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  • May/June 2004 Issue 268

    May/June 2004Issue 268Free

    30th Anniversary

    Cookinat the

    CookeryThe Music & Times

    of Alberta Hunter

  • May/June 2004 Issue 268PAGE TWO

    Published by Martin WahlCommunications

    Editor & Founder Bill Wahl

    Layout & Design Bill Wahl

    Operations Jim MartinPilar Martin

    ContributorsMichael Braxton, Mark Cole, ChrisHovan, Nancy Ann Lee, DavidMcPherson, Peanuts, MarkSmith, Duane Verh and RonWeinstock.

    Address all Correspondence to....Jazz & Blues Report19885 Detroit Road # 320Rocky River, Ohio 44116

    Main Office ...... 216.651.0626Editor's Desk ... 440.331.1930

    Comments...billwahl@jazz-blues.comWeb ..................

    Copyright 2004 Martin-Wahl Communications Inc.

    No portion of this publication may bereproduced without written permissionfrom the publisher. All rights Reserved.

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    The much anticipated Marion J.Caffey bio play Cookin at the Cook-ery: the Music and Times of AlbertaHunter will close out the 88th seasonof The Cleveland Playhouse, It is cur-rently running and will continuethrough May 30 in the Drury Theatre.Mr. Caffey will stage The ClevelandPlay House regional premiere of thisco-production with Geva Theatre.

    Before Billie Holiday, Etta James,Koko Taylor, Janis Joplin or BonnieRaitt, there was Alberta Hunter. Thoughovershadowed by her contemporary,Bessie Smith, Alberta made it big inChicago, New York, and Paris. Her ca-reer was on the fast track, performingwith Louis Armstrong and PaulRobeson in the original Broadway castof Show Boat when she decided to quitmusic to become a nurse. When op-portunity knocked again, Ms. Huntermade a big splash when she performedat the Cookery in New York City, at thetender age of 82. This retrospective talecelebrates the life and the music of oneof the First Ladies of Blues.

    GAIL NELSON (Alberta Hunter)hails from North Carolina and Mary-land and is equally at home with Op-era, Broadway, Theater and Clubs. Shehas appeared on Broadway in The TapDance Kid; Applause; Hello, Dolly; Onthe Town; Eubie; Music, Music!; ByStrouse; The World of Carl Sandberg;Beyond Measure; Love Letters; andRadio City Music Halls The GingerRogers Special. She toured with Bub-bling Brown Sugar; the Houston GrandOperas revival of Porgy and Bess;Funny, You Dont Look Like a Grand-mother; and Lady Day at EmersonsBar and Grill. Ms. Nelson also appearedas Coretta Scott King in the musicalKing, by Maya Angelou, for the presi-dential inauguration of Bill Clinton, andbirthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Ms. Nelson continues to perform in the

    CookinCookinCookinCookinCookin iiiii at the Cookery: at the Cookery: at the Cookery: at the Cookery: at the Cookery:The Music and TimesThe Music and TimesThe Music and TimesThe Music and TimesThe Music and Timesof Alberta Hunterof Alberta Hunterof Alberta Hunterof Alberta Hunterof Alberta Hunter

    The Final Production of The Cleveland Playhouses 88th Season

    revues: This Joint is Jumping; Puttin onthe Ritz; Gershwin and Friends; and BillieHoliday, Remembered. She was a guestartist and hostess for the annual India-napolis Christmas Yuletide Extrava-ganza, and remains a popular guest en-ter tainer on Holland American,Seabourn, and Raddison Cruise Lines.A graduate of Oberlin College, with aMasters from New England Conserva-tory, Ms. Nelson was a member of theMetropolitan Opera Studio, and an Art-ist-in-Residence with Affiliate Artists, Inc.She is married to pianist-arranger, Mu-sical Supervisor of this production,Danny Holgate.

    CARLA WOODS (The Narrator)most recently appeared in Smokey JoesCaf at the Westchester Broadway The-ater. She appeared in Playhouse on theGreens production of Aint Misbehavin,which received a Connecticut CriticsCircle Award for Best Ensemble. Ms.Woods originated the role of Rose in theOff-Broadway production of Abies Is-land Rose, performed at the Jewish Rep-ertory Theater, as well as the HollywoodPlayhouse. She has been seen threetimes at the York Theatre Company per-forming in New Girl in Town, CarmenJones, and Wish You Were Here. Othercredits include Merrily We Roll Along(Guthrie Theater), Blues In The Night(Virginia Stage), Mary Magdelene inJesus Christ Superstar, and Lizzie inBaby. Ms. Woods hosted the talk showThe Chat Zone for HBO, and per-formed on the Disney Magic as theCircle of Life finale soloist, a Muse andeven a sword-fighting pirate.

    The productions creative teamearned multiple awards from the NAACPfor their work on COOKIN AT THECOOKERY, including: Mr. Caffey for BestPlaywright (Equity), Best Choreography(Equity), Best Director (Equity) and BestDirector of a Musical (Equity); DannyHolgate for Best Music Director (Equity);

    Gail Nelson as the 82-year-old bluessinger Alberta Hunter during her 1977comeback performance at The Cook-ery Club in New York City in TheCleveland Play House production ofMarion J. Caffeys Cookin at theCookery: The Music and Times ofAlberta Hunter in the Drury Theatre.Photo By Roger Mastroianni

    On The Cover

  • May/June 2004 Issue 268 PAGE THREE

    Dale F. Jordan for Best Set Design (Eq-uity) and Marilyn A. Wall for Best Cos-tumes (Equity).

    MARION J. CAFFEY (Playwright,Director-Choreographer) wrote and di-rected the World Premiere of his musi-cal Cookin at the Cookery: The Musicand Times of Alberta Hunter, which hasbeen produced at many prestigious re-gional theatres, as well as Off-Broad-way. Mr. Caffey began his career as asong-and-dance man, working in theUnited States and around the world.Now he dedicates himself to concep-tion, writing, directing and choreogra-phy. This marks his first writing effort,for which he was nominated for the2001 Barrymore Award for Best Direc-tor, the 1998 Arkansas Travelers Award,the 1996 Carbonell Award for Best Cho-reographer, and an honorable mentionfor Best Director and Best Musical. Mr.Caffey has served as Director and/orChoreographer for Blackbirds of Broad-way, Chicago, Forever Plaid, Jelly Roll:The Music and the Man, Little Shop ofHorrors, Tintypes, All Night Strut, AintMisbehavin, Purlie Victorious, Ruthless,Lady Day at Emersons Bar and Grill,Spunk, The Colored Museum, and1940s Radio Hour. He has producedCookin at the Cookery, Three Mo Ten-ors and Lady Day at Emersons Bar andGrill. Most recently he completed Sun-set and the Mockingbird, starring TsidiiLe Loka, and a national tour of Bowfire.

    DANNY HOLGATE (Musical Super-vision and Arrangements) served asMusical Director and Arranger onBroadway for Dont Bother Me, I CantCope; Bubbling Brown Sugar; Eubie;Guys and Dolls (revival); RainbowJones; and Odyssey, starring YulBrynner. He also performed the role ofJimmy Powers in Lady Day atEmersons Bar and Grill in New York.He currently tours the show with hiswife, Gail Nelson, who performs the titlerole of Billie Holiday. Other credits in-clude: Daddy Goodness; Two Faces ofAfrica; the revival of Golden Boy;Stringbean, with Leslie Uggams; Sweetand Hot - an Evening of Harold Arlen;Aretha, Queen of Soul; Blackbirds ofBroadway; and a revival of Storyville.He served as Producer and Arranger forPuttin on the Ritz, This Joint is Jump-ing, and Its Nice to Be Civilized, whichoften perform on the Holland Americacruise lines, as well as for concerts andSymphony Pops Orchestras across

    the country. In addition to his prolifictheatre work, Mr. Holgate was the con-ductor and arranger for the legendaryCab Calloway. In a career spanning over40 years, his renowned talent has takenhim from theatre, to radio, to record-ing, and far beyond.

    WILLIAM FOSTER MCDANIEL(Musical Director, Conductor, Pianist)began his musical theatre career as pia-nist-conductor for the New York pro-duction of The Fantasticks. He has sinceconducted Timbuktu!, Bubblin BrownSugar, Sophisticated Ladies, House OfFlowers, Once On This Island, Big River,Stringbean, Fiddler On The Roof,Nunsense II, Lady Day At EmersonsBar & Grill, Guys and Dolls, A FunnyThing Happened On The Way To TheForum, Hello Dolly, Dream Girls, DamnYankees, Showboat, Dinah Was, WillRogers Follies, Crazy For You, Storyville,Smokey Joes Cafe, A Wonderful Life,Always...Patsy Cline, Call The ChildrenHome and the Broadway and NationalTouring companies of AintMisbehavin. Mr. McDaniels classicalcompositions have been performedbythe Philharmonia of Greensboro, theSavannah Symphony Orchestra, theMozart Society Orchestra at Harvardand the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He isa graduate of Capital and Boston Uni-versities, and was a Fulbright Scholarin Paris.

    The play will be at The Drury The-atre, The Cleveland Play House, 8500Euclid Avenue. Closing night is Sun-day, May 30.

    Cast:Alberta Hunter-Gail NelsonThe Narrator-Carla WoodsCreative Team:Playwright:Marion J. CaffeyDirector-Choreographer:Marion J. CaffeyMusical Supervision andArrangements:Danny HolgateMusical Director, Pianist:Billy McDanielScene and Lighting Design:Dale F. JordanCostume Design: Marilyn A. WallWig Design:Bettie O. RogersResident Sound Designer:Robin HeathTimes: Tuesday-Friday-8:00 p.m.

    Sat. Matinee/Evening 4:00/8:00 p.m.Sunday Matinee 2:00 p.m.Thursday, May 6 1:30 p.m.Tuesday, May 18 7:00 p.m.No evening performances May 11 13;No performance May 25.Prices: Tue-Thu. Previews $32.00Tue-Thu; Sat./Sun. Matinees $40.00Fri./Sat. Evenings $47.50Under 25 tickets $12.00 with proper IDSingle Tickets On Sale Now:Call the Ticket Offic