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.
|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|
All 1994-95 Season productions: