Wednesday, October 26, 2022

CLOSING WEEKEND: Passage Theatre Company production of "Blues in My Soul: The Legend and Legacy of Lonnie Johnson"


Blues in My Soul: The Legend and Legacy of Lonnie Johnson
written by David Robson
directed by Ozzie Jones

WHEN: through October 30, 2022
Mill Hill Playhouse, 205 E. Front Street, Trenton
Tickets are currently on sale by visiting

It's 1959. Chris, a local DJ, gets word that legendary jazz and blues musician Lonnie Johnson is working a low-wage job at a Philly hotel, forgotten. 

Once found, Lonnie, an early guitar hero who influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, T-Bone Walker, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton, is reluctant to return to an industry that exploited and segregated his work before casting him aside. As the two men meet, conflicts arise, forcing each to reconcile issues of authenticity, injustice, and legacy. 

Based on a true story, Blues in My Soul is a celebration of an unsung American legend and the music that inspired generations. 

Presented by Passage Theatre Company in Trenton, New Jersey, this production explores the profound connections that can be made through the catalytic power of art.

“Blues and jazz music have a deep history in the City of Trenton,” notes Passage Theatre’s Artistic Director Ryanne Domingues. “When David sent me this play, I immediately knew that the story would resonate with our community. It does not shy away from the hardships that Lonnie Johnson faced throughout his career due to racism, but it also gives us hope that there is a way forward. It shows how the arts are important, as they can help us find a common ground.”

Blues in My Soul was developed in 2021 through a workshop at City Theater Company in Wilmington, Delaware. Passage’s upcoming presentation will be the second fully realized professional production in the show’s history. The story follows the meeting of enthusiastic disc jockey Chris Albertson and musical legend turned janitor, Lonnie Johnson. Chris, a longtime fan of Lonnie’s musicianship, is adamant that a collaboration between the two will reignite Lonnie’s career. Lonnie, who is pessimistic about the current demand for Blues, refuses the offer and seems to be more focused on his duties in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel. Ultimately, the pair bond over their love of music, and find common ground amongst the chords and lyrics. Blues in My Soul features songs such as “See See Rider,” “Tomorrow Night,” “Jelly Roll Baker,” and “Long Black Train.”

Passage’s production features David Ross (above, right) as Lonnie Johnson and Jonathan Jacobs as Chris Albertson. 

Passage Theatre is committed to the safety and wellbeing of our community. We are actively monitoring the current trends in the COVID-19 Pandemic and will share specific requirements for patrons in early October 2022. Additionally, the show will be available with virtual access later this Fall.

Contactless Transactions: When possible, Passage encourages patrons to purchase tickets in advance to reduce wait time at the box office. Both virtual and paper programs will be available.

Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer will be available at several locations throughout the facility.

Refunds and Exchanges: If Passage needs to cancel a performance, a patron’s ticket will be fully refunded. If a patron needs to reschedule a visit for health reasons, they may do so for any performance throughout the season with a ticket of equal or lesser value.