Angelo Parra’s hit 2001 Off-Broadway musical premieres in Michigan. Set on the evening of her death in 1937, Bessie Smith holds court in a gin joint as she muses about her life and career as a cultural icon in a deeply segregated society.
Dexter’s Encore Theatre has a history of beautifully fitting large, epic musicals such as Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and Fiddler on the Roof into its small, intimate space. While Andrew Lippa’s Big Fish, which opened on April 26th, is smaller than some shows Encore has produced, it maintains a visual grandeur that bigger shows achieve.
Bessie Smith was one helluva gal, and K. Edmonds does her legacy justice in a raucous, gin joint-style tribute to the pioneering Empress of the Blues.