Blues for an Alabama Sky 

by PEARL CLEAGE
directed by NICOLE A. WATSON
Wurtele Thrust Stage

A bold character drama

In a Depression-era Harlem apartment building, a close-knit group of friends has become a chosen family. New roommates Angel and Guy — a recently fired blues singer and a promising costume designer with Paris in his sights — live across the hall from Delia, a social worker who sparks a relationship with the hardworking doctor Sam. Their lives are upturned when Southern newcomer Leland arrives and falls hard for Angel, who is torn between a stable life in Manhattan and an exhilarating overseas adventure with Guy. Angel chooses her path, but the decision leads to devastating consequences that shift the trajectory of everyone’s futures and long-held dreams.

Three things to know

  • Blues for an Alabama Sky was originally commissioned by Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, and had its world premiere at Alliance in 1995.
  • Pearl Cleage’s play presents a Depression-era Harlem on the rise as people from across the country find new life and new inspiration in the community. Full of resilient, smart and talented characters, Blues for an Alabama Sky addresses the topics of abortion, birth control, Prohibition and homosexuality without being weighed down as an issue play. Even disappointed characters remain hopeful and carry on as they pursue their dreams and live the lives they choose to lead.
  • Cleage’s play connects theatrical forebears, including Anton Chekhov, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, with a picture of the African American diaspora, where offstage characters like Langston Hughes, Adam Powell, Sr. and Bruce Nugent place the story firmly in a Harlem undergoing its historical renaissance.

Ticket prices

Tickets range from $20 to $80. 

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Group sales

All student and adult groups of 15 or more qualify for discounts on tickets to Guthrie productions.

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Run time

Approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes (with intermission).

Venue info

Blues for an Alabama Sky will take place on the Wurtele Thrust Stage.

Pro tip: Can't do stairs or have a special seating request? Call the Box Office for details. 

Health and safety

As COVID-19 prevention efforts continue to evolve, we are adjusting our health and safety policies as needed. Effective immediately, masks are required for all Sunday performances. Masks are encouraged but not required for all Tuesday – Saturday performances. Proof of vaccination is not required to see a performance at the Guthrie.

 

Content advisory

This production contains mature content and themes.

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Play guide and digital program

Want to dig deeper? Check out the play guide and digital program

Accessibility

ASL-interpreted, audio-described and open-captioned performances are available on select dates.

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Relaxed performance

The Guthrie will offer a relaxed performance of Blues for an Alabama Sky on Sunday, March 5 at 1 p.m. Although these performances are open to all patrons, they are intentionally modified to accommodate patrons with sensory and vestibular sensitivities, anxiety, dementia, autism spectrum disorders, learning differences or challenges attending the theater.

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BIPOC Networking Night

Join us on Friday, February 10, for a night of networking and mingling with other BIPOC professionals and community members. The evening will include a pre-show conversation, complimentary refreshments and tickets to the performance.

This is event is sold out. 

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Post-play discussions

Join us after select performances for a 20-minute conversation facilitated by Guthrie staff and featuring members of UnRestrict Minnesota and Pastor Yolanda Williams, Ph.D., of Glenwood United Parish. Cast members may join the discussion as they are able.

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In the news

Explosive creativity

“I don't want all plays that have a time period to feel like they have to be historical documents or museum pieces,” Nicole A. Watson said. "Sometimes we have to explode all of that.” 

Rohan Preston of the Star Tribune recently sat down with Watson and other members of the Blues for an Alabama Sky creative team.

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Review

Rob Hubbard of the Pioneer Press calls Blues for an Alabama Sky “an impeccably well-executed piece of theater, each of its five characters painted in vivid colors and arrestingly believable.”

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Artists

Cast

Brittany Bellizeare

Delia Patterson

Kevis Hillocks

New Gentleman

Lamar Jefferson

Guy Jacobs

Darius Jordan Lee

Leland Cunningham

Kimberly Marable

Angel Allen

Stephen Conrad Moore

Sam Thomas

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Creative

Pearl Cleage

Playwright

Nicole A. Watson

Director

Lawrence E. Moten III

Scenic Designer

Sarita Fellows

Costume Designer

Sherrice Mojgani

Lighting Designer

Paul James Prendergast

Sound Designer/Composer

Faye M. Price

Dramaturg

Keely Wolter

Vocal Coach

Aaron Preusse

Fight Director

Karl Alphonso

Stage Manager

Jackie Mercer

Assistant Stage Manager

Jennifer Liestman

Resident Casting Director

Shae Palic

Intimacy

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Photos

Lamar Jefferson, Brittany Bellizeare, Stephen Conrad Moore and Kimberly Marable (Dan Norman)

Lamar Jefferson and Kimberly Marable (Dan Norman)

Darius Jordan Lee, Kimberly Marable, Brittany Bellizeare, Stephen Conrad Moore and Lamar Jefferson (Dan Norman)

Lamar Jefferson and Brittany Bellizeare (Dan Norman)

Darius Jordan Lee and Kimberly Marable (Dan Norman)

Brittany Bellizeare and Stephen Conrad Moore (Dan Norman)

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