The history of the blues at the Kennedy Center Two...

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June 22, 2000|By J. Wynn Rousuck

The history of the blues at the Kennedy Center

Two seasons ago, there was quite a stir when a number from the musical revue "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues" was eliminated from the Tony Awards telecast because of lack of time. Now area theater-goers can see the entire show, which opens at Washington's Kennedy Center on Saturday.

The 50-number Tony-nominated revue traces the history of the blues in America from the days of slavery, with spirituals and a cappella plantation chants, to the migration to the industrialized North, with urban jazz and blues. Backed up by a swing band, the cast includes Charles Bevel, Gretha Boston, Carter Calvert, Eloise Laws, Michael Mandell, Sean McCourt and Billy Thompson. "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues" is based on an idea by Ron Taylor and was co-written by Taylor, Bevel, Randal Myler, Lita Gaithers and Dan Wheetman.

Show times at the Kennedy Center are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (including previews today and tomorrow) and July 3, with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, through July 30. (No performance July 4.) Tickets are $50 and $55. Call 800-444-1324.

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