Archive for blues

The Blues Brothers play Irvine

Dust off your pork pie hat and buff up those dancing shoes… Jake and Elwood are back!

“THE ALL-NEW ORIGINAL TRIBUTE TO THE BLUES BROTHERS™,” featuring the entire original London cast, started touring the United States with its summer engagement at the famed Chicago Auditorium Theatre in July 2011.

London’s acclaimed production makes its West Coast Premiere when the show concludes its coast-to-coast U.S. tour at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, playing from Wednesday, April 4 to Saturday, April 7, 2012.

Jake and Elwood Blues will once again be donning their iconic hats, sunglasses and suits to bring to life a host of the duo’s most memorable hits, including “Shake A Tail Feather,” “Think,” “Respect,” “Gimme Some Loving” and the toe-tapping classic “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love!”

This high octane entertainment, and fully-staged show, is directed by Brad Henshaw. Mr. Henshaw is an established name on the international music stage and also stars in the show as Jake. The hit West End show has been upgraded for Jake and Elwood’s U.S. tour with additional songs, refreshed choreography and a new set.

The show is a two and a half hour journey through decades of Soul, Blues and R&B hits. Brad Henshaw plays “Jake,” Daniel Flechter stars as “Elwood” and the duo is backed by one of Europe’s finest six-piece bands, along with three soulful and sassy singers, Jocasta Almgill, Victoria Ekanoye and Victoria Goddard, aptly named “The Bluettes.”

Following its modest premiere in a small seaside pub in Brighton in 1991, The All-New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers™” quickly became a runaway success. Theater producer David Pugh and film director David Leyland picked up the show, which opened in the West End just six months later. The run was extended from the original six to an unprecedented 46 weeks, playing to more than 150,000 people.

The memorable songs and characters live on in “The All-New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers™” as “Jake and Elwood” continue to entertain audiences throughout the world.

The show has regularly toured mainland Europe including Ireland, Switzerland, and Great Britain, as well as playing four limited seasons in London. It has also toured to Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.  In Sydney, Russell Crowe appeared in the lead role of “Jake Blues.”


Presented by Irvine Barclay Theatre, the musical revue is a joint production by Charles Aerts Theatre Productions and EJB Entertainment.




Irvine Barclay Theatre

4242 Campus Drive,

Irvine, CA 92612

Dates:            April 4-7, 2012

Tickets:         Purchase online, via phone 949-854-4646 x1 or at the Box office

Prices:            $25-$45.00


            A very small number of Gold Seats are available at $100. Gold Seats include vip seating, admission to the private Gold Bar, and complimentary beverages.


*** The Blues Brothers trademark [for entertainment services] is owned by Daniel Aykroyd and Judith Belushi Pisano ***



About Charles Aerts Theatre Productions and EJB Entertainment:

EJB Entertainment and Charles Aerts Theatre are responsible for bringing the biggest international theatre successes to the Dutch and International stages. You can find more information about the current and upcoming productions on


About the Barclay:

In its 22nd season, Irvine Barclay Theatre has created a distinguished record of excellence, having presented hundreds of international artists and attracting audiences from throughout Southern California. Its annual rosters of dance, theatre, music and spoken word events are unique in Orange County for their diversity and adventurousness.

This 756-seat concert and performing arts venue is highly regarded for its intimacy, superior acoustics, excellent sightlines, and first-rate production standards. The Barclay’s mission also includes serving the needs of local arts groups, Orange County’s major performing organizations, as well as UCI and other university programs. The theatre has become an important resource to dozens of community organizations and programs and has hosted as many as 215 public events in a single year. Nearly 2 million people have attended 3,600 events since the opening.



This week’s LA Weekly theatre review – “Sweet Mama String Bean”

Sweet Mama String Bean


This week’s review got a “Go!” from the LA Weekly.

If you love the blues, don’t miss Sweet Mama String Bean. (scroll down to find my review.)

Happy Reading!

Review by Pauline Adamek

A Celebration of Ethel Waters — “Sweet Mama String Bean”

Sweet MamaOpening tomorrow night, May 20th, for four performances only at the Fremont Centre Theatre is a musical delight — Sweet Mama String Bean: A Celebration of Blues Woman Ethel Waters. Familiar and passionate songs of the jazz age highlight this musical and dramatic story of Ethel Waters’ rise to fame, as she became one of the greatest artists of her generation.

Star of radio, TV, Broadway and feature film, blues woman Ethel Waters was the Halle Berry or the Beyonce of her day; a ‘superstar’ during the depression-era. As a Broadway legend and an Academy Award nominee, she could ‘shake her thang’ and delight her audiences.

ValLimar Jansen, together with Musical Director Frank Jansen, brings to the stage their “two-person, one-woman show” about this legendary performer.

Born in poverty, Ethel Waters (1896-1977) was the daughter of a 12-year-old rape victim. Ethel grew up unsupervised on the streets of Philadelphia.

“No one raised me, ” she recollected, “I just ran wild.”

She sang and danced at church functions and made her way into Black vaudeville in 1917. Appearing first in Harlem nightclubs and then crossing over into the “white time” vaudeville circuit, she became a celebrated blues singer and starred in twelve Broadway productions, ultimately becoming one of the highest paid entertainers in America. Harold Arlen wrote the song “Stormy Weather” specifically for her. She became the first African-American female to star on a national radio show and a TV series, the first to headline a show at New York’s Palace Theatre and the first to star in a dramatic play on Broadway. In her later years, Waters was nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy. Ms. Waters became a born again Christian and toured with the Billy Graham Crusade in the last decades of her life.

ValLimar Jansen’s portrayal of this legendary singer has thrilled audiences for more than a decade. Ms. Jansen is herself noted for her vocal performances of jazz, pop, gospel and contemporary Christian music. During the course of the show, Ms. Jansen will perform fourteen of the songs made famous by Ethel Waters, among them “Stormy Weather,” “My Handy Man,” “My Handy Man Ain”™t Handy No More,” “Shake That Thing,” “Am I Blue,” and “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”

Ms. Jansen is accompanied by husband and Musical Director Frank Jansen. A professional musician for over thirty years, he has performed with stars of Gospel, pop, Latin and R&B music.

“Sweet Mama String Bean” is the recipient of a special commendation from the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Audience members already familiar with Ethel Waters will love this presentation of her story and her music. For younger audience members, the show will be a revelation.

This show is especially for anyone, young or old, who loves the blues.

WHAT: “Sweet Mama String Bean: A Celebration of Blues Woman Ethel Waters.” A musical play.
Starring ValLimar Jansen with Musical Director Frank Jansen. Produced by Kim O”™Rourke and Barbara Goodwin Masters. Directed by Nomi Limar.

Fremont Centre Theatre,
1000 Fremont Ave. (at El Centro), South Pasadena, CA 91030.

Abundant free parking behind theatre.

WHEN: May 20- 23, 2010 *ONLY*
Thurs.- Sat. at 8pm, Sun. at 3pm.
RESERVATIONS: (866) 811-4111, toll-free (Theatermania).

Report by Pauline Adamek