Artistic Director Chris Coleman announced today a change in the 2011-2012 season lineup at Portland Center Stage. The final production of the season will be the Tony-nominated, Broadway musical It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, by Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor and Dan Wheetman. The originally planned season closer The Universal Mind has been postponed.
"We've had our eyes-and ears-on It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues for a few years now," said Coleman, "but hadn't yet managed to program it into a season. When we realized we'd need to replace The Universal Mind this season it seemed like the perfect option, and we were fortunate that cocreator/director Randal Myler was available to come to Portland at the right time. Blues is just the excitement we need to close out the season."
From African chants and Delta spirituals to the urban electricity of a Chicago nightclub, from dusty backroads bluegrass to the twang of a country juke joint, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues is a stirring retrospective of blues classics that summons the soul of American music. Over two dozen musical numbers are featured, including "I'm Your Hoochie-Coochie Man," "Goodnight, Irene," "Fever," "Walkin' After Midnight," "The Thrill is Gone" and "Let the Good Times Roll."
Described by Lincoln Center in New York, presenter of the Broadway run, as "a terrifically entertaining revue which traces the history of the blues from its origins in Africa through the American South to all points beyond," It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues was cheered at theaters around the country as it made its way to New York in 1996.
It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues begins previews on Tuesday, May 22, opens on Friday, May 25 and runs Tuesday through Sunday on the Main Stage through June 24, 2012. Tickets are on sale now and range from $25 - $69.
Patrons who already had tickets to The Universal Mind have been contacted and will receive tickets to Blues for the same date and time as their previously issued tickets. More information on Blues, including how to purchase tickets, is available at www.pcs.org/blues.
Planning for the current season began in the fall of 2010, when The Universal Mind was first proposed by Randy Johnson, also the creator of last season's popular One Night with Janis Joplin. Almost immediately there developed a tremendous amount of interest to develop the project from a number of key partners, but over the course of the past year all parties realized that, in the current economic climate, more time would be needed to fully develop the resources to properly launch the complex piece. "Season selection is part science and part alchemy," explainEd Coleman. "The alchemy part-what is the most exciting art we can present? Who are the artists we most want to work with? -is absorbing, but the science part-what is the best balance to a season? How can we harness the resources required to do the work we'd like to do?-is also necessary. This sometimes means that, particularly with world premieres, we find we need to alter a plan made a year earlier. We do everything we can to present the season as announced, but in the months from when we select our season to when we actually launch it, many things can happen-ranging
from artist availability changes to resource development-that make it necessary for us to be nimble and have alternatives ready." For more insight by Chris Coleman into how seasons are programmed, visit www.pcs.org/season-selection.