keith Loftis: (Saxophone)
has been described as one of the most dynamic jazz saxophonists of today. A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School of the Visual and Performing Arts, Loftis received his Bachelor of Arts, Music from The New School for Social Research and his masters in Composition/Film Scoring from New York University. He has since performed with jazz legends, including Benny Carter, Cedar Walton, Nancy Wilson, Frank Foster, Alvin Batiste and Ray Charles. Loftis appears regularly throughout Europe, Asia and parts of the Middle East. He currently performs with Michael Carvin, the Roy Hargrove Big Band, and Abdullah Ibrahim. Other credits include VH1’s “Fashion Rocks” with Mary J. Blige and Usher and “Storyteller” again with Mary J. Blige. Loftis performs often at New York’s renowned Carlyle hotel. He continues film scoring and has played music in films Three Can Play That Game and Black Out. His CD Simply Loftis was released in 2011.
less has been described as one of the most dynamic jazz saxophonists of today. A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School of the Visual and Performing Arts, Loftis received his Bachelor of Arts, Music from The New School for Social Research and his masters in Composition/Film Scoring from New York... more
Miche Braden: (Bessie Smith/Music Director/Music Arrangements) last appeared in Cleveland in Love Langston for Great Lakes Theater. She just portrayed Mammy in the world premiere of Gone with the Wind at Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, Canada after successful runs of The Devil’s Music in New York City and Montreal’s International Jazz Festival. Ms. Miche (pronounced “Mickey”) originally hails from Detroit where she was artist-in-residence with Detroit’s Council of the Arts and was founder and lead singer of the women’s jazz band Straight Ahead. Music director/arranger/acting credits include The People’s Temple, Gee’s Bend, The Bluest Eye, Mahalia: A Gospel Musical, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Hot Snow: The Story of Valaida Snow, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. She originated the role Duchess DeLovely in Hats: The Red Hat Society Musical. She has sung with Regina Carter, Alexis P. Suter, Milt Hinton, Lionel Hampton, Frenchie Davis, and James Carter – at Carnegie Hall and in Carter’s releases Gardenias for Lady Day and At the Crossroads. She performed on Broadway in the finale of Movin’ Out, and Fox 5 News dubbed her “Billy Joel’s Piano Woman.” She was the featured singer in Damien Foundation’s 2007 Gospel for Life tour in Belgium and France and is a recurring featured artist in Absolute Gospel Festival, Lyon, France. She toured Japan in numerous jazz and gospel concerts. She is minister of music and head of the Creative Arts Ministry at Unity Fellowship Church, Newark, New Jersey. Honors include Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Off Broadway Alliance, Audelco, Carbonell and Connecticut Critics Award nominations. Her album Diva Out of Bounds, Ms. Miche is available from iTunes. less last appeared in Cleveland in Love Langston for Great Lakes Theater. She just portrayed Mammy in the world premiere of Gone with the Wind at Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, Canada after successful runs of The Devil’s Music in New York City and Montreal’s International Jazz Festival. Ms. Miche... more
Faye Carter: (Assistant Stage Manager) most recently worked as assistant stage manager for Cleveland Play House on A Carol for Cleveland. She also worked at CPH on FusionFest 2010, Heaven’s My Destination, and Crime and Punishment. Additional credits include stage managing for Cleveland Public Theatre: Springboard 2012, Danceworks 2012, Darwinii: The Comeuppance of Man with Brett Keyser, Big [Box] 2012, The Santaland Diaries and The Loush Sisters, Leap/Conceive 2011, and Springboard 2011 among many others. Carter has free-lanced at theatres in the northeast Ohio area for the past three years and is currently the events production manager at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. less most recently worked as assistant stage manager for Cleveland Play House on A Carol for Cleveland. She also worked at CPH on FusionFest 2010, Heaven’s My Destination, and Crime and Punishment. Additional credits include stage managing for Cleveland Public Theatre: Springboard 2012, Danceworks 2012, Darwinii: The Comeuppance of Man with... more
James C. Swonger: (Sound Designer) is resident sound designer at Cleveland Play House where he has designed sound for over 40 productions including Bell, Book and Candle; Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot (world premiere); An Orchard (Case Western Reserve University/CPH MFA Acting Program); Bill W. and Dr. Bob; Heaven’s My Destination (world premiere); Crime and Punishment; Noises Off!; Gee’s Bend; The Chosen; and I Am My Own Wife. Additional credits include Cleveland’s Lyric Opera Company, The Utah Festival Opera Company, Pioneer Theatre Company, Baltimore CENTERSTAGE, George Street Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, Cleveland State University Summer Stages, and premiere productions of Ntozake Shange’s why i had to dance, The Tragic Demise of the Whaleship Essex, Swinging on a Star: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Burke, Tangents, and The Count of Monte Cristo. He has also designed sound systems for restaurants, theatres and churches. less is resident sound designer at Cleveland Play House where he has designed sound for over 40 productions including Bell, Book and Candle; Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot (world premiere); An Orchard (Case Western Reserve University/CPH MFA Acting Program); Bill W. and Dr. Bob; Heaven’s My Destination (world premiere); Crime and... more
Jennifer Matheson Collins: (Stage Manager) stage managed for Cleveland Play House The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith; A Carol for Cleveland; One Night With Janis Joplin (for which she also traveled to Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.); The Trip to Bountiful; and This Wonderful Life. Before arriving in the Cleveland area, she was a teaching faculty member at Northwestern University overseeing the stage management program. From 2000 to 2007, she was a stage manager at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier where selected credits include Passion, Marionette Macbeth, The Three Musketeers, Hamlet, Seussical the Musical, A Flea in Her Ear, Kabuki Lady Macbeth, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George, Bomb-itty of Errors, and Pacific Overtures. Other Chicago credits include Death of a Salesman, Waiting for Godot, Floyd Collins, Jitney, The Odyssey, and A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre). She earned a Bachelor of Science, Theatre and a Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology from Kansas State University. less stage managed for Cleveland Play House The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith; A Carol for Cleveland; One Night With Janis Joplin (for which she also traveled to Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.); The Trip to Bountiful; and This Wonderful Life. Before arriving in the Cleveland area, she... more
Michael Schweikardt: (Scenic Designer) recently designed Lombardi, Lost in Yonkers and Ella for Cleveland Play House. Schweikardt has created sets for the world premieres of Nobody Loves You and Duncan Sheik’s Whisper House for The Old Globe and for several musicals by Joe Iconis, including Bloodsong of Love at Ars Nova, ReWrite at Urban Stages, The Black Suits at The Public Theater, and Things to Ruin at both The Zipper Factory and SecondStage Theatre. Other recent credits include the critically acclaimed productions of Carousel, Showboat, Annie Get Your Gun, 1776, Big River, and Camelot for Goodspeed Musicals; Ella, appearing in cities all across the country; Barnum for Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 50th anniversary season; Oklahoma! starring Kelli O’Hara and Will Chase (Oklahoma State Centennial); the American premieres of Frank McGuinness’ Gates of Gold and The Bird Sanctuary; and national and international tours of James Taylor’s One Man Band. less recently designed Lombardi, Lost in Yonkers and Ella for Cleveland Play House. Schweikardt has created sets for the world premieres of Nobody Loves You and Duncan Sheik’s Whisper House for The Old Globe and for several musicals by Joe Iconis, including Bloodsong of Love at Ars Nova, ReWrite at Urban... more
Patricia E. Doherty: (Costume Designer) designed several Cleveland Play House productions including Boy Meets Girl, featuring Jane Krakowski of 30 Rock and Alfie (2004) fame, and Only Kidding! with Daniel J. Travanti. Recent New York designs include The Devil’s Music, St Luke’s Theatre; Fall To Earth, Freed, Jericho, Poetic License, The Housewives of Mannheim, 59E59 Theaters; The Goldman Project, Abingdon Theatre Company; and Southern Comfort: A New Musical with Annette O’Toole and Jeff McCarthy at CAP21, recipient of the 2012 GLAAD Award, Outstanding Off-Off-Broadway Production. Regional credits include Engeman Theatre, Florida Repertory Theatre, Penguin Rep, Riverside Theatre, Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara, and the Alley Theatre where she was resident designer. Currently, Doherty is designer-in-residence at New Jersey Repertory Company (American Theatre Wing 2012 Theatre Company Grant), where she is able to fulfill her passion for new plays, designing over 75 premieres including musicals The Little Hours and Katherine Houghton’s Bookends, Ken Jenkins directing. less designed several Cleveland Play House productions including Boy Meets Girl, featuring Jane Krakowski of 30 Rock and Alfie (2004) fame, and Only Kidding! with Daniel J. Travanti. Recent New York designs include The Devil’s Music, St Luke’s Theatre; Fall To Earth, Freed, Jericho, Poetic License, The Housewives of Mannheim, 59E59... more
Todd Wren: (Lighting Designer) debuts at Cleveland Play House with The Devil's Music, The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, conceived and directed by Joe Brancato. World premiere designs include Stand by Your Man with Jim Lauderdale and directed by Gabriel Barre; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, conceived and choreographed by Chase Brock; Turned Funny, directed by Fred Chappell; and New York City premieres of The Fall to Earth, directed by Joe Brancato and A Dash of Rosemary, conceived and directed by Douglas Kampsen. Wren’s regional credits include Goodspeed Musicals, Seaside Musical Theatre, Barter Theatre, Palm Beach DramaWorks, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Casa Manana, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Gainesville Theatre Alliance, North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, Charlotte Repertory Theatre, and Flat Rock Playhouse. His lighting design work has earned three South Florida Carbonell Award nominations. less debuts at Cleveland Play House with The Devil's Music, The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, conceived and directed by Joe Brancato. World premiere designs include Stand by Your Man with Jim Lauderdale and directed by Gabriel Barre; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, conceived and choreographed by Chase Brock; Turned Funny,... more
February 15 - March 10
Pre-show Conversations-45min. Before Every Performance
February 24 @ 4:00pm - 4:30pm
February 25 @ 6:30pm - 8:00pm
InsideCPH: "Selling a Song"
February 26 @ 8:30pm - 9:00pm
March 03 @ 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Behind the Scenes with CPH @ Cuyahoga County Public Library
March 03 @ 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Sugar in Your WHAT...?: When it comes to blues lyrics it’s often double the meaning, double the fun! As anyone who saw CPH’s In the Next Room last season will recall, in the Victorian Era it was imperative to be perceived as “pure” and “moral,” especially in matters of a sexual nature. Even as the Victorian era gave way in the 20th century, popular music during the 1920s and 30s still expressed idealized, nonsexual depictions of love relationships. Themes such as extramarital relationships, homosexuality, domestic violence, or having more than one sexual partner were strictly off-limits. Blues music, however, thrived on these themes and sexual imagery. Birthed from the everyday experiences of African Americans, the Blues expressed a newfound freedom and individuality, particularly in the wake of Emancipation. During slavery in America, not only were blacks not free to decide who to work for, what work to do, or how to live their lives, they also were restricted in their sexual choices. Women of good physicality and child-bearing age were paired up with men who did the best work—an attempt by slave owners to “breed” the best slaves. After Emancipation, individuals could make their own choices concerning their sexual lives, and these themes became prominent in Blues music. The Blues developed from African American sacred music and work songs, but as the African American experienced changed, so did the musical expression of that experience. Especially early on, however, if a song was too blunt with its sexual meaning the general masses would find it inappropriate and scandalous. If songwriters wanted a broad listening audience they had to express any sexual themes using metaphor and double meaning. Metaphors were used in place of other words, as an extension to their meaning. “Bedroom” became “heaven,” “paradise,” and “dreamland”; “moon” and “spoon” referenced sanctioned and illicit sexual activity, respectively. Ambiguity was also used to express sexuality through music. Words with double meaning conveyed the intended message while still upholding the moral standards. Couples “got together,” “went to dreamland,” “shot the moon,” etc. The term “making love” was used often, because it could also mean “having an intimate and romantic conversation.” Sex was referred to as “heat” and “fire,” and a girl who was not interested in sex could reversely be called “cold.” The song Sugar in my Bowl is a perfect example of ambiguous, if not always subtle, double meaning: I need a little sugar in my bowl, I need a little hotdog on my roll I can stand a bit of lovin’, oh so bad, I feel so funny, I feel so sad. I want a little steam On my clothes. Maybe I can fix things up So they’ll go. What’s a matter, Daddy? Come on, save my soul. I need some sugar in my bowl Sung through the years by everyone from Bessie Smith to Nina Simone, this song illustrates that, with calculated double meaning, “sugar” isn’t just what you put in your coffee (unless coffee doesn’t mean “coffee”) and a “bowl” is actually... well... you get the picture… less When it comes to blues lyrics it’s often double the meaning, double the fun! As anyone who saw CPH’s In the Next Room last season will recall, in the Victorian Era it was imperative to be perceived as “pure” and “moral,” especially in matters of... more
Common Threads: Taken alone, each play in CPH’s season is entertaining and vital, but fascinating connections emerge when you examine them together. As anyone who saw CPH’s production of One Night with Janis Joplin this past summer knows, Bessie Smith was Joplin’s greatest influence and personal hero. Joplin even purchased a tombstone for Smith’s unmarked grave. While it’s true that all modern popular music can trace its roots to the blues, Joplin seamlessly, and soulfully, brought blues-infused rock into the public sphere. One Night with Janis Joplin rocked the City That Rocks; with The Devil’s Music CPH unites rock with its roots. For more on the connection of African American musical roots to modern popular music, visit our EngageCPH lounge in the Allen Theatre lobby when you come to the show! less Taken alone, each play in CPH’s season is entertaining and vital, but fascinating connections emerge when you examine them together. As anyone who saw CPH’s production of One Night with Janis Joplin this past summer knows, Bessie Smith was Joplin’s greatest influence and personal hero. Joplin... more
The Empress' End: On the night of September 26, 1937, Bessie Smith was critically injured in a car accident while traveling the dark road between Memphis and Clarksdale, Mississippi—which, ironically, is credited as the birthplace of the Blues. Smith’s lover, Richard Morgan, was driving down the pitch-black country road and misjudged the speed of a slow-moving truck ahead, running into it. She was 42 years old.Memphis surgeon Dr. Hugh Smith (no relation) and a friend, returning from a fishing trip, were the first to come upon the accident and stopped to help. Later, Dr. Smith attributed Bessie’s death to extensive and severe crush injuries to the entire right side of her body, including an arm all-but-severed at the elbow, suggesting she had been riding with it out the window. The doctor offered to take Bessie to the hospital in his car, but as they worked to clear the back seat another oncoming vehicle failed to see Dr. Smith’s car and hit it at full speed.Two ambulances arrived on the scene from Clarksdale; one from the black hospital, the other from the white hospital. After Smith’s death, a now-discredited story emerged that Smith died because she was refused admission to a “whites only” hospital.Bessie’s funeral was held in Philadelphia on October 4, 1937. Newspapers reported that 7,000 people attended. Bessie’s estranged husband wouldn’t pay for a headstone and her grave remained unmarked until 1970, when Janis Joplin paid for a marker to honor her greatest influence. less On the night of September 26, 1937, Bessie Smith was critically injured in a car accident while traveling the dark road between Memphis and Clarksdale, Mississippi—which, ironically, is credited as the birthplace of the Blues. Smith’s lover, Richard Morgan, was driving down the pitch-black country road and... more
Out and About in Harlem: When most people think of the now-famous Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and early 30s, literary and intellectual greats like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and W.E.B. Du Bois probably come to mind. Or perhaps it’s visions of smoke-filled ballrooms and jazz and blues at The Cotton Club or The Savoy. But what about cross-dressing and buffet flats? though these parts of life in Jazz-age Harlem may be lesser-known, they were none-the-less defining aspects of a defining age. As jazz evolved from the blues, social attitudes began to evolve as well. Harlem and its self-proclaimed “new negroes” became a hotbed of new music, literature and the fine arts— and for previously unheard of modes of personal expression, too. Singers like Bessie Smith, who made little effort to hide their fluid sexuality, sang songs that dealt both explicitly and in “code” with all kinds of people and preferences. “There’s two things got me puzzled, there’s two things I don’t understand,” Smith sang in one song, “that’s a mannishacting woman and a lisping, swishing, womanish-acting man.” In “Sissy Blues,” Smith’s mentor Ma Rainey complained of her husband’s infidelity with a gay man known as “Miss Kate.” The very existence of blues tunes like these provides a picture of a culture that acknowledged and included homosexuals. This casualness even extended to men: in “Sissy Man Blues,” a traditional tune recorded by numerous male blues singers over the years, the singer demands, “if you can’t bring me a woman, bring me a sissy man.” Perhaps because black musicians so implicitly understood what it meant to be on the receiving end of discrimination, the Harlem Renaissance provided rich soil for the growth of the “Pansy Craze,” a time when the urban Americans, of all colors and sexual preferences, flocked to parties and clubs featuring men and women in drag, and openly gay entertainers. There were four main ways to ‘get down’ around town during this craze: speakeasies, rent parties, drag balls and buffet flats. The speakeasy is the most well-known by-product of Prohibition. Most of these clubs were strictly straight, and, as in day-to-day society, homosexuals were expected to blend in. There were, however, some speakeasies that catered specifically to the “pansy” trade; a sort of underground culture within an underground operation. Held in private homes, rent parties were a more open affair. These events were just what they sound like: a big party where the admission charge helped the hosts pay the rent. There was dancing, jazz (of course), and usually bootleg liquor for sale. Everybody won: the residents had a great time all night, and the landlord got paid in the morning. Drag queen culture has deep roots in the blues culture of 1920s Harlem. At drag balls attendees of any gender could dress however they wanted, and dance with whomever they wanted. Perhaps even more notable is that drag balls weren’t covert affairs; these extravagant parties were usually hosted by luxurious ball rooms and wealthy, not necessarily gay, party people. The largest balls were annual events, held at places like Hamilton Lodge or Rockland Palace, and could accommodate around 6,000 people! As described in a previous blog (Because Buffet Means “Everything”), The Devil’s Music takes place in a buffet flat, the most sexually lenient and free spirited of these four party places. With the combination of her music and personal sexual preferences both satisfied, Bessie Smith would have truly been in her element in a buffet flat. Though these aspects of the Harlem Renaissance, like those who lived them, may have been marginalized in the history books, gays and lesbians were major influencers on every aspect of this important cultural revolution. There is no doubt that the suggestive and non-exclusive nature of blues music contributed to the rise of a not-so-secret gay culture in 1920s Harlem, and—as the music and musicians traveled—across the nation, too.(Pictured: an invitation to a Harlem Rent Party) less When most people think of the now-famous Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and early 30s, literary and intellectual greats like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and W.E.B. Du Bois probably come to mind. Or perhaps it’s visions of smoke-filled ballrooms and jazz and blues at The Cotton Club... more
TOBA or Not TOBA?: For black performers in the 20s, there was no question. For African Americans looking to make a living as a performer in the 1920s, the options were few. Starting in 1909 the Theatre Owners Booking Association (TOBA) circuit booked black variety shows across the East and Midwest, essentially the black equivalent of the white Vaudeville circuit. Blues legend, and Bessie Smith’s mentor, Ma Rainey said TOBA stood for “Tough on Black Asses,” but in times before radio or talkies TOBA helped make possible the phenomenon of nationally known musical stars. A show would stay a few days or maybe a week in one place, and then move on, leaving new fans in the artists’ wake. “Tough” as TOBA may have been, if you were a part of Bessie Smith’s cast you would have traveled in serious style. Bessie took care of her performers, and bought a custom-made railroad car for her troupe. “Bessie’s Pleasure Train” was lavish and sexy, with two stories, a full kitchen, four bedrooms and a bathroom. It’s said that when Smith and her troupe traveled, it became a mixture of hotel, saloon and bordello. Many of Smith’s chorines, or chorus girls, were known to be bisexual or lesbian, a life which at the time offered limited social prospects. The support of “nontraditional” lifestyles found in the black entertainment world was a rare safe space for these women. However, the traveling life was not without its challenges. Smith’s car was especially convenient in smaller Southern towns, because most hotels didn’t allow blacks; Bessie openly defied segregation, but even she couldn’t stop it. Also, a touring schedule meant long hours on the road in between lots of performances and partying. And for chorus members and musicians it was not the most lucrative of businesses. When the Great Depression hit, touring was the only major form of income for blues and jazz musicians. A life on the road was not without glamour, but it certainly came with a price. less For black performers in the 20s, there was no question. For African Americans looking to make a living as a performer in the 1920s, the options were few. Starting in 1909 the Theatre Owners Booking Association (TOBA) circuit booked black variety shows across the... more
Bessie Smith - Changing the World, One Song at a Time: Bessie Smith was born in 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. That same year, 134 African Americans were lynched, an effort to bring a women’s suffrage amendment to voters in New York failed, and the book Sex Tips for Husbands and Wives was published to help young women facing “the terrible experience of sex for the first time.” However, in the three decades of her life, “the Empress of the Blues” challenged both the musical and social status quo, and left both unquestionably changed. Bessie Smith’s 1923 recording debut with Columbia, “Downhearted Blues” and “Gulf Coast Blues,” sold over 780,000 copies. She was soon earning over $2,000 a week, making her the most successful recording artist of the day. These are in themselves staggering achievements for a black woman at the time, but some of her lyrics illustrate not only the example she set then, but her continued importance today. In songs like “Safety Mama,” she told women “how to treat a no-good man,” by maintaining financial independence, and exhorting equal gender roles: “I made him stay at home, help me wash and iron / The neighbors know he done lost his mind.” In “Young Woman’s Blues” she argued the case for sexual and social freedom outside of marriage: “No time to marry, no time to settle down / I’m a young woman and I ain’t done runnin’ ‘round / …I’m as good as any woman in your town… / I’m gon’ drink good moonshine and run these browns down.” Bessie’s influence on society didn’t end with her lyrics. Chris Albertson’s biography, Bessie, recounts that at a performance in Concord, North Carolina, Ku Klux Klan members began to collapse the tent under which she was performing. When the male members of her band refused to confront them, Smith “ran towards the intruders, stopped within a few feet of them, placed one hand on her hip, and shook a clenched fist at the Klansmen. ‘What the fuck you think you’re doin’?... I’ll get the whole damn tent out here if I have to. You just pick up them sheets and run!’” They did precisely that, to the sound of continued threats. Bessie was never afraid to back up her words with action—and at six feet tall and over 200 pounds, her actions spoke just as loud as her words. And that’s loud, indeed. less Bessie Smith was born in 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. That same year, 134 African Americans were lynched, an effort to bring a women’s suffrage amendment to voters in New York failed, and the book Sex Tips for Husbands and Wives was published to help young women facing “the... more
Journey to the Land of the Blues: CPH values theatre as essential through one’s life for developing empathy, broadening understanding, and heightening awareness of the communal nature of our existence. However, research shows that less than 4% of our country’s public elementary schools offer theatre education to their students. To compensate for that deficit, more classroom teachers are attempting to reinstate theatre education by integrating it into academic subjects. Sadly, only 2% of those teachers hold a license in theatre education, and less than 1% of the school districts are offering professional development specifically related to theatre and arts integration. With our Educator Evenings program, CPH provides our teachers with a lively professional development program based on themes of each of Mainstage play that supports them as they bravely try to retain theatre in our classrooms. Last season we served 599 teachers and pre-service teachers with high quality professional development. If each adult participant in CPH’s Educator evening program took what they learned into the classroom, a minimum of 15,000 children would experience theatre education. For THE DEVIL'S MUSIC Educator Evening on February 19, we will be partnering with the organization Roots of American Music to create the following arts integration module: Journey to the Land of the Blues takes participants on a lively journey through the history of the blues, a music created out of the Southern African-American experience and one of the roots of Rock and Roll. Stories of social and cultural conditions are woven into the history of the music, including the experiences of slaves, the “Great Migration” of African-Americans, and the technological advances that affected music and everyday life. For information on the program and how to participate, contact Pamela DiPasquale, Director of Education, at 216-400-7060. less CPH values theatre as essential through one’s life for developing empathy, broadening understanding, and heightening awareness of the communal nature of our existence. However, research shows that less than 4% of our country’s public elementary schools offer theatre education to their students. To compensate for... more
Play Guide - The Devil's Music: To view the Play Guide, click on the related file link below!You don’t earn the title “Empress of the Blues” without leaving your mark, and that couldn’t be more true of American musical legend Bessie Smith. It’s fitting that as our country celebrates Black History Month this seminal figure graces the Allen stage; all contemporary American popular music can trace its roots to the Blues, and Bessie brought the Blues into the mainstream. Hers is a true rags-to-riches story: though she was born into poverty in the south she rose to the heights of fame, making the equivalent of $25,000 a week at the peak of her career. But her path was anything but smooth. Known for her hard-drinking, free-loving, no-holds-barred lifestyle, Bessie Smith and her music confronted—and broke down—barriers of race, gender and sexuality in ways that, arguably, no one before her had.In this issue of the CPH Play Guide, you’ll discover Bessie’s custom-made railroad car, as well as other less luxurious facts of life for African American touring artists in the 1920s; step into a side of the Harlem Renaissance you never knew existed; and explore the sexy secrets of the blues lifestyle and lyrics. Once you’ve read the Play Guide, pass it on to friends—believe us, there’s plenty to talk about! And if you want more, be sure to RSVP for our InsideCPH event, “The Devil’s Music: Selling a Song,” on February 25th (more on that in the Guide). Then we’ll see you at the Allen Theatre for some red hot blues with The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith. To view the Play Guide, click on the related file link below! less To view the Play Guide, click on the related file link below!You don’t earn the title “Empress of the Blues” without leaving your mark, and that couldn’t be more true of American musical legend Bessie Smith. It’s fitting that as our country celebrates Black History Month this seminal... more
Because "Buffet" Means Everything: The Devil’s Music takes place in a “Buffet Flat,” a unique institution born out of necessity in a time when anyone who didn’t belong to the white—and heterosexual—majority couldn’t fully express themselves in most traditional clubs. Ruby Walker, Bessie’s niece-by-marriage who also toured with her, said, “They called them ‘buffet flats’ because buffet means ‘everything’… Everything that was in the life.” The following examination of the Buffet Flat is excerpted from music historian Chris Albertson’s blog, Stomp-off. Buffet Flats, sometimes called Goodtime Flats, were small, privately owned, unlicensed clubs where customers could engage in such mundane illegal pastimes as drinking and gambling—for starters. These fun flats also offered erotic shows that featured sex acts of every conceivable kind and were only too happy to accommodate customer participation—for a fee, of course. Usually owned by women, these establishments were run with admirable efficiency, catering to the occasional thrill-seeker as well as to regular clients whose personal preferences they knew in detail. Often the hostess also served as a bank, entrusted with valuables and sizable amounts of cash. Withdrawals could be made at any time in the course of the evening or morning. This probably ties in to the fact that buffet flats were originally set up to cater to Pullman porters Pullman porters (African-American men hired to serve whites on the railroads’ sleeping cars), whose extensive travels, contacts with the white upper class, gentlemanly manners, and good income earned them considerable respect in black communities. Porters had layovers, and what better place to let it all hang out than a neighborhood buffet flat? These establishments had existed for years, but Prohibition gave loose living a boost and made the flats even more popular.Whenever Bessie Smith appeared at the Koppin Theater in Detroit, she paid a visit to a buffet flat owned by a friend of hers. This lady even sent to pick up Bessie and her entourage of chorines, “girls who knew how to keep their mouths shut”. From various descriptions [including interviews with Ruby Walker], I pieced together a composite picture of what a typical night with Bessie at this buffet flat might have been like: "Drinks in hand, an eclectic crowd of pleasure-seekers packed the house. While some leisurely ascended and descended the linoleum-covered steps, others lined the staircases that connected the three floors. The air was thick with smoke, giggles, and clashing perfumes; two pianists, on separate floors, pounded the ivory competitively, and oooh’s and ahh’s emanated from activity rooms on each floor. Puffed up by their furs, Bessie and her young ladies negotiate their way down one of the corridors, to a room reserved for coats. 'There were so many fur coats that it looked like a zoo,' recalled Ruby. As usual, Bessie more or less restricted her participation to voyeurism. She could ill afford to actively exhibit her prurient interest publicly lest word of it got back to [her husband] Jack. 'Jack knew she wasn’t being no angel,' observed Ruby, 'but Bessie was kinda careful—well, let’s say she would only go so far when strangers were around—but not always. Bessie was well known in that place.' ‘Bessie took her favorite girls and, of course, me. We was all dressed up, she had five fur coats. Each one of us would wear one of the coats. I would always wear the mink. The coat was so big on me, I could wrap it around me three times. I didn't care, I just liked to wear the mink. Bessie would have me carry the bad liquor and anything else we wanted to sneak around with, under the mink. By being so big, no one noticed. As usual, when we went into a joint with Bessie it would start jumping; she was like a magnet, she attracted everyone.’” Chris Albertson is author of Bessie, generally considered the definitive biography of Bessie Smith. For more on Bessie and other African American musical greats visit www.stomp-off.blogspot.com. less The Devil’s Music takes place in a “Buffet Flat,” a unique institution born out of necessity in a time when anyone who didn’t belong to the white—and heterosexual—majority couldn’t fully express themselves in most traditional clubs. Ruby Walker, Bessie’s niece-by-marriage who also toured with her, said, “They called... more
The Must of Miche Braden: In the summer of 2012, The Devil’s Music was invited to give six performances at The Montreal International Jazz Festival, the only play ever invited to this renowned music festival.While there, performer Miche Braden talks about her love of blues and pays tribute to the great Bessie Smith. Click on the YouTube video above to hear her interview! The Must of Miche Braden (video transcript): “Motown! My former father-in-law, Beans Boles -- Thomas Beans Boles -- he wrote 'Fingertips' but people don’t know that. And I have a big love of -- being from Detroit -- of Motown. Bessie really brought the blues to the forefront to me. She brought it out to the mainstream. It wasn’t just a backwoods country blues tent show music, after she got hold to it. She was playing the big halls, she was making the big money. The big money. Ya know -- over two grand a week. And if I could make that now, I would be real happy. She was just an amazing person as well as a wild personality and I knew her story would be something that would be really great. She was free. She was free with her music, she was free with her love, and all of that melded together. Bessie Smith was one of the greatest, and people still refer to her. If you don’t listen to your roots and history of your music -- you have to know where you came from to get to where you are at, and I listen to them all.” less In the summer of 2012, The Devil’s Music was invited to give six performances at The Montreal International Jazz Festival, the only play ever invited to this renowned music festival.While there, performer Miche Braden talks about her love of blues and pays tribute to the... more
Common Threads: The Whipping Man & The Devil's Music: Taken alone, each play in CPH's season is entertaining and vital, but fascinating connections emerge when you examine them together.Bessie Smith, protagonist of The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, was born into poverty in 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Given the fact that her father was of an age to have his occupation recorded in the 1870 census ("minister of the gospel"), her parents were almost certainly former slaves - perhaps not much older than The Whipping Man's John.Those who saw our One Night With Janis Joplin this summer will know that Smith was also one of Joplin's greatest influences. In 1970, Joplin even purchased a headstone for Smith's unmarked grave.The Devil's MusicFebruary 15 - March 10Allen TheatreLearn more! less Taken alone, each play in CPH's season is entertaining and vital, but fascinating connections emerge when you examine them together.Bessie Smith, protagonist of The Devil's Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, was born into poverty in 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Given the fact that her father... more
The Devil's Music
The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith
February 15 - March 10, Allen Theatre
written by Angelo Parra
conceived and directed by Joe Brancato
musical direction and performance by Miche Braden
Approx. 90 minutes, no intermission
My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Miche's voice was great, and more her stage presence held my attention from beginning to end. It was a clever and insightful performace. The set was beautiful, and the musicians were bangin! Excuse my slang.
Really enjoyed this performance! Great singing (and musicians) talent!!
Was a fun time.
The two of us enjoyed the show very much. The set was great and the more music was very good also the story was interesting and the audience participation was a plus.
Wow! What a voice! I was blown away by the talent and more also the understated direction and script. I was moved by the story and learning about Bessie Smith in this way. I would definitely recommend the show.
Wonderful singing and live band! A very entertaining play.
Outstanding. music was great and took me back to my youth visiting clubs in more Greenwich Village only thing missing was smoke filled room & drink in my hand.
Our first visit to the Cleveland Play House was outstanding. The music, acting, set were more fantastic. The theater itself is a treasure. Special thanks for the email prior to our visit for providing all the necessary information to make our visit a success. It was a wonderful evening in Cleveland.
This show was so much more than I expected. It was highly entertaining, the more production, the set, the story, and of course Miche and the band were incredible. She really transported you to the 30s and I really felt I was spending the evening with Bessie Smith. If you missed this one, you missed a real winner! Thanks for a great evening.
Great story better music. Really enjoyed the band and the way the story was intertwined more with the singing. Comedic entertainment as well. Definitely recommended!
Four people just got everything right last night (2/20). For this life-long bass loving more kid - the stand up bass player was brilliant! I am telling everyone I know to see this show before it leaves!
Great, great show, Miche Braden was magnificent, my wife and I really enjoyed this performance
Just fabulous! Great talent! We have been trying to purchase a CD of this more show with these artists to no avail. Perfect for "blues" fans.
We enjoyed the performance thanks to a great voice on the music and the musicians. more We have recommended the show to friends.
There are four of us that come from Lorain County to enjoy the playhouse. more This had to be the whipped cream on the top of a really nice season. I could have listened to that wonderful voice for twice as long. The whole production was a joy and, as usual, the set was a work of art. Thank you for a wonderful afternoon of the biography and music of Bessie Smith and that wonderful trio.
The show was excellent and so was my seat!! I love live theater...
From the moment Miche Braden came onstage I was transported back to the final days more in the life of Bessie Smith. The story, the performances, the masterful direction all make for great theatre!
I truly enjoyed the story about Bessie Smith. I was very aware of her but more I didn't know all about her history and how successful she was. We need more plays telling the story about African Americans.
What an incredible story ... A powerful and sensitive portrayal of Ms. Bessie Smith ... more sung with heart and played with enthusiasm. If any part of you loves the blues, this is a must see. This cast knocked it out of the park.
...fun as sin...
FABULOUS! I wish everyone could see it!
Outstanding show and super performance by the lead. The show received a well deserved more standing ovation.
Great plot, great acting/singing/musicians. need I say that we had a great time ?
A Five-Star show!!! Great musicians,great songs and an unforgettable performance by Miche Braden as more Bessie. We're going to see it again
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed The Devil's Music....
Fabulous cast did justice more to this amazing production....
Great show. Bessie was truly an Empress.
Excellent production! MUsically outstanding from all the players--Miche Braden was an exceptional singer and performer more and really captured the spirit of bessie Smith. Musicians backing her were wonderful. PLAy was very rivetting and fast-moving and ni felt that we were made more aware of the times, attitudes, issues--and lifestyle in which she lived. Very good!!
Wow! Bessie Smith came to life in this fabulous production. Superb entertainment as well more as historic tribute to the "Empress of the Blues."
The essence of Bessie Smith was captured in this phenomenal play. I felt as if more I was truley watching Bessie as Miche Braden talked, sang and danced. I have a greater understanding of the happiness and heartache Bessie endured in her short 42 years of life. TOWANDA BESSIE SMITH!!!
This was an outstanding production in all areas - Bavo!
A top-notch production! Miche Braden virtually embodies Bessie in every way - from her voice, more to her moves, down to the way she wears her clothes, but her poignant portrayal also captures the sadness behind much of her music.
Fantastic show,great songs and powerful musicians,the empress held court.
I thought her delivery, both singing and acting, was as fine a total peformance as more I have ever seen on a stage. Simply magnificent.
Great show and the inside program presentation program made it even better.
This was one of the best shows I've ever seen at the theaters in Cleveland more and loved the Allen Theater - great seats, intimate setting and excellent acoustics. Great bargain for the price.
Miche was great as were all three musicians
good show, we were not sure we more were going to like it----but we did the Sax player was wonderful and what an insight into an era before our time
Love the musical. The actress and musicians were wonderful. The set outstanding. more Captured the feel, spirit, heart, and soul of the times. Well done. I would love to see it again.
Ms.Braden captured the period, the personage, and the atmosphere perfectly. The musicians were OUTSTANDING!
The story was told so well through song and dialogue -- but the actress/vocalist was more so exceptionally talented that she could "sell" any story! Thank you for bringing this musical to Cleveland.
Devine!!!! Miche drew us in to Bessie's life and music---can't stop thinking about more the wonderful experience.. Thank you CPH and Kulas Corporation for bring to Cleveland such outstanding entertainment.
The Devil's Music was an awesome show!!!! Miche Braden is an extremely talented musician, more
actor and composer. The set was fantastic and very realistic. Braden brought everyone in the audience right along with her in every song and in all the dialogue.
The jazz musicians that played with her were exceptional! It was a very informative and entertaining show. Thank You!
What a voice! What an actress!! What a musical jazz combo of instrumentalists!!! more What a fanatastic evening!!!! Thanks for a spectactular performance!!!!!
The Devil's Music was a terrific show. All four cast members were superior in more every way. Great musical performances throughout the show.
The music and performances of all involved were outstanding. I am a lover of more the blues and Miche (sp) was amazing. She had the voice as well as the mannerisms of Bessie Smith down pat. Thank you for a wonderful show.
An excellent performance by "Bessie Smith"
and her 3 marvelous musicians. It was more of more a "one woman'e show" than a play, but the
talent was exhuberant and marvelous.
Congratulations on another winner !!
The singing was amazing and the story-telling remarkable. We came away saddened by Bessie's more life, but inspired by the singing legacy that she left. Awesome rendition of her life and music! Really enjoyed how the audience was drawn into her life.
(Braden) delivers an unforgettable performance as the unsinkable diva.
Awesome show! What a great performance!
What a magnificent performance by the entire cast of "The Devil's Music"! The set more was exquisite and the talent amazing! How lucky we are to have The Cleveland Playhouse for fine theater experiences. If you haven't been to the Playhouse lately, please consider returning--you will not be disappointed!
Sexy, sassy and sizzlin'. Exceptional musicians and Miche was stupendous. Terrific entertainment more and so worth it!
Bravo!!! Absolutely fabulous performance by Miche Braden. Great voice, definitely portrayed the Empress more of the Blues - we feel like we know Bessie Smith personally after "Braden's" performance. Congrats to everyone in the show. A great evening of entertainment - recommend to everyone who enjoys the Blues, along with the history of Blues, to see this show!
BRAVO! One of the best performances I've witnessed in years. Braden is remarkable more -- what a voice, and what a presence! AND, the 3 very talented musicians in the band were phenomenal! I'd go see the show again in a heartbeat.
An absolutely wonderful production. Ms. Braden was excellent in her portrayal of Bessie Smith more
in her character, singing, antics, etc. The music was great and added significantly to the production. All in all it was a very enjoyable performance.
I was completely overwhelmed by the stellar performance of Miche Braden. Her talent is such more that I hope she will record a CD of this music, her voice is incredible and her tribute to Bessie Smith in this show is worth seeing a second or third. It's just that good. Her backing trio of Jim Hankins on bass, George Caldwell and the amazing Keith Loftis on saxophone were fantastic in their musicality as well as interactions with Ms. Braden. If you're going to CPH for a show, this is the one to see.
Really enjoyed the show. Very talented musicians. Beautiful theatre.
We loved the show, the ambience and the theater itself. Great size for an intimate more experience of the music. My husband and I enjoyed every minute!
Absolutely fantastic performance! I highly recommend this performance to everyone and anyone who enjoys great more Blues music, true life acting with historical content! Bravo!
A remarkable and very enjoyable performance by all cast members; Miche Braden as Bessie Smith more was fantastic, what a terrific stage presence she displayed.
Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. What a great voice - brilliantly conceived and performed - everyone in more Cleveland should see this show!
The BEST production of the season!!
Miche Braden was incredible, amazing, and powerful.
The more set was beautiful. All sets at CPH are outstanding. I miss the days when the curtain opened on a set, and the audience applauded. Consider this set duly applauded!!
I enjoyed the show, and learnt more of American music and artists
We thoroughly enjoyed the show. Miche Braden was fabulous as were the musicians!
An outstanding proformance from the entire cast. Loved it!!!
This is one of the best musical productions I have ever seen....it was absolutely fabulous! more If I would have known it was going to be this good, I would have arranged to see it twice!
When I went to the see Devil's Music, I really was not looking forward more to seeing it. I thought a Jazz musical. I don't care for jazz. After seeing it, I wouldn't have missed it. I loved the music, the story , the musicians and the actor. She had a marvelous voice. It was WONDERFUL. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BRINGING IT TO THE PLAYHOUSE.
If you are a "blues fan" it was great, If you are not a more "blues fan" it was still great. What a voice. If only the theater was as hot as she was.
Your staging was great. I liked the set very much. However, I found it exhausting more and hard on my ears to listen to the singing. The instrumentalists were fine, but it was hard for me to sit through the entire performance.
This was not one of my favorite plays. I am not a fan of more "the blues" and I prefer plays with more plot and substance. It is not one I would recommend.
We enjoyed the show very much, and thought the musicians were terrific. Miche did more very well with the role as it was designed, but we thought the role demanded "overacting," especially the scenes where she was supposed to be singing drunk. We would have liked to have her seen more complete versions of the songs, and maybe a bit less dialogue unless it was critical biographical information (which a lot of it was).
My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Miche's voice was great,...