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Alberta Hunter Leaving The Blues

By Charlotte Robinson, March 14, 2017
Desiree Rogers plays jazz singer-songwriter Alberta Hunter in the World Premiere of “Leaving the Blues” by Lambda Award-winning writer & LGBTQ activist Jewelle Gomez. Directed by Arturo Catricala it’s playing now through April 2nd at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. A major focus of the script is Hunter’s relationship with Lottie Tyler, called Lettie in Gomez’s script played by Leontyne Mbele-Mbong. This is at a time when, as Will (Michael Gene Sullivan) says in the show, “Negroes already have a lot to worry about without that kind of thing. Don’t seem right throwing kerosene on the fire.” Rogers stated about Gomez’s script “She’s taking her time: That’s the biggest thing I noticed with her.” Of her research on the trailblazing singer who left performing to become a nurse but then made a comeback at age 82, Rogers added “Hunter, by contrast, absolutely takes her time. She’s absolutely comfortable with herself. She’s centered & she wants to make sure that her audiences get it. Her purpose is: You hear me talking.” Gomez concluded, “One of the first things I got was Desiree’s posture. Even when playing an elderly Hunter, Rogers has this amazingly erect posture & I thought that’s part of who Alberta is, the essence she projects: She stands tall.” Celebrated Blues singer-songwriter Alberta Hunter lived from 1895 until 1984.
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1 comment:

Marilyn Rosen said...

I learned about Alberta Hunter in the 70's and listened to her music constantly. Quite the woman and Artist.

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