Last Call at the Downbeat, an original show about Jazz pioneer Dizzy Gillespie’s famous stint at Philadelphia’s Downbeat nightclub in November of 1942, will open in the Red Room of the Society Hill Playhouse—507 South 8th Street in Philadelphia—on Friday April 5th and run through the first two weekends in April (International Jazz Month) ending on April 13th as part of PIFA, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. Tickets for the show are $25, and show time is 8 p.m. Further information: 610-745-3011. For advance tickets, visit PIFA or Jazz Bridge.
Last Call at The Downbeat is a fascinating look back at trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie's time in Philadelphia. As one of the founders of modern Jazz, Dizzy got his professional start in Philly with the Frankie Fairfax band, working with Bill Doggett and the rest of Philly's finest. His gig at legendary Philadelphia nightspot the Downbeat, long a landmark at 11th and Ludlow Street and a stone's throw away from the famed Earle Theater began when Dizzy was fired by bandleader Lucky Millender while playing the Earle.
Gillespie will have plenty of tales to tell about his time in Philadelphia and the new music he was beginning to create. This unique presentation will also feature filmed interviews with the only surviving member of the Downbeat houseband, 93-year-old drummer Charlie Rice, who will also participate in the talk backs at both Saturday shows. Historic photos from Temple's Urban Archives and the Blockson collections will also be an integral part of the show.
Music director: Trumpeter Duane Eubanks. Book: Suzanne Cloud. Choreography: Germaine Ingram. Set Design: Riddlesbrood. Videography: Jason Fifield/Slife Productions.
Last Call at The Downbeat is a trip back in time to one of the most important periods in the evolution of modern music. And it happened just around the corner!
Suzanne Cloud is available for interviews: Please call 610-745-3011 to arrange.