Arizona Theatre Company Presents

Low Down Dirty Blues

text by Steve Carr    photos by Tim Fuller

Steve Schmidt, Felicia P. Fields, Calvin Jones and Chic Street Man.

Arizona Theatre Company ( ATC) will present Low Down Dirty Blues, a sizzling musical review of passion, soul and love that celebrates the bawdier side of the blues. Described by Chicago Theater Beat as “an evening of sultry, sexy fun that makes you ‘Shake Your Money Maker,’” the show will open on April 5 at the Herberger Theater Center and run through April 22.

When a group of veteran blues musicians assemble for an after-hours jam session to swap stories and share their favorite low-down dirty tunes from the greatest hits of Muddy Waters, Mae West, Ma Rainey, Sophie Tucker, Howlin’ Wolf, Pearl Bailey and more, “Low Down Dirty Blues … showcases its ditties as equal parts escapist entertainment and torch-song protest,” Alissa Norby wrote in ShowBizChicago.

The show features nearly two-dozen smokin’ songs filled with “passion, soul and a love of life that celebrate the bawdier side of the blues and will keep the theater sultry and steamy from the first note to the last,” said ATC Artistic Director David Ivers.

Felicia P. Fields and Shake Anderson.

Low Down Dirty Blues is the creation of Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman. The ATC production will be directed by Mylar, who tore the house down with ATC’s It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, The Immigrant, Touch the Names, Woody Guthrie’s American Song and Love, Janis. Myler’s Broadway credits include It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, for which he received two Tony Award® nominations.

Dan Wheetman, the musical director for ATC’s production of Low Down Dirty Blues is a multi-instrumentalist singer, songwriter and playwright. His previous ATC credits include Woody Guthrie’s American Song, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, and Hank Williams: Lost Highway. Wheetman has received several awards for his musical direction, including LA Critics Drama-Logue Awards, Bay Area Critics Award, and a Tony® nomination for the book of It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues.

Shake Anderson, Felicia P. Fields and Chic Street Man.

ATC’s production of Low Down Dirty Blues features Felicia P. Fields (Big Mama), who earned a Tony Award® nomination for her portrayal of Sofia in the national touring company of The Color Purple and multi-instrumentalist Shake Anderson, Calvin Jones (bass), Steven Schmidt (keyboard) and Chic Street Man (guitar and performing as Jelly Roll Morton).

Low Down Dirty Blues is a tribute to titillating, double-entendre blues songs about handy men, back door men and jelly roll men along with tunes about lusty mamas who want those papas to jump their pony, put some sugar in their bowl, fill their jelly roll and turn their damper down,” Linda Cain wrote in Chicago Blues Guide.

Low Down Dirty Blues 

April 5 – 22

Arizona Theatre Company

Herberger Theater Center