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Theatre NOVA’s ‘The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith’ Extended

BTL Staff
By | 2018-04-25T15:24:31+00:00 April 25th, 2018|Ann Arbor, Neighborhoods|

ANN ARBOR, Mich – Ann Arbor’s Theatre Nova has announced an extension of its smash hit “The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith” by Angelo Parra. The show was slated to run through April 22 but has been extended through April 29 due to full houses, glowing audience response and critical acclaim.
“One of your best productions. Wow! Can she ever sing and move? I could almost convince myself I was seeing the real Bessie. Excellent piano, too. A day later and I’m still tapping the beat,” said one audience member.
The show also appealed to all ages. Like for one fan who said, “Great show. I brought my mom with me – 90 years old – There were times when we were both transported to a different time.”
The show is the Michigan premiere of the hit Off-Broadway musical that celebrates the life of musician Bessie Smith. “The Devil’s Music” re-imagines Bessie’s final electrifying evening after she and her band are turned away by a whites-only theatre. The show is music-heavy as it’s packed with a many of Bessie’s all-time hits, with songs like “I Ain’t Got Nobody,” “St. Louis Blues” and “’Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do.”
However, as fun as the show may be, Ann Arbor’s “Pulp” magazine has said that the show knows when to “rein” in the celebration and be serious about Smith’s life as well.
“Director Lynch Travis makes fine use of the small, intimate Theatre Nova space by having Edmonds dance, swagger and sashay across the tiny ‘house-party’ space, drawing the audience toward her and into her story,” the magazine said. “The music isn’t random, and Travis makes the connections clear as Smith unreels her story under the influence of an ever-handy glass of alcohol — usually gin — but … she and Travis do not let Smith become a caricature.”
Theatre NOVA is located at 410 W. Huron, Ann Arbor. Remaining performances are April 19, 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. and April 22 and 29 at 2 p.m. Theatre NOVA features free parking for patrons.

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 25th anniversary.