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BLUES IN THE NIGHT
A musical entertainment, originally conceived and directed by Sheldon Epps.
Donmar Warehouse London
Donmar Warehouse London (Cast Recording)
Piccadilly Theatre London
Billed as 'The Broadway Blues Musical', Blues in the Night is set in a seedy Chicago hotel in the '30's where three women tell a sizzling story of love and abandonment through the songs of Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Duke Ellington, and other gaints of blues and jazz.
Maria left the cast early, probably in February 1988 to join The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.
Maria on Blues in the Night
"I spent most of the rehearsal period retreating to my dressing-room and weeping. There I was from a background of classical music singing the blues with three black singers whose whole history was gospel and soul. It was in their blood. Hell, what was I doing there? I tried copying them - I tried the scatting, the improvising. Big mistake. Then it finally dawned. Look, I'm a white English girl singing American music. I can only make it musical and heartfelt..." So there she was, the first preview, nervous as hell, but heartfelt, when this voice from the gallery yells, "Sing, ya bitch!" Back to the dressing-room. More tears. More self-recriminations. But at the interval, co-star Carol Woods is banging on her door: "Way to go, girl!" Apparently, "Sing, ya hitch" is right up there with "Diva" or "You're bad" in the compliment stakes. So Maria Friedman was bad, really bad. And that was good. "I'd learnt a valuable lesson: you can only tap into what you have to say, what you've got to offer. I needed to go far enough down the wrong road to bring me very swiftly to the right one." [read full interview]
Cast (Donmar Warehouse)
Cast (Piccadilly Theatre)
During the run HELEN GELEZER took over the role of 'Woman of the World'. Maria left the cast [date?] during the run at the Piccadilly Theatre
In October 1987 a benefit performance of Blues in the Night was staged in memory of the actor Geoffrey Burridge.
Quotes From The Press
"...Providing welcome relief from the blues are some mainstream standards, well-sung (generally) by Debby Bishop and Maria Friedman (one of the West End's most promising musical actresses) as two women whose men done them wrong..." Mark Steyn, The Independent (15 June 1987)
"...Maria Friedman proves to be a sturdy exponent of the 'can belto' method which serves this music well..." Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph (16 June 1987)
"...The lyrics, and the talents of the singers, make this one of the most watchable musicals now running in London" Lester Middlehurst, Today (19 June 1987)
"...But for me the great discovery of the event is Maria Friedman, a misty-eyed, misty blonde who exuldes a faintly soiled innocence that is irresistible and matches it to a voice that is thrillingly versatile whether crooning hurt or belting defiance. Were I a producers I would be at Miss Friedman's door this very morning offering her all the roles I might have earmarked for Sarah Brightman, Elaine Paige and the rest." Jack Tinker, The Daily Mail (30 September 1987)
Recorded live at the Donmar Warehouse
The cast recording recording was recorded before an invited audience at the Donmar Warehouse and featured the Donmar Warehouse cast while the band comprised the Piccadilly Theatre's Sextet with the exception of Bass which was played on the recording by MICK HUTTON from the Donmar Warehouse band.
The Recording Engineer was JOHN TIMPERLEY (Mobile Facility), it was mixed at ANGEL STUDIOS ISLINGTON and the Producer was JOHN CRAIG.
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