Theatre: Blues in the night 

Savannah Community Theatre celebrates 50 years of torch singing

The Savannah Community Theatre's Ladies Sing The Blues - 50 Years of Torch is the kind of production that lets you just lean back and absorb the sound. The show's playlist includes songs spanning 50 years of blues and whose original artists include Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Louis Armstrong, Bette Midler, and Diana Ross.

Based on a similar production done with slower numbers, Ladies chronicles popular blues songs from 1922-1972 in the first act, while the second act is a more upbeat compilation of blues and cast requests.

During the intermission, at no extra cost, there will be an old fashioned ice cream social complete with a create-your-own sundae bar. But even if you think you’ll just show up for the ice cream, don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along to songs that are guaranteed to bring back memories.

Director Tom Coleman III and musical director Bob Fennel worked together to whittle down a long list of blues favorites to bring their audience a group of music that is a true labor of love. Making it even more special is the background behind so many of the songs and Fennell’s understanding of how to use that in the way each song is presented.

He knows who the writers are, who has done different variations of each song, and what popular links could be made to each one. The show’s playlist includes “Make the World Go Away,” “Smile,” “What a Wonderful World,” “I Wanna’ Be Around,” and “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.”

Bringing to life these timeless pieces are a cast of ladies ranging in age from their mid-20s to early 70s.

“These are very gifted women and they’re a joy to work with,” says Fennell. “Some are learning songs they didn’t know before and love it.”

The “Ladies” are Suzanne Cone, Rebecca King, Sandra Nix, Jordyn Schafer, Kim Shabi, Mary Katherine Shearouse, Georgetta Blair Simmons and Sara Williams.

“What makes this group so special,” says King, “is that it’s full of people doing it for the love and the art of singing on stage.” While experience varies for each cast member, each possesses a quality of voice that delivers both strength and feeling.

It promises to be an evening of soul-stirring melodies and full-bodied vocals belting out old favorites recognizable by an audience of all ages. So, come out of the heat and enjoy a night of blues . . . and ice cream.

Ladies Sing the Blues

When: Aug. 14-16, 22-23 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 17 and 24 at 3 p.m.Where: Savannah Community Theatre, 2160 E. Victory Dr. Info: 912/898-9021 or www.savannahcommunitytheatre.com

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Ashley Jensen

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Connect Today 10.21.2016

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