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Playing Around: The Holiday Blues Gala 

click to enlarge WILLIAM P. STARR III
  • William P. Starr III

If you want to learn the blues, The Warehouse restaurant is being converted into a house of blues this Sunday night with an evening-long history lesson.

Three members of the stellar cast of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues will be performing selections from the show as well as some of their other favorites from the realm of blues, jazz and spirituals. The hit Broadway play -- originally created at the Denver Center Theater Company -- is a full cast production featuring a stirring re- creation of the path the blues took from the earliest African chants, through field songs, delta blues, Cajun music, and on up past the heyday of Chicago's blues practitioners. Along the way, the ensemble makes stops to perform songs from bluesmakers including everyone from Robert Johnson to Billie Holliday and Muddy Waters.

The one-time-only performance will be grounded by "Mississippi" Charles Bevel, one of the show's original creators, who is known to Springs audiences for his role as Guitar Man in the Zora Neale Hurston play Spunk, performed at Smokebrush in 1997. Joining him from both the Denver and Broadway casts are Eloise Laws, a nationally respected jazz and blues singer, and Gregory Porter, a veteran of many a jazz, blues, gospel and R&B set list.

The Holiday Blues Gala is a benefit for The Colorado Actors' Theater and their outreach programs, including scholarships, "pay-what-you-can" performances, and low-cost high school matinees. The package includes a two-hour performance, appetizers, cash bar and a dessert and champagne toast. Tickets are $60 (of which $25 is tax-deductible) and can be reserved by calling the theater at 444-0884.

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