World premiere of new musical based on legendary bluesman Blind Lemon.
June 19, 2018: The York Theatre Company in association with Documentary Arts, presented the world premiere of the new musical Lonesome Blues, based on the true story of legendary bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson, created by Alan Govenar (Texas in Paris) and Akině Babatundeě (Blind Lemon Blues), directed by Katherine Owens and performed by Akině Babatundeě with David Weiss on guitar.
Lonesome Blues is the true story of the legendary bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson: born blind, but ultimately able to express his deepest emotions through music. Discovered on a street corner in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas, Texas in 1925, Jefferson made more than 80 records over the next four years, becoming one the most prolific and influential performers of his generation and propelling the growth of rhythm blues, soul, doo-wop, rap, and hip-hop. Building on the success of their earlier musical Blind Lemon Blues, presented by the York in 2007 and 2009, Alan Govenar and Akině Babatundeě have used new research to probe deeper into the life and psyche of Blind Lemon Jefferson. In Lonesome Blues, Babatundeě plays more than ten different roles, channeling the spirits of men and women alike, in a journey that is at once evocative, troubling, and transformative. Songs and monologues bring to life the voice of Blind Lemon Jefferson, his community, and his musical contemporaries, including Blind Willie Johnson, Lillian Glinn, Hattie Hudson, Bobbie Cadillac, and Lead Belly—all coming together in Jefferson’s mind on the day of his death, December 19, 1929, in Chicago.
Performances began June 12, 2018 for a limited engagement through Sunday afternoon, July 1, 2018 at The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter’s (entrance on East 54th Street, just east of Lexington Avenue). For tickets or more information https://yorktheatre.org/
Photography: Barry Gordin