‘Low Down Dirty Blues’ takes center stage at Herberger Theater
April 9, 2018
From now until April 22, Herberger Theater welcomes “Low Down Dirty Blues” to give a performance that celebrates some of the greatest blues singers of all time.
Produced by Arizona Theatre Company, the theatrical musical features Tony-nominated Felicia P. Fields as “Big Mama,” Chic Street Man as “Jelly Roll Martin” and Shake Anderson as “Shake.” They all come together at Big Mama’s house after a night of working at a club to talk and lament about the blues. Fields says it’s a very light story, more musical than theatrical.
“I was extremely familiar with the blues,” Anderson says. “I grew up listening to the great blues singers in my house. Life is the blues if you’re a musician… I’m a ‘mactor’ [musician and actor]. I’m a combination. I’m a double threat.”
All three consider themselves both actors and singers. Fields says even when she is singing, she’s both acting and singing with a passion that exists especially in blues.
The actor singers all come from a background of music. Fields sang gospel most of her life and that genre inhabits the same space as blues, she says. Street Man’s mother was a blues and gospel singer. Anderson mentioned above that he grew up listening to blues. While they were all familiar with the sound, they agree you need to connect it to personal experiences in order for it to be performed.
“I have similar stories [as the characters] in my background,” Anderson says. “I grew up without my father. We were poor. I grew up in a time especially in a city where it wasn’t the most racially equal. I went on the road when I was really young. People who sing the blues they relate their own lives to what’s already come before them.”
Fields says she hopes guests will come to the theater and leave their worries behind for a couple hours. She says Big Mama’s house is a place to release and enjoy yourself.
“I would like the people to understand our experience may not be an experience they have had in their lives,” Street Man says. “If we can cross over ethnic lines, we can break down walls and barriers and build bridges and see that we have a lot in common. We can share and experience each other’s beauty.”
“Low Down Dirty Blues” will be performed at Herberger Theater in Phoenix from now until April 22. For more information, including where to buy tickets, go to herbergertheater.org.