Playwright and actor Joe Plummer turned his aunt’s love for the blues into the comic and touching play “Nothing But the Blues.”
|CAST REHEARSE FOR ‘NOTHING BUT THE BLUES’
“My aunt loved the blues. I hated it—I was into pop groups like The Jackson 5—but some of the blues was really good. I knew all the songs like Bobby Blue Bland and BB King,” said Plummer who resides in Chicago. “There was a lounge in Chicago—48th street and Indiana—that was a few blocks away from where I lived and I’d see people come out there. When I’d look inside, I’d see musicians and guitars and things like that and it all seemed magical to me.”
“Nothing But the Blues” tells the story of Theresa Needham, owner of the South Side of Chicago blues club, Theresa’s Lounge. After 34 years in the community, the landlord wants Theresa to vacate the premises so that he can take advantage of a lucrative government program.
The show explores the magic that Blues music brings and the people who love it.
“I didn’t want anything too heavy when I wrote this. I love comedies and especially musical comedies. I knew it needed to be uplifting and a lot of fun because that’s what people at taverns do: sing, drink and dance,” said Plummer who wrote the yarn over a six-month period in 2009.
New Horizon Theater will continue its 21st season by presenting the play from October 18-23 at the Kingsley Center.
“Nothing But the Blues” is the fourth play of Plummer’s the theater has done. Previous Plummer productions done by New Horizon include the musicals “Get Ready” and “Joe Tex.”
Plummer is happy to have such a loyal following for his work in New Horizon Theater.
“‘Get Ready’ was about a make believe group based on The Dells and ‘Joe Tex’ was a factual play,” Plummer said.
Joyce Meggerson-Moore, New Horizon Theater chairperson, is happy to be bringing her audience another musical gem.
“Our audience members like Joe Plummer. Efforts are being made to get him to Pittsburgh on opening night. This is a fun piece and it has some blues classics and I hope that the audience gets the educational value. Some of the situations—like how sometimes people can get misused when they don’t sign leases—may ring true to some people,” Meggerson-Moore said.
“I hope the audience walks away with a commitment to New Horizon Theater either financially or through going to see the plays,” Meggerson-Moore continued. “We want people to know that we do good work. I want the audience to enjoy the play.”
“Nothing But the Blues” is directed by Eileen J. Morris.
“I love the way Eileen Morris directs. She was one of the best ones chosen to direct the play,” Plummer said.
“Joe Plummer has a real sensitivity to music and what it does to us,” said Morris who has directed three of Plummer’s plays and currently works as artistic director at the Ensemble Theater in Houston. “Music has a sense of allowing people to take themselves out of situations. People can expect to hear music they can identify with. Poet Maya Angelou’s quote sums it up: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said. People will forget what you did. People will never forget how you make them feel.’ That’s what this play is about. It’s a feel good play.”
“Nothing But The Blues” will be held at the Kingsley Association, 6435 Frankstown Ave. Run times are as follows: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20.
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