Songbirds Unlimited Productions presents a full staged reading of
ON KENTUCKY AVENUE
WHEN: Saturday, February 18, at 8 PM
WHERE: Westminster Arts Center, on the campus of Bloomfield College at 449 Franklin Street (corner of Franklin and Fremont Streets), Bloomfield
TICKETS: $20 and Seniors/Students(w/ID)-$15.
Reservations can be made by calling 973.748.9008, ext. 279. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.bccommunity.org/westminster.
A musical staged reading loosely based on the people and performers who took the stage and filled the tables at the majestic Club Harlem “on Kentucky Avenue,” in the north section of Atlantic City from the 1930s until the late 1980’s, ON KENTUCKY AVENUE is part of the Westminster Arts Center’s Black History Month celebration.
Created by Jeree (Palmer) Wade and written by singer/actor/composer Adam Wade, both of whom performed at the real Club Harlem, ON KENTUCKY AVENUE features special material by Jeree Wade and Ty Stephens and music by Frank Owens, Ty Stephens, Wilbur Bascomb and Branice McKenzie and Adam Wade.
The fictional story transports play-goers back in time to the late 1960’s when Club Harlem was the mecca of entertainment and excitement in Atlantic City. It was a time when musical tastes were changing, a new group of musical performers were emerging and the owners were seeking additional money to revamp the productions and content of the show. The action takes place on one night and on one street, Kentucky Avenue—where many dreams are fulfilled and others are shattered…. where gorgeous leggy showgirls and talented black musicians and performers from all parts of the universe come together seeking fame, success, happiness, love and adventure, and sometimes find heartache and sorrow instead. Club Harlem is the supreme nightclub where the legendary and the up and coming mingle with the wealthy and down and outers, the privileged and the under-privileged, the famous and the infamous. (Above: Ty Stephens, one of the stars and creative members behind On Kentucky Avenue; Photo Credit: Dorothy Shi)
“Mounting a musical is a huge undertaking with many steps,” says Westminster Managing Director Gregory Allen. “We are very pleased to have our venue as one of those steps on the ‘avenue’ as this show builds towards a full production: and what a wonderful way to help us celebrate Black History Month!”
Although the story in ON KENTUCKY AVENUE is not real, it is based on experiences of Adam and Jeree Wade who performed there during different eras, thirty years apart. They were witness to much of the backstage drama that took place nightly. The story revolves around fictional club owner, Larry Steele and his often dangerous liaisons with his beautiful showgirls; and, his dealings with shady mobsters as he tries to find investors who will provide the funds he believes are necessary to help maintain Club Harlem. The producers and creators hope to develop this project for the Broadway stage and this full dramatic reading at the Westminster Arts Center is the first major step in that direction.