Media Coverage

It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues
(Musical Review: Vivian Beaumont Theater: 1105 seats $65 top)

An Eric Krcbs, Jonathan Reinis, Lawrence Horowitz, Anita Waxman, Elizabeth Williams, CTM Prods. and Anac Squadron presentation, in association with Lincoln Center Theater, of the Crossroads Theater Co./San Diego Repertory Theater/Alabama Shakespeare Festival production of a musicai revue in t~vo acts by Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor and Dan Wheetman, based on an original idea by Taylor. Directed by Mylcr. Musical director, Wheetman. Set, Robin Sanford Roberts; lighting, Don Darnutzer; sound, Edward Cosla; production stage manager, Doug Hosney; movement, Donald McKayle. Opened April 26, 1999. Reviewed April 24. Running time: 2 HOURS.

With: "Mississippi" Charles Bevel, Gretha Boston, Caner Calvert, Eloise Laws, Gregory Porter, Ron Taylor, Dan Wheetman.

At the tail end of a Broadway musical season to leave you singing the blues, along comes a surprise contender, "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues," that, joy of joys, gives rise to far happier feelings. It's not a traditional book musical, and it won't snare the tourists looking for shim,, expensive-looking diversions, but this pleasingly unpretentious revue has soul and spirit to spare. In the hands of a fiercely gifted set of singers with deep affection for the songs thev're performing, it adds up to two hours of pure musical pleasure.

Thc show's long road to Broadway began with stints at the three regional theater5 that originally co-produced it: the Crossroads Theater Co. in New Jersey, the San Diego Repertory Theater and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. These three theaters and New 42nd Street Inc. backed its initial Gotham run at the New Victory Theater, where it was picked up for an open-ended run at the Vivian Beaumont by a host of commercial producers. With canny marketing and strong reviews, it could (and should) become the sleeper hit of the musical season. A cast album ought to be recorded tomorrow and put on sale in the lobby; this is the rare show whose music you want to hear again as soon as you leave it.