Bessie Speaks

(Above) The real Bessie Smith

From an interview with Debbie Blackwell-Cook, who played Bessie Smith in this one-woman show:

Well, the thing is, I’ve been on a lot of stages. But with Bessie Smith, strange things happened. Her music would come on the radio and it wasn’t even a Bessie Smith kind of channel. It was almost like she was with me.

The name of the play was Bessie Speaks and it was a one-woman play and we had a piano player, Grenoldo Frazier, and my son Troy was the spirit of the play. He would dance through every now and then. But it was a whole book and directed by my husband Dwight Cook. Theresa Merritt – she did Best Little Whorehouse In Texas  and That’s My Mama on television and The Wiz with Diana Ross – she was one of my mentors and she said to me, “Oh Girl, that’s too much work for one person. It’s too much work.” Cause I had to do the whole book, it was a two hour play and I had to sing. I wish we had taped it. We didn’t tape it but oh my God, I wish we had taped it because that was some of my best work.

Presented as part of the 1994-95 Season

Play opened June 23, 1995 at the Harry De Jur Playhouse

Artist Credits

Credit Artist Photo
Playwright China Clark
Director Dwight R. B. Cook
Musical Director Grenoldo Frazier
Stage Manager Yvette Coit
Set Designer Chris Cumberbatch
Lighting Designer Ric Rogers
Costume Designer Judy Dearing
Sound Designer Mike Sargent
Actor Debbi Blackwell-Cook

All 1994-95 Season productions: