Cafe Society Swing
Cafe Society Swing comes to Theatre Royal Stratford East
Boasting a stellar international cast, this acclaimed show tells the story of the first racially-desegregated jazz club in New York – Cafe Society, which opened in Greenwich Village 80 years ago, in December 1938. It will play the historic Theatre Royal Stratford East from Tuesday 5 June to Saturday 16 June.
Full of swinging jazz, blues, gospel and bebop, Cafe Society Swing stars vocalists China Moses, Vimala Rowe and Ciyo Brown and making her London stage debut Judi Jackson, with an eight-piece band directed by the show’s author, pianist Alex Webb.
From 1938 to 1949 Cafe Society played host to some of the finest musical talent of the 20th century, including Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan and Count Basie. Billie Holiday was one of the first headliners at the club and it was at Cafe Society that club owner Barney Josephson presented her with the classic protest lyric Strange Fruit – which became her signature song.
Cafe Society Swing follows the venue’s thrilling struggles and triumphs to its eventual demise in America’s ‘Red Scare’ of the late 1940s. On its New York run in 2014 the New York Times called it ‘a balm for the soul’ and gave it a ‘Critic’s Pick’. UK reviews have been just as favourable: ‘Fabulous’ – Financial Times (****), ‘A genuine treat’ – The Times (****), ‘An eight-piece band worthy of any West End stage’ – London Evening Standard (***), ‘Brilliantly conceived theatrical cabaret’ – TheArtsDesk.com.
The show features the Cafe Society All Stars – an eight-piece band consisting the cream of UK jazz musicians, led by Alex Webb (piano, MD) with Dave Bitelli (tenor sax), Tony Kofi (alto), Nathaniel Cross (trombone), Sue Richardson (trumpet), Ciyo Brown (guitar), Miles Danso (bass) and Andy Chapman (drums).
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN
5 – 16 June
Tue – Sat 7.30pm, Sat 2.30pm
Tickets: From £10