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Vocalist Barbara Morrison returns to stage in “HOWLIN’ BLUES AND DIRTY DOGS”
By Sentinel News Service
Published January 29, 2009

Blues and jazz vocalist Barbara Morrison returns to the stage in the play Howlin’ Blues and Dirty Dogs, about the life and times of legendary blues singer Big Mama Thornton.  Enjoying a sold-out five week run at the Secret Rose Theatre in North Hollywood last summer, this play of music, dancing, comedy and drama re-opens on Thursday, January 22 at 8:00 p.m. at the Stella Adler Theatre in Hollywood at Hollywood and Highland.  

The play will run every week on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and two shows on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., closing on April 12.   Morrison plays the title role of Big Mama Thornton that the LA Weekly praised as “The spirit of the blues pulsates resoundingly throughout this stirring musical based on the life of Big Mama Thornton.   Class act vocalist Barbara Morrison, who sports her own international credentials, delivers an affecting performance as the feisty soul singer…”

Big Mama Thornton's work began in the 1940's and spanned over four decades, yet she never gained the notoriety nor the wealth that she truly deserved for her gallant effort.   She was the first to have a hit with the song, "Hound Dog,” later eclipsed by Elvis Presley’s recording of the same tune.  In a similar occurrence Thornton wrote and recorded and had a hit with "Ball and Chain" that was also a huge hit for Janis Joplin.  

Howlin’ Blues and Dirty Dogs was written by the Theatre Perception Consortium – Larry James Robinson, Carla DuPree Clark and Tu’Nook.  Barbara Morrison's band The Bu Crew – Charles Small (guitar), Ronald Bishop (piano), Richard Taylor (bass) and Peter Buck (drums) – provide the live musical accompaniment during the play and serve as Musical Directors.   

The production is directed by Carla DuPree Clark that includes: Lou Beatty as vaudevillian Sammy Green, Larney “Dapper” Johnson as singer Johnny Otis, and Phillip Bell as Johnny Ace.  Robinson, Clark and Tu’Nook were the producers and writers of the historical 1940s jazz musical North On South Central Ave that won Best Sound, Best Costumes, Best Ensemble and Best Director at the 2004 NAACP Theatre Awards.    

The Stella Adler Theatre is located at 6773 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.   Parking is located at the Kodak Center for $2.00.   Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased through:   barbaramorrison.com  or at the theatre the day of the show.    Tickets are also available through Ticketmaster.  For more information call (310) 462-1439.

Categories: Theater

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