Low Down Dirty Blues

By Randal Mylers and Dan Wheetmanlow down dirty blues at northlight theatre

Directed by Randal Myler

Music Director Dan Wheetman

At Northlight Theatre, Skokie

Sexy, stylish, angst-ridden blues revue reaches into your soul

If you ever wondered how blues folks unwind after a night of performing blues tunes that the audience wants, get to Northlight Theatre in Skokie for 85 minutes of dirty blues.  It is quite late at a Chicago blues club that finds the musicians gathered to swap stories and songs filled with passion, soul and sex. These authentic blues tunes need to be heard since description can’t do them justice. Co-creators Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman are channeling Muddy Waters, Ma Rainey, Sophie Tucker, Howlin’ Wolf and Pearl Bailey in a quite low down truthful dirty jam session.

low down dirty blues at northlight theatre

This sizzling and sassy world premiere musical features Mississippi Charles Bevel, Felicia P. Fields, Gregory Porter and Sandra Reaves-Phillips- a most deeply rooted group of blues artists.  A rousing, raucous, musical good time comes from the vivid stories of the pain and trouble many black folks suffered as part of their American Experience.

low down dirty blues at northlight theatre

One of the themes expressed by the four blues giants was their sexual appetites. The double meanings and sexual references hidden in everyday terms. “Don’t Jump on My Pony’ sings Sandra Reaves-Phillips; “Mojo Hand” laments Gregory Porter; Felicia Fields states that “I Get My Mojo Workin’ ” and “My Stove’s in Good Condition.” Mississippi Charles Bevel speaks of “Jelly Roll Baker”;  while Fields says she’s “Not That Kind of Girl. ” In this tuneful 85 minutes we are taken deep inside the world of the blues.  These toe-tapping, wonderfully presented revue features terrific blue players: Frank Menzies on piano with James A. Perkins, Jr. on guitar with Michael Manson on bass and Jon Spiegel on contractor. They sure made the blues jump.

low down dirty blues at northlight theatre

The loneliness, that sexual urges and the pain of living the blues is honestly presented and sung here. “Good Morning Heartache,” “Lord, I Tried” and “Everyday I Have the Blues” each aptly describe the earthy feelings of this fabulous troupe of blues singers. Felicia P. Fields leads a fine group of blues folks here. I enjoyed this show immensely and so will you. Blues rules here!

Highly Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: June 5, 2010

Jeff Recommended

At Northlight Theatre, 9501 N. Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL,  call 847-673-6300, www.northlight.org, tickets $39 – $54, Tuesdays thru Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays &  Saturdays at 8 pm,  Sundays at 7 pm, matinees at 1 pm on Wednesdays, Saturdays at 2:30 and Sundays at 2:30 pm, running time is 85 minutes without intermission, through July 3, 2010